I wouldn’t normally say I’m an angry person, but lately I’ve been super crabby. Extra irritable. Like Yosemite Sam and Lewis Black had a baby. It’s not just that I’m mad at a couple people or even frustrated by one or two of life’s circumstances. Today, I hate everything. I hate everyone. And like I said, this is a bit out of character for me.
Oh, sorry. I forget to tell you. I’m a superhero.
You don’t normally associate anger with Supers, right? That’s something usually reserved for villains, except in our city there are no villains. That’s kinda been the trend lately. No villains. Nothing bad. Everything is just kinda… grey. Which also means that nothing is really that good either.
Try being a superhero who fights evil when nothing’s that evil. It’s like being an aerobics instructor on an island filled with Richard Simmons clones. Not much to do except be annoyed.
Take yesterday for example. I got The Call that a teenage boy was in trouble. The Call is what Supers refer to when they sense danger. It’s different for each of us. Superman’s got his super hearing, Spiderman’s got his spidey sense, etc. For me, ironically and unfortunately, The Call involves me feeling like I have to pee.
As you’d imagine, The Call was really difficult for me to discern early on in my career. Sometimes it was real danger I’d be sensing and other times, it was just a need to take a leak. I’ve since learned to differentiate between the two. Trust me.
So I got The Call that a teenage boy was in trouble, but I didn’t know what kind of trouble. Most of us Supers don’t know the trouble that’s on the other end of The Call, by the way. We just respond as quickly as possible and evaluate once we get there.
So when I got The Call that a teenage boy was in trouble, I responded right away. It’s my job. And by job, I mean, it’s what I was made to do. Some people are made to teach 2nd grade, some are made to fix pipes, and some are made to be Super. No matter how you slice it, being Super always involves helping people in trouble. It’s part of the gig. And it’s why every kid growing up who discovers they’re not Super becomes a police officer, firefighter, doctor, or therapist. They’re supers in a lowercase sense.
Supers in the uppercase sense, surprisingly, are similarly categorized vocationally as well. I’m assuming you’re not a superhero and so this might be helpful in understanding us. Comic books and movies probably don’t do us justice.
First, we are categorized by one of three types. I know you’re familiar with jocks, freaks, and geeks. Turns out superhero cliques are pretty much the same. Jocks: Superman, Thor, Wonder Woman. Freaks: Wolverine, Aquaman. Geeks: Spiderman, Batman.
Technically, heroes that you might know like Batman and Ironman aren’t actually Supers in the uppercase sense. They bought their way in, but they’re still lowercase. Take away the dollars and the gadgets and all you’ve got is Christian Bale and Robert Downey Jr.
Second, we are categorized by target demographic. This is one that always surprises people. But think about it. Very rarely do you see a Super venture out of their city or beyond their circle of responsibility. It’s because we’re assigned not only a geographic location, but also a certain age-range or gender focus. While these designations are made largely based on preference or because of the suitability of our particular superpowers, there are occasions where we just arbitrarily placed somewhere and assigned a certain people group.
This was my case. I’m a Jock. Basically your standard super strength and flying ability. Think Superman minus the freeze breath, X-ray vision, and curly-q bangs. I’m faster than a car, but not a bullet. More powerful than an 18-wheeler, but not a locomotive.
And as far as target demographic: Teenagers. Assigned. Not preferred.
So again, when I got The Call that a teenage boy was in trouble, I responded immediately for two reasons: I was able to and I was supposed to.