Essay: My Life As A Superhero

Lately I’ve been pondering the subject of superheroes. Everyone has their favorite – mine is Batman – and I think everyone at some time has fantasized about being one. I know I have.

Of course, unlike Batman, who uses cunning, strength, battle expertise and a bizarre psychological makeup to his advantage, I’m thinking that having superpowers might be one of the prerequisites of the job. Unfortunately, most of the powers that are of interest to me, especially invisibility or the ability to bend space and time, have been taken. What’s a fledging superhero to do?

I flirted with shape shifting or the ability to manipulate the weather. I thought about being able to communicate with animals, but other than being very Dr. Doolittle-ish, how would that come in handy when trying to save the world? It wouldn’t. No, it would have to something formidable.

So, after much thought, and because I really do have that much time on my hands, I’ve decided that I want to be able to transform myself into any element, which I think would really come in handy as a superhero. It could also cause some problems, which is OK, because most superheroes are flawed in some way and their powers can often be a curse to them.

Being able to change into any element would not only be a cool power to show off, but it also would be extremely practical. If someone is shooting at me, I can turn myself to iron and not only repel the bullets but bounce them back. If I’m being chased I can quite conveniently turn to steam and drift away.

Look at me … I can turn to vapor! Smoke this, bad guy!

Ditto if I want to sneak into a room. I’d just turn to smoke and go through the keyhole. And if I need to escape a sticky situation I can stand above a sewer grate and turn to water, reconstituting when I hit the pool below. There are no limits to how useful a tool this could be. Being able to transform myself like this makes me near invincible.

Which could be a problem. It may be too perfect. My powers would have to have a flaw. For instance, maybe I can only retain my transformation for a certain amount of time, say five minutes. Perhaps my character frequently finds that messy circumstances only get messier because he can’t retain his powers, making a quick and efficient escape of the essence.

I would eventually learn that, like the Force of Star Wars fame, my powers could grow through time, practice and training. Like any dedicated student, my character would constantly be working at skills he doesn’t quite understand. Maybe I would find a Yoda-like mentor to help me control and strengthen my powers.

I also need to take into consideration just how many elements I could transform into. It may be interesting to be able to run the gambit of the Periodic Table; it could fun to turn into germanium or meitnerium, although the latter would mean I would have a half-life of only 720 milliseconds, which sounds problematic. But it would certainly add to the fabric of my character. I may never have to turn to samarium, but I could if I wanted to.

Practicality states that it would have to be a solid element and nothing colorless, odorless or tasteless; what good is it to become hydrogen? At first glance one might also think there would be no practical reason to transform into halogens or any of the noble gasses. But, come to think of it, if I wanted to illuminate a dark passageway I could just turn to neon. Of course, I don’t actually turn to neon. Maybe my body just starts to glow brightly. Or, even better, my veins and arteries begin to pulse with the green liquid neon now coursing through them. When my story hits the big screen, as it inevitably will, that will be one cool special effect.

Of course, my character would have to have a back story. I would have to explain how I discover my powers. You just don’t wake up one day made of scandium. Perhaps I’m a physicist. Maybe it’s night and I’m working in the lab alone. Maybe there’s an accident and an explosion releases a white-hot fireball that’s heading right towards me. Unable to move in time I instinctively turn to iron, saving me from the flames rushing harmlessly by.

In the aftermath I lie on the floor, gazing in amazement and disbelief at my metallic body. Well, that was interesting, I think to to myself  before I quickly reconstitute back to my human form, which is, of course, naked, since my clothes have been burned off. But I’m shook at what just happened, not comprehending whether it actually really happened, yet determined to get to the bottom of it all.

Later, when realizing that I actually had turned to metal, I decide to test my newfound powers, perhaps by thinking of helium. Curiously, my body doesn’t inflate like a balloon, but begins to levitate, gently lifting me exhilaratingly skyward until I am level with the ceiling. Then the powers suddenly vanish and I crash to the floor below.

Hmmm, maybe I’m on to something here…

22 Responses to Essay: My Life As A Superhero

  1. Paula says:

    This has been fun 😀

  2. Now you’ve got me thinking–maybe your superpower could be transforming your OPPONENTS into different elements, combustible ones for example, and then lighting a match–ooh, that sounds too violent for your kind and mild-mannered stint as the photography buff we all know and love; but are you game?

    • Hi Victoria … well, that’s puts a different spin on my superhero powers that I hadn’t thought of. But until I develop my powers further, I think I’ll use to them for escaping rather than countering my opponents. At this point I’m more of a lover than a fighter (just don’t tell that to Batman!)
      I wanted to let you know that a heavy work schedule and a bit of travel this week (annual family visit to Philadelphia) have prevented me from posting to my blog, especially my weekly art. So I’m itching to get back to it this weekend with lots of really fun new stuff!

  3. I hope the family reunion in Philly was great. I too am travelling soon, but I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you’re up to when I get back–and of course, seeing what art work you’ve unearthed (maybe unearthed is the wrong word–it suggests archeology rather than photography; perhaps I should say “discovered,” or “uncovered,” or even better, “exposed”). Read you soon!

  4. Men Who Stare At Goats inspired me to work on my Jedi powers and it was working pretty nicely, but it’s a lonely life. You can’t tell people.

    Like this one day, second day in a row actually, I stood right outside the correct elevator (a choice of eight) and the same man was next to me the second day and said, “How do you do that?”

    So I told him, “Jedi powers.”

    He sort of scrunched himself up into a corner and tried not to make contact for the rest of the ride.

    It’s hard out here on a superhero. (Great post!)

  5. Lee-Anne says:

    Haha… you have obviously given this matter serious consideration. It sounds like a plan!

    • G’day, Lee-Anne. Actually, I’ve given this matter very serious consideration (perhaps too much), so far to no avail (sigh). That won’t keep me from trying, though. Maybe the Avengers need someone to run out for coffee or Batman doesn’t have time to run the Batsuit to the dry cleaners … if so, I’m the man!!!
      Thanks for visiting!

  6. Ashmita says:

    Excellent brilliant never like this

  7. This is such a fun essay, I think you have the makings of a fab story, I hope you do. 🙂

  8. Anonymous says:


  9. Sohini Purkayastha says:

    You ROCKED That !

  10. Where are you, Stephen? Have you turned permanently into some element that is whizzing around through the blogosphere invisibly? I’ve been waiting eagerly for more photographs, but there’ve been none for a while now. Are you just overly busy with things like job stuff, or are you really a superhero now who is trying to hide his identity?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I love your story steven.

  12. Anonymous says:

    thank you very you helped me a lot with my essay writing

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