Sunday, August 30, 2015

superpowers

I keep thinking I've lost my touch. It used to be so easy to sit down and produce nonstop hilarity in print, slowly weaving a thread of witty thoughtfulness throughout a few paragraphs, and then BLAM, get you with a killer finish.

Of course, I also realize that I'm drastically overstating my case. As I was telling my coworkers the other day, there is only one truism about Chris Perry, and that is Chris Perry of today believes that he is hilarious, witty, and intelligent, and also firmly believes that Chris Perry of the past is unforgivably awkward and impossible to read. Given that this opinion is always fiercely held, I think it's probably true that even when I think I have a gift, I'm never quite as good in real life as I read in my head. If you read that sentence, be surprised, because I'm sure my wife is going to make me strike it.

I've always thought of humor as my superpower. I remember in grade school believing that I was terrible at first or second impressions, but if I could get someone to sit by me in class for some set of the year, I'd win them over with my hilarity. It's an acquired taste.

As superpowers go, it's not a bad one. Britt and I have discussed them at length. She would obviously choose complete control of time, so that, in her words, "I can nap whenever I want".

Flying is probably not one that I would choose because I always get caught up in the logistics of the thing: how many calories does it expend? How fast am I flying? How far up? Because if you go to all the trouble to get the flying superpower, how lame would it be if it required constant training and you could make it a few blocks before collapsing in exhaustion? Obviously you need to think that through better.

Teleportation is the smart choice if you're looking into transportation-related superpowers, as it really avoids a lot of the awkward questions (and bugs-in-mouth scenarios). It also opens you up to amazing lifestyle changes: live in a cabin in Patagonia, work in the bay area, and visit your mom for dinner. Of course, the details are also hairy here: can you take someone with you? Will your spouse look kindly on living sequestered away in some forgotten mountainside while you're off on a guy's night out in Chicago? Or if you can take someone, you're now in a worse situation than being the dude everyone calls for an airport run: you will literally be guilted to taking everyone and their family everywhere. So on second thought, this one too probably lends itself to too much trouble, not only socially, but also with various immigration authorities.

I believe it is, or should be, uncontested that Wolverine is the obvious best superhero, but his superpower is totally worthless to a middle-class office worker. Now every hangnail I pull out during a meeting will heal instantly. I can barely contain my excitement.

And so it goes with the list of superpowers. Control over storms? Meh. Get big and green and destroy aliens? No sign of extraterrestrials, and none forthcoming. Imparting kinetic energy to playing cards? What actual use does that have in normal life? I'm afraid that superpowers are superboring.

But if I had to choose something other than my beloved (if questionable) humor, there is one I think worth getting: the ability to know the one thing that would make any given person happy, so happy, that is, that they cry for joy. And on top of the knowledge, the power to grant it.

It's really two superpowers I guess. Most people don't know what would make them happiest, but if you can know and grant that, you would have the best life of anyone I know.

Unless you already have teleportation, because seriously I am your best friend and it would only be a couple minutes out of your day to take me and Britt to various European capitals every weekend. Pleasepleaseplease.