We’re at the Art of the Brick exhibition. It’s a while ago, during the school holidays. We’re weaving through the crowds, looking at intricate lego models of heroes and villains. I turn and ask our boy, “What would you rather be? A superhero or their sidekick?”

He responds, “The sidekick I think…”

The sidekick is usually a role reserved for followers. Often an afterthought to the big narrative of good versus evil. The hero is where the action pivots, the one with the glory and fame. It’s usually the most obvious choice.

“Why?” I ask, intrigued.

“Because I want to help,” he murmurs, engrossed in the scene before him.

His desire to help without taking the limelight was interesting. Perhaps he didn’t want the responsibility that comes with the attention. I was as usual, over analysing things, but I suspected it was a bit of both.

“Just like Superman, we all have our own story. This [Art of the Brick] collection is based on the elements of the journey of a super hero, including the moment in which we are all called to the adventure.”

Nathan Sawaya, brick artist

Some years later, I am asked what superpower I’d like if I could have one. It’s for the staff intranet at work, so I give it some thought.

I settle on the ability to predict the future and the power to change it if I needed to. I didn’t want a fate like Cassandra, daughter of King Priam of Troy, forever cursed to see what will befall people and be unable to change it because no one believed her.

I should have gone for something practical. I should have asked for the ability to fold laundry with a single look and put it away with a blink. But I thought of it too late.

battle of the planets

My favourite superheroes when I was growing up wasn’t She-Ra, Jem or Wonder Woman. It was G-Force from Battle of the Planets. An elite intergalactic fighting team made up of Mark, Jason, Princess, Keyop, and Tiny. They would time and again save the world from destruction and evil.

I based my superhero alter ego on Princess, of course. But I wasn’t going to wear pink and white like she did. I wasn’t going to prance around with a weapon that looked like a yo-yo to defeat bad guys. I was going to dress in black and use a real whip to defeat my foes and save the world. I liked her motorcycle though. That was cool.

I would jump off the family couch, imagining I was chasing down a villain; skid around the house, waving dad’s belt around. It was the only thing I had to a real whip. I’m sure my father wondered why his belts kept ending up in the living room.

I liked being part of the team. I could call on Mark, Jason, Princess, Keyop, or Tiny, to cut the bad guy off at the underpass when I needed their help. I loved thinking up plans to defeat the evil field commander, Zoltar, where each of us had a part to play. It was awesome. Not only were G-Force intergalactic defenders of the world, they were also my friends.

Many decades later, I ask my son what his superpower would be if he could choose one for himself.

“I think I’ll have the power of transformation,” he replies.

“Why?”

“Because I can be whatever I need to be. I can transform into a bird or a car. I could even transform into someone with another superpower. I could be anything.”

Darn it. I should have put that on our staff intranet.

Via The Daily Post Discover Challenge: Superpower

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