For a child the ideal image of their parents in often no less than that of a superhero. They get to stay up as late as they want, eat anything, and let's not get into the whole issue of reaching the tall cabinets. No, let's face it, when a child looks up at their parents they see someone the terror of the night can't touch and even the boogie man must flee from.
Be that as it may, the sad truth of the matter is that as parents we often lack the glamor of invulnerability much less laser vision. Although any number of powers could prove invaluable in a parents line of work, not to mention really fun. Unfortunately, I could really have used a few super powers several times in my life.
One such time recently popped back into mind. Mind you, it was in the early 90's, and I like many of my friends was hooked on the X-Men animated series that was just getting started. One night I was asleep in my bed, dreaming of the X-Men as they battled the tyrannical tin-cans: the Sentinels. I watched vividly through the eyes of Wolverine as I launched myself to leap at a Sentinel's head with my claws extended. There was only one problem.
I was on the top bunk.
My eyes opened as I sailed weightless for a second past the spinning ceiling fan before gravity reasserted it's hold. In a surreal flash that was like I was still in the dream, not fully within the confines of reality I plummeted faster than I could consciously register. I struck my head hard against the floor, square on it's top. A chain reaction of electric fire shot down my spine like a cascade of shattered glass. Pain exploded like I had never before known. Somehow I had managed to avoid any real injury, a fact that I have never fully accepted. I mean sometimes injuries can haunt you, and that one has at times resurfaced from memory when there was some vague feeling of discomfort in my spine.
Clearly, I lack an adamantium skeleton or the healing factor of Wolverine.
Which leads me to my most recent act of less than heroic grandeur. There was a loud crash in our kitchen accompanied by a clatter of metal. Naturally, since it was late, and I am a father I decided to investigate. What villainous plot could be afoot, I wondered. Catching my gaze was a cat posing himself to flee the scene of the crime, where he had tried to get at some remains of a roasted chicken. His target now upside down on the floor and successfully forming a mess.
Now, it was at this point I took a step to close the distance and simply pick the cat up so as to deposit it outside while I cleaned up the mess. Otherwise it would of been mostly me trying to swat him away and little would get cleaned. Instead the cat decided to run. Another few steps and I was proving an inescapable foe when he stopped in his tracks. But when I reached for him this time he quickly changed direction and managed to bounce off my feet to run off behind me.
It was then that I knew it had all been a ruse. My feet slid free of the floor beneath them to carry me aloft and the floor joined the cat in it's plot to strike me from behind. Hard. The fall itself, wasn't anything to worry over, I have in all honesty fallen countless times. I instinctively knew I could just roll over and get up with little more than some grunts from the sudden shock of impact.
Alas, I was terribly mistaken. A similar electric fire now decided to swim up from my tailbone and into my lower spine. And in that moment I knew the fury of Bruce Banner. The only thought that could form, aside from the obvious ouch was vengeance. I fought to claw my way up from the evil floor to renew my efforts against the cat to only be denied.
My merciful wife opened the door as I watched helpless to aid the cat in his escape from my clutches.
Unfortunately I am still bruised and swollen from my not so heroic endeavors. And I really would of given anything to have been able to call on almost any super power then. The cat is still under the protective veil of my wife's charity, and now I have more proof to show my kids that I am indeed not superman. Well, that and then there are all those jokes everyone(especially my wife) are enjoying at my pride's expense.
*sigh* At least now I know who my enemies are. The cat-floor alliance will fall, mark my words. and please, take my advice, keep your eyes on yours too. They'll plot against you...