Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

This actually happened. And when I say, 'This actually happened,' I mean that it did.

Last week I was in the grocery store where Ron and I do our food shopping. I took my stuff up to the cash. The aisle where I was had a sign up above saying, "This aisle has no candy on display". The idea, of course, is that harried mothers can push their carts up to this aisle without having their squalling brats pester them for candy, because there is no candy. Perfectly reasonable, and even considerate. Except there was a bin of candy right there at the front of the aisle.

As the cashier was ringing everything through, I said, "How come your sign says that there's no candy on display when there's candy right there?"

She looked up at the sign and said, "Oh, that's for if you're shopping with a small child and you don't want him or her asking for candy while you're at the cash."

"That's a good idea," I said, patiently. "But there's candy right there."

She looked. I was right; there was.

"I'm terribly sorry, sir," she said, stricken. "I'll tell the manager about that."

So today when I went in there I expected to see the candy gone. But no; the candy was still there. They had, however, taken the sign down.
When you're on a six-hour car trip and the only person tired enough to sleep is the driver, there's not much to do except talk. And when guy in the back seat is a secretive avenger of the night who never says three words where none will do, that puts the burden on the third person. I present:

The Secret Origin of Perseid

as told to


"No, I've just got the one bag. I'm traveling small.

"Well. I was being pessimistic. I really thought I'd be going home after this weekend.

"East Sarmins. You've probably never heard of it. It's just a little place.

"Does it? The only thing . . . have you ever heard of the Liberators?

"That was it, then. East Sarmins was one of the towns that got Liberated. We had been taken over by a supervillain named Snowdragon. I don't remember much about him, but he stole my little sister. Then the Liberators came in - Alligatrix and Silverfox and all those. They went into Snowdragon's ice-mountain-thing and pulled him out in handcuffs. They brought Manda back to us; she was fine.

"I was so grateful I couldn't figure what to say to them. Finally I yelled, 'I'm gonna be a superhero too when I grow up and I'll save all your sisters!' They laughed, but I felt like I had made a promise.

"Well. From then on, anytime anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, 'A superhero!' And then they'd say, 'No, really.' Whenever I went to upper school and we all had to talk to the guidance counselor, he asked me what kind of career I wanted. I said, 'I plan to be a superhero.' And he'd tell me to be realistic.

"I was serious about it. I thought of all the different super-powers, and what my superhero name should be depending on which ones I got. I kept a list, and if I thought of a better name than the one I had, I'd change the list. For a while I had a costume made out of an old ballet outfit, but I outgrew it.

"After upper school, I started in to get a diploma in criminology, but it was more boring than I thought it'd be, so I switched to accounting because that's what my friend was taking and she said the instructor was cute.

"That was fine. Then I got the job at the pet store, which was great because I love animals, and it was close to home so I could take care of my parents. They don't get around that well.

"Now. Last month I was babysitting for Livvy next door, and she was watching her DVD of Pinocchio. It got to the part with the song, you know, 'When You Wish Upon a Star'? And Livvy asked me what I'd wish for. And I said I wished I had super-powers. The star on the screen twinkled, and I had super-powers.

"That was scary. It was easy to want to be a superhero when there was really no way I could be. It's sort of like if you're little and you say you really, really want a pony for Christmas. There's no everlasting way your parents would ever get you a pony, but you keep asking. Then on Christmas morning you see a giant box, with airholes, by the tree, and you say to yourself, 'My bedroom's kind of small to keep a pony in.' It's like that. Once it becomes real you feel like a real awko for the way you used to have no idea.

"Then I figured, well, I can't say I didn't ask for this, so I got a mask and went to Los Angeles for the weekend and flew around looking for some crime. I would have liked to stay in East Sarmins with my parents, because that's kind of a superhero thing to do--"

["Like Spider-Man and Aunt May," I said. "Exactly!" she answered.]

"--but really the town isn't big enough to support any kind of crimefighting. I didn't come across any bad guys in L.A., but Daylighter found me and invited me to the meeting, and now I'm in your car listening to . . . what is this, opera? And I'm glad."

Footnote: when we finally got to the office, she took one look around and said, "You know what would make this place look nice?"

"Some fish tanks?"


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?