Breaking the sound barrier
How many of you grew up reading about a superhero who had amazing powers and who flew around town fighting crime while looking snazzy in a form-fitting costume? Come on; you know you read about Superman or Wonder Woman or other comic book heroes, and you wanted to be just like them. You wanted superpowers, and if you had any fashion sense, you wanted a snazzy cape with your initials on the back. Maybe you haven’t given up hope. Maybe you still want superpowers, even if you’re willing to compromise on the costume. I know which superpower I’d want, were I suddenly to be granted my wish. I wouldn’t want to fly, see through walls, or bend steel bars. I’d want something much more powerful. I’d want the ability to make people shut their mouths until they had something useful to say.
I can hear it now: “You’re serious? You could have xray vision, and all you want is the power to stop people from talking?” Yes! That’s right. If I had x-ray vision, some lawyer would start a class action suit against me for “exposing countless millions to dangerous radiation.” If I could fly, the FAA would make me wear a big number on my rump, and they’d try to inspect me every three thousand miles. And if I could bend steel bars with my bare hands, one of those unions would put me to work turning out new minivan bumpers. No. Those superpowers belong in a different generation – one that’s long gone. But consider what you could do if you had the power to silence someone. Say you’re in the supermarket and some scary guy is blabbering on and on about who holds the record for most hits in professional roller derby. Wouldn’t you like to snap your fingers and watch his tongue fall stone silent? Think of all the politicians you’ve been forced to listen to this year. Now do you see my point?
I know this is the superpower I’d want. Growing up, all I wanted to do was fly through the air and break the sound barrier, just like Superman used to do. But now that I’m older, I’ve taken a full turn: Instead of breaking the sound barrier, I’d like to erect one between me and the chattering masses. If I had that power, I’d even settle for a pink cape, if that’s all they have left at the superhero clothing store.