When I was a boy, I wanted to be a super hero. I daydreamed myself into a tragic lonely life where I was the last of my kind imbued with magickal powers in battle. Others admired me as a lone wolf beyond the reach of humanity but always there to save the weak and down-trodden. Sometimes I was an elf and my blood had the power to transform animals into intelligent companions who fought at my side. Other times I built spaceships and crusaded across the cosmos.
For a while, I imagined myself as ten feet and made of steel. Occasionally, the giant me had four arms. He could type and drink coffee at the same time or put a sasquatch in a death grip. A ten-foot tall four-armed steel giant didn’t have much in the way of friends, or love, or rooms he could walk into without damaging the ceilings with his head, but that ugly, scary thing was a hero. Whatever the universe threw at him, the giant would triumph. Then he would wander off to his lair to be noble and mysterious and stoic.
I spent a lot of my youth being noble and mysterious and stoic, never grasping from the outside it just looked like a spindly, little weirdo was deservedly being ignored. The moment of truth never came, where only I could step forward and defeat evil with my amazing abilities. Slowly it dawned, that even in a world where super heroes and villains fought, they couldn’t go at it all the time. Long stretches between battles weren’t just skipped panels in a graphic novel. That was your Life.
Being a lone wolf, a cypher which no-one had any compulsion to solve, was not mysterious or romantic. It was effectively doing nothing with a limited time on Earth.
Instead of firing laser bolts from his eyes, a hero could learn to read others from the unwritten language of their faces and carriage. A noble and mysterious being would even care about what they saw and speak up.
Instead of bearing a hide of titanium-steel, a hero could learn to withstand all the slings and arrows of modern life without bitterness and without letting their pain flow down hill.
A hero might not be able to punch his way through a wall, but he could carry his weight.
I’d like to think I do okay with those powers, but I still have that lonely and mysterious lone wolf thing to live down. I can summon snark at the speed of lightning, making light of a situation as others are busy casting darkness. And I do have the real life super power of disappearing in a crowded room,
Look away as I vanish into the shadows.