Simon Wood

Hump Day: I’m A Hero, You’re A Hero

Julie reminded me that she’s still going through withdrawl for one of her favorite shows which got canceled, Heroes. If you’ve not seen it, it’s about the belief that people with special powers exist all over the world and in a time of trouble, these people will form together to rise up against a devastating evil. These are just ordinary people who exhibit the kind of special powers you’d find amongst the Fantastic Four or X-Men, but without the spandex and the need to wear their underpants on the outside. It’s all very thrilling.
The characters in Heroes have the ability to fly, heal themselves, predict the future, read people’s mind and stop time, just to name a few. All very sexy.
But that’s where the show falls down. They’re focusing on people’s super sexy superpowers. They don’t feature anyone with mundane superpowers. Mundane superpowers–is that an oxymoron?
People with mundane superpowers can make a difference too, you know. I suppose I’m a little hurt by the show, because they don’t feature a hero like me. I have special powers. I don’t like to brag about them or anything, but I have them. Sadly, those powers haven’t been incorporated in the show.
Unlike the superheroes in the show, I have two special powers. I’ve had them for a long time and I’ve yet to find a purpose for them, but I’m sure they’ll come in handy some day.
My first superpower is the ability to be ignored by automatic doors. I can stand in front of these things for a week and they won’t open. I can jump up and down and get nothing. I usually have to dart in behind someone before I freeze to death outside.
My second superpower is the ability to buy from a store any electronic or mechanical product expected to perform a function, get it home and find that it’s broken or a part is missing. I can choose from hundreds and still find the busted one. I’m the kind of person who’ll find a needle in a haystack, but the needle will be missing a point.
Yes, yes, these abilities are astounding. They are my gift and my curse. I fear I’ll pass these powers onto my children. I know I’m already passing it onto my pets. I was told my new kitten, Chase, was a boy. He is a girl–who has now been renamed, Chasemina. If I drop Chasemina, she lands on her side, head or back, never her feet.
As a mundane superhero, I fear my superhero name wouldn’t be Batman or Wolverine, but Dud and my trusty catchphrase would be “What are you going to do?” combined with a shrug at the end.
The problem is for people like me, our mundane superpowers embarrass us. We stay at home, afraid of the impact we can inflict on the world. I’m sure I’m not alone in this power. I bet many of you reading this exhibit powers you perceive as crap. I don’t want you to be ashamed of your powers. I want you to tell me about them. Like the televisual Heroes, we too could band together to prevent a mild inconvenience on the world, as we don’t quite have the stuff to avert a global calamity.
So I ask you, what’s your mundane power? Go on. Unimpress me.

13 Responses to “Hump Day: I’m A Hero, You’re A Hero”

  1. Debi Murray

    Like you, Simon, those automatic doors ignore me as well. I do have a theory…I think there is a secret room in the store where the clerks take breaks and the switch that controls the door is located. I know they are in there flipping that switch so I stand outside, jumping and flapping my arms to no avail…I know they are watching me and falling off their chairs, convulsing with laughter. It must be so, otherwise why would anyone want to work at Target for minimum wage? The entertainment factor has to be the only benefit. Right?

    Once I do finally enter the store, I can always pick out the cart with the wobbly wheel. I know…it is a talent and, unfortunately, the only one I have!

  2. simonjanus

    I would work at Target for the red polo shirt, so there…

    Your wobbly wheel powers are there to save the rest of us. 🙂


  3. Draven Ames

    Love your superpower. Dud is perfect. Heroes had so many plot holes, but it was a great show to watch with the family.

    How is it that we always get the busted one? I know exactly what you mean.

    I guess my power would be to overcook anything the first time I cook it. It doesn’t matter if it is Top Ramen or steak. If it is the first time I’m cooking it, I’ll overcook it.

    I’d name myself Well Done. Catch phrase? “Want to get a burger?”

  4. M D Tolley


    Thankfully I don’t have the automatic doors super power or the wobbly wheel super power.

    I do however have an uncanny and totally miraculous ability to almost magnetically draw the most deranged and disturbed elderly women towards me.

    Now if I were an elderly man, it may be slightly beneficial, but as a young 40ish bloke it can be somewhat unnerving.

    2 weeks ago I sat on platform 1 of my local train station patiently waiting for my train to York, when a rather scary elderly woman approached me. Now she was not at all put off by the fact that I was quietly reading my Kindle (sadly not a Simon Wood book) and insisted upon striking up a conversation.

    Well I say conversation but that really isn’t accurate, after all a conversation is a two way thing where as she just kept grabbing hold of my arm and talking at me.

    I instantly noticed that distinctive old person aroma, stale sweat, urine and menthol cigarettes masked with really awful perfume and desperately tried to think of an escape plan.

    I looked all around for anyone that I could casually introduce the woman to before making a swift getaway. But no, at 07:45 there were so few other people in the train station and both of them saw my desperation and hid in the toilets.

    Things got worse as she proceeded to ask if I was Daniel. I advised her that she was mistaken, I was called Fred (I did not want to provide my real name).
    ‘No,no,no Daniel’ she said, ‘Don’t me cruel. That’s no way for a husband to treat his wife’.

    Now my throat was becoming dry and my heart was racing. ‘I’m sorry but you’re mistaken, I’m not your husband and as I’ve already said my name is Fred’, I protested.

    Then she started crying and and pleading ‘Daniel, Daniel, don’t leave me again. It’s been 35 years since I last saw you at your funeral’.

    Now I’m really terrified and worse still I know that I’m going to have to find someone to make sure she’s alright.

    Naturally the railway staff were unwilling to offer any assistance, so I had to call the police and wait 30 minutes for them to arrive and a further 40 minutes for them to satisfy themselves that I most certainly was not her dead husband.

    End result I missed my train, was nearly two hours late for an important meeting and never got to finish my book.

    I wish that I could say that this was a rare event, but sadly it isn’t. Whenever I start reading my Kindle in public, I end up being interrupted by elderly ladies.

    What can I do???????

  5. M D Tolley

    Well I suppose it might, but with my amazing ability to attract strange old ladies, the worry is it might excite them and exacerbate the whole problem.

    Thanks though….

  6. Merrill Young

    My mundane superpower is the unfailing ability to choose the priciest item in ANY category. Be it paperclips or emerald rings, if you put three different varieties in front of me and ask me to pick the one I like best, I will immediately zero in on the one that has the biggest dollar value. I have struggled all my life to find a way to profit from this amazing skill, but -alas!-it is to no avail. Perhaps it’s a lesson in humility- one should never profit from ones super power, should they? This ( and a general abhorrence) is what has kept me from appearing on the Price is Right. And Simon, have you tried doing a brief soft shoe routine in front of the door? It always works for me!

  7. Susan C Shea

    Sadly, I share one mundane superpower with other women my age: We are invisible, especially where cool people gather. I also appear to have the ability to render my published novels invisible, at least when it comes to Ten Best, or even Twenty Best…My motto is easy “Everything I know I learned the hard way.”


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>