Saturday, August 02, 2014

Superpowers! Which ones would you choose?

Virtually every kid dreams of having superpowers. I don't care if you didn't read any comics growing up (I didn't) -- certain types of supernatural powers and abilities show up in multiple genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, folk tales and mythology, and sooner or later you're going to be exposed to one or all of them. And naturally, you then start thinking about how awesome it would be to breathe underwater, communicate with animals, move faster than the speed of sound, have the strength of twenty men, or become invisible. I think kids are particularly drawn to the idea of having superpowers because so much that happens in their lives is unjust and beyond their ability to control, and there's a kind of mental pressure release that comes from dreaming of how different your life would be if you possessed some rare and amazing talent.

That's not to say that daydreaming about superpowers is limited only to the junior-high-and-younger crowd. I'll bet a fair number of adults still secretly imagine what it would be like to have superpowers, even if they now possess an adult understanding of the drawbacks and dangers of having such powers, and even if they've internalized the Marvel Comics equation of great power = great responsibility. It's still fun. And it still makes for a great mental pressure valve.

If you want a fun little daydreaming activity, visit the Superpower Wiki and click on the "Random page" link to give you a random power. It'll show you familiar superpowers and introduce you to ones you'd never heard or even thought of before. (Some are definitely more desirable than others.)

So if you could choose, say, any five superpowers, which ones would you pick and why?

Here's my list:

5. Teleportation
How handy would it be to just BAMF yourself from place to place? (And how fun would it be to teleport into places where you're not supposed to go, then teleport out again before getting caught?) As someone who's almost always running late, I'd probably abuse this superpower right into the ground.

4. Soul healing
Yes, it would be great to heal physical bodies, but in my life I've met far more folks whose spirits are still wounded from past traumatic events that never really seem to go away. The ability to heal those mental scars for good, without taking away any personal growth or empathy gained from the experiences, would be a godsend to so many people.

3. Temporarily stopping time
This ability would make it possible to do a lot of cool things -- get stuff done in "nothing flat," catch up on your sleep, dodge bullets, you name it. Plus the options for practical jokes would be endless.

2. Size/shape manipulation
I'll freely admit it -- I'm a real sucker for this one. Thinking about all the possibilities inherent in being able to change one's shape at will, or shrink or grow to just about any size, thoroughly delights me. (You could make a great spy with these powers. No one will recognize you if you can change your appearance. You don't need to be invisible if you can just shrink very small, sneak into places and listen in on supposedly secure conversations. And if anyone should discover and try to harm you, you could just grow to a gigantic size and deal with the problem.)

1. Flight
I know. Everybody wants to fly. It's not very practical, I've already got teleportation and stopping time on this list, yadda yadda yadda. Hey, it's my superpower list and I'll put what I want on it -- and I've desperately longed for the ability to fly since I was a tiny child. Whether it's the fly-like-Superman variant or the grow-huge-graceful-wings variant, I'm completely enamored with the idea of being able to hover above treetops, touch down on roofs and mountains, drift lazily through clouds, and soar free in oceans of air -- all while laughing my fool head off, probably, just overwhelmed by the thrill of it.


Chrys Houghton said...

My five are based on Spider-Man and Danny Phantom (of course):
1. Intangibility
2. Flight
3. Web shooting
4. Ghost rays
5. Wall walking (also known as "Wall crawling")
If I could do a sixth power, it would be a ghostly wail.

Chrys Houghton said...

Annika says:
1. Cryokinises (The power to control and manipulate ice)
2. Control over animals
3. Hydrokinises (The power to control and manipulate water)
4. Pyrokinesis (The power to control and manipulate fire)
5. The power to summon cats at will