Sunday, March 30, 2008

super-duper




I was very charmed by the "Superheroes" episode of This American Life that I just recently downloaded, and particularly liked the piece by John Hodgeman (trivia factoid: he is the PC in those "I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" commercials) where he interviews people asking them which one superpower they would prefer to have: invisibility or the flight. So, some basic ground rules as detailed in the radio story. You could either become invisible at will, or fly without the aid of machinery. You could not be both. Neither superpowers could be couple with any other superpowers. No one else would have the superpowers that you have. Other that invisibility or flight, you could not do anything else that you couldn't do in real life, like lifting a bus into the air. When you are invisible, your clothes also become invisible, but anything that you're holding would not.

So, on the train back from the museum yesterday, I asked what he would choose.


JOE
(Without hesitation)
Flying. Definitely flying.

MICHELLE
Yeah, but what would you do?

JOE
(As though to a stupid person)
Fly.

MICHELLE
Yeah, but how is that useful? Where would you fly?

JOE
Anywhere. Wait, could I fly and shoot fireballs from my hands?

MICHELLE
No, no other powers.

JOE
(Dismayed)
Oh.

MICHELLE
See, I would choose to be invisible.

JOE
For what purpose?

MICHELLE
Because then I could...sneak around.
And listen to what other people are saying. And...rob banks.

JOE
Would you be invisible and be able to walk through walls?

MICHELLE
No, only invisible.

JOE
So how could you rob a bank?

MICHELLE
I could go in behind the guy who had the key before the door closed.

JOE
That's stupid.

MICHELLE
Invisibility is definitely the more craven of the two superpowers.

JOE
Anyway, you couldn't steal things. Even if you stole someone's wallet,
the wallet doen't become invisible itself. Don't you think people would see
their wallet just floating away? Unless you could make anything you touch invisible.

MICHELLE
Maybe if I put it under my shirt, the invisibility of my shirt would cloak the wallet.

JOE
I think you would have to be invisible and be able to pass through solid objects.

MICHELLE
Wait, I don't want to be invisible anymore.
It makes me sound like a criminal. I would rather have telekinesis.

JOE
And shoot fireballs from your hands.

MICHELLE
That's you. See, the problem is, neither power is really very useful on its own.

JOE
See, I would have thought you would want to fly.

MICHELLE
Why?

JOE
Because then you wouldn't have to learn to drive.

MICHELLE
Shut up about the driving already.


So what about you? One power, invisibility or flight. Which one would you choose and why?

5 comments:

  1. Fly, definitely fly. It's the second best choice from Teleportation, which is my first choice

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