Archive for September, 2010

So, while carpooling to work, my friend played a clip of This American Life.  The topic was super powers.  They asked a question of people: Which would you prefer, flying or invisibility?  Now the rules are simple, you can only choose one, and you are the only person in the world with that power.  Which would you choose?  Now take five seconds and pick.  1 2 3 4 5.  There, that is your choice.  In my first five seconds, I always choose flying.  Think about it.  Flying is cool.  It’s fun and you could travel anywhere you like just by jumping in the air.  How would you fly?

I would fly like superman, but I would go old school.  As I jumped into the air, I would say, “Up, up and away!”  Now that’s old school.  I would fly with one arm pointing forward with my hand in a fist.  I would do loop de loops and fly as high and then as fast as possible.  Where is the first place you would go?  For me? Easy, France.  I would sit at a cafe across the river from the Louvre.  Afterwards, I would visit the Musée d’Orsay, hands down my favorite museum on the planet.  Ironically, it is across the street from the Louvre, one of the most famous museums on the planet.  Well, that is what I would do.  What would you do?

Now take a moment.  What if I gave you five minutes instead of five seconds to make your decision?  Would you still pick flying?  I wouldn’t, because the more I think about it, the more I realize the limitations of flying as a super power.  Some questions start to pop to mind: If I did fly with my arm out, would it get tired?  Most places I would fly by myself.  How fun is it to go places by yourself?  In the beginning it would be great, but what about my family?  I would have to fly pretty high to get to far away places in a decent amount of time, so would I get cold?  How much can I carry while flying?  If I needed a suitcase, how easy would that be to fly AND carry a suitcase?  What about weather?  If I actually did fly to France, what would I do if I was halfway across the Atlantic and a hurricane or thunderstorm blew in?  What about the publicity?  I would be quite annoyed at the number of people who would want to talk to me because I could fly?  What about the favors and the requests?  Just because I can fly, does it mean that I have to get every cat stuck in a tree?  And I am thinking, a flying black man?  If you thought driving while black was bad, what about flying?  I could see flying over some neighborhoods and getting shot at.  Probably by all races.  So, when I think about it, when giving the question some thought, I would choose invisibility.

Now, invisibility has some real practical applications.  If you were invisible, what would the first thing you would do?  Let’s get the obvious answer out-of-the-way first.  If you are a young man, the answer is simple, see naked women.  The bottom line is, if you have seen one naked woman, you pretty much want to see them all naked.  I don’t make this stuff up, that’s a fact.  But of course, that would soon get old.  What next?  The movies for free.  What else for free?  Football, baseball games, depending on the season.  Game place, water park, night club?  What about stealing?  Now think about all the things you would do with invisibility.  Kind of a sleazy superpower isn’t?  Funny, when I give invisibility more thought, I can’t see myself choosing it either.  Am I really that guy?

So, what does your choice say about you as a person?  If you choose flying, are you adventurous, free-spirited, a person who loves to be in the limelight, opening up yourself to the world?  Or if you choose invisibility, are you a loner, have something to hide, a little perve, or just a little off with criminal tendencies?  It is almost as if flying is the good super power and invisibility is the criminal super power.  At the end of the day, I would choose invisibility, because frankly, it has more uses, whereas flying just doesn’t provide enough perks, at least as I see it.

So, think about it.  Which would you choose?  What is your first reaction?  What is your reaction after you give it some thought?  One the most fascinating things the program points out, and I think is worth mentioning:  Did anyone come up with a use for their super power that involved helping people?  Interesting, neither did I.  Makes you wonder if super powers really did exist, would it actually lead to super people?  Makes you think.  Are the comic super heroes representative of our inner beings, or representations of people we wish we would be?

Flight or invisibility: Which would you choose?


I think Aquaman is the worst super hero ever.  When would I ever need him?  If I were to have a crisis right now, if a super villain, shoot, if a robber were to enter my house right now, and I had Aquaman sitting next to me, getting my couch all wet, what could he do?  The nearest aquatic animal he could summon would be my neighbor’s goldfish.  Basically, I would be screwed, and wet.  I guess he could drown the robber in our tub, but we would have to fill it with water first.  Who’s got that kind of time?  I’m just sayin …


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