A spoonful of humour makes the medicine go down.
Neither a Bird Nor a Plane
I always knew this day would come.
Since I was very young, I’ve been gripped by the overwhelming feeling that I was special. Many people over the years have tried to tell me differently, but always in vain – after all, I knew the truth. I could feel it, I could sense it - and I still can. There has always been something within me that is extraordinary; chosen for a destiny beyond the shackles of this daily routine existence we all seem to lead.
I’m not sure why I feel this way; I just know that I always have. It could have been my exposure to Pokémon and Harry Potter – both of which feature seemingly ordinary boys chosen by fate and circumstance to do extraordinary things. It could have been the fact that I was left-handed (I honestly don’t know why, but this made me feel set apart from all the other kids). It could have been the cassette tape that my mother recorded for me in which she repeated “You’re the best, Mummy loves you” on a loop for half an hour, which she left playing in my bedroom nightly as I drifted off to sleep. It could even have been her live performances of this same routine when the cassette player was broken from overuse... but I digress.
The reason I’m telling you this, dear readers, is that it has finally happened. After more than twenty years of waiting and hoping and praying to The Powers That Be, that which I’ve always believed inside has finally been confirmed! Ladies and gentlemen, I have discovered my superpower.
I’ll give you all a moment to let that sink in...
Ready to continue? Excellent. Let me tell you the tale of how this came to be:
Picture it: Liquorland, 2011. It was a Wednesday afternoon, around four o’clock. On week days, 4PM is when the rush period begins, because the discontented housewives of the area have just picked up their children from school and need to buy the mysterious ‘grown-up drinks’ that they’ll be spending their afternoons sipping secretly from their ‘World’s Best Mum’ coffee mugs before spending half an hour crying in the bathroom, all in an attempt to remain sedate enough that they can prevent themselves from replacing love with ground glass as the special ingredient in that evening’s spaghetti bolognese. This Wednesday afternoon was particularly busy, however, because it was the first day we were running a promotion where the customer gets a free cap when they buy two four-packs of Jim Beam Black and Cola cans. The promotion was far more popular than we were expecting; apparently those who frequent liquor stores fail to realise a hat that you get for free with an alcohol purchase is likely to have a similar life-expectancy to that goldfish you won at the carnival when you were seven years old for successfully throwing a ping-pong ball into an oversized shot glass.
I was serving one of my favourite customers. She’s a sweet and witty lady who is always fantastic for a quick conversation yet had also unfortunately and inexplicably married the drug-addled embodiment of her low self-esteem, who swayed vacantly beside her. She is worth approximately 14.483 of him. He’s a meathead who comes into my store routinely, babbling incoherently and not even wearing a shirt lest even one member of the general public be spared the opportunity to memorise the tasteless ink mural that envelops his entire body, all the way up to his neck. I try very hard in life not to be judgmental, but to me, neck tattoos say “I’ve gone as far in society as I’d care to.”
(At this point you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. It isn’t lost on me that I’m digressing once again and I apologise for that, but that guy really bugs the hell out of me. Now we continue with your scheduled programming).
This lady was having trouble swiping her card, as so many of my customers tend to do. I allowed her two attempts and then offered to do it for her. I whipped the card through the machine and it worked as if by magic, just as it always does. This always makes my customers feel a little silly and incompetent, and I could see by the look on her face that she was no exception. Off-hand, I jokingly said “I have no idea what I do differently. This must be my super power!” and we both laughed. Then suddenly, I did a double-take in my head as my mind flashed back to the multitude of times this has happened before. Never has there been a card – credit or debit – that has not worked immediately at my touch.
Suddenly, everything fell into place. It wasn’t just the cards, it was all of it. I have an ability to partake in witty banter that can border on the inappropriate with every lucid customer that walks through those automatic doors, when outside of work I possess no such extraordinary conversational talent. Those to whom I refuse service back away immediately at the sight of me, while my colleagues have to deal with their complaints and arguments. I’ve had a psychic sense for stock patterns and presentation ever since my first day, while at home it’s a struggle to organise even the crap piling up in the three-foot radius surrounding the chair in which I’m currently sitting. I can work two registers simultaneously without once missing a beat while at home I have trouble juggling two MSN conversations. I’m simply too good at my job with too little effort for it to be normal human talent. The only explanation is the supernatural.
Now, I have no delusions of grandeur about this. I am completely aware that this fits into the category of most useless superpowers right alongside “soft glow” (you know, not quite bright enough to read by) and “one-second super-strength”. I know that no partner of a choking man is going to scream “Is there a retail worker in the house?”, I know that I’m not going to be rescuing Fluffy from the old oak tree and I am not under the impression that I would be anything other than entirely useless in the zombie apocalypse. Nevertheless, while I was apparently not destined for the telekinetic powers for which I had always hoped, it feels better than I can describe to finally know that the feelings of superiority I’ve had over nearly everybody I’ve ever met were not without warrant. That all this time, there was something special about me; that it wasn’t all just the product of an overactive imagination.
Looking back on it now, it’s funny that I remained so blind to my power for so long. For years, I’ve run around my house waving pens and rulers and shouting Harry Potter spells at inanimate objects in the distant hope that once - just once - it would work. I’ve held and thrown imaginary PokéBalls, letting myself believe that I was the best Pokémon Master in all the land. But in the end, it was needless. I was just like them all this time – waiting on fate to bring me the circumstances required to unlock my abilities. Sure, instead of a wand I have a price gun; instead of a red cape I have a red polo shirt; instead of an emblazoned ‘S’ I have a nametag that says “Andrew” in Arial Black and instead of rippling muscles I have skinny white-boy arms – but none of that matters. What matters, in the end, is that I know of the power within. And from now on when I stand in the mirror, fastening my Liquorland lanyard around my neck, I’ll do it with a sense of purpose – or this isn’t just a job anymore.
It’s my destiny.***
EDIT: OK guys, so I contacted Marvel. I figured they should know about me and my story; after all, how many opportunities would they get to turn a real-life account of a man with super powers into a comic book series? I even attached concept art for my character so they could really visualise this franchise in action. I’ve attached it below for you guys too – it’s how I imagine my customers see me:Spoiler:***
EDIT: Guys! Marvel replied! And it’s good news overall, I think! I’ve attached their letter below, exactly as I read it:
I understand that these are tough times we live in. It makes total sense that they wouldn’t be taking on new projects under such uncertainty in the market. Oh well, I guess now all I can do is wait by the phone. Wish me luck!
Posted October 1st, 2011 at 5:46 AM by Zeffy
Updated October 1st, 2011 at 5:55 AM by Zeffy
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Posted November 21st, 2011 at 3:26 PM by Celestial Daze