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Sunday, August 27, 2000

Superhero: Will Work for Food

I'm procrastinating again. I'm not completely sure what, but I just have that feeling.

I'm listening to Alanis Morrisette for the second time in a row, because it's what was in the player when I turned it on to drown out my neighbors incessant and frantic pounding on his trap set. He claims he used to play with the Grateful Dead (guitar, I think). To my ears he sucks. But maybe that's just because the sound floods uninvited into my house all day every day when I'm trying to think. This is the same neighbor who's roosters kick off at 4am every morning. I find myself daydreaming of ice pellets and wrist rockets--first for the roosters, but more recently I'm seeing targets on drum heads.

Who am I? Where am I going? All this socializing and journaling and meta-vicarious introspection has me staring at myself naked in a mental mirror. My self-image is atrophied from lack of use, a super-hero in a world that doesn't need them. Spaghetti stains on my cape, sleeves of my spandex tights frayed at the cuffs, hair greasy and tangled. I try to stand up straight. Joints pop and crack. I hear a seam rip somewhere. I notice the dark circles under my eyes.

Hark! I hear a maiden in distress! I run into the street and save a kitten from a tree. "That's not my cat" she says, "I'm upset because I chipped my nail." She looks me up and down, looks kinda worried, scoffs, turns around and leaves.

I go inside, flip on the computer, invent the next generation computer language and release it to the world. I get one reply--someone asking me if it can be configured to compile Microsoft COMM programs.

I pull my sword from the closet, swing it around in an amazing display of strength, skill, and grace. No dragons come.

I stand balanced on the top of a steeple and sing a passionate tune. I don't even hear an echo. A little girl looks up from a parking lot full of people, tugs on her moms dress and says "Momma, who's that man up there?" but she is ignored.

I catch her eyes and smile, and she smiles back. I do summersaults down the roof, swing from the gutter to a back handspring off the second balcony. A double back flip lands me on my feet in some knee-high brown scrub brush, hands in my pockets, head down, I sulk away into the field unnoticed. The girl waves bye-bye, with happy cheeks and sad eyes. She is nearly yanked off her feet as her mother begins to move with the herd.

I walk through the field, kicking the dust. The sun goes down, comes back up, goes down again. Round and round the world spins, new buildings spring up before my eyes, the field becomes a parking lot, cars and people flow by me in a blur, the sun and moon chasing each other like tassels on a cheerleader's baton, and with a kick of the base drum it suddenly stops.

I look around. It's the end of my life, and the world has hardly changed, but for being a little more crowded and a little more homogenous. As my dust falls to the ground, a woman reaches out and catches the glint in my eye and puts it in her pocket before anyone sees. She smiles a sly smile, but her eyes are sad as she is swept away in the herd.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com