This is for my husband.
So I Married a Superhero
(Happy Birthday, Honey!)
Love, Charity, 2009
My husband’s a superhero. I know that look. You’re skeptical. And I was too when he first told me. But there are just some things that go beyond coincidence. Like how every time he kisses me, there’s an electric shock. Now I’m sorry. There’s only two explanations for that kind of thing—either his uvula is a Tesla coil, or his superpowers allow him to manipulate electricity. I’m prone to believe the second because that’s not the only thing I’ve seen him do with electricity. He can also turn off streetlights simply by looking at them. He revealed this particular superpower to me as we drove around the back streets of Salt Lake, searching for the venue where Greg’s band was performing.
“Look, there it goes again!” He pointed out another darkened streetlight.
I looked at the light, then sideways at him. “Baby, how do I know that light wasn’t already out?”
“Fine,” he said and pulled over to the curb. “Watch this.”
We both stared at the streetlamp directly in front of the car. Click. It went out.
“There! Did you see that?”
Well, what could I say to that? I stared at the dark bulb. “How did you do that?”
“I told you, baby,” he said, smiling in triumph. “I’m a superhero.”
Well, I was impressed, no doubt. But, frowning, I asked, “So, what can a superhero do with the power to turn out streetlights?”
He looked at me from his side of the car and grinned. The street went black. And twenty minutes later, slightly disheveled, I walked into the concert on the arm of a superhero.
Of course, he didn’t tell me he was a superhero until after we were married. Still, after five years of dating, I should have noticed the signs. Like, why didn’t I make the connection when everywhere we went other people recognized him? Strangers, all the time, anywhere we were. A mother would point him out to her little boy, “Look, Nicky, there’s Superman.” Or a student we passed on campus. “Yo, Superman, gonna save somebody today?” And he just smiled and winked.
And okay, there is a striking resemblance: the big blue eyes and the chiseled jaw line. Even the way he parts his hair on the side so that one curled lock always falls across his forehead. The fact that he’s super-mutant tall. And all he has to do is take off his glasses or loosen his tie, and suddenly you’re picturing him running off to a phone booth. So really, I should have known.
But technically, he can’t really be Superman. I mean, Superman’s already out there somewhere. And his name isn’t Clark Kent. It’s not Peter Parker or Logan Bruno. It’s Chad Brooks. Come on, is that a superhero name to you? So the whole name thing threw me off too. Chad Brooks the mutant hero!
And then, of course, his alter-ego has to have a name. He can’t be Chad Brooks the studious Swire manager and suddenly, moments later, Chad Brooks the giant electricity-manipulating super-mutant. It doesn’t work like that. After all, imagine him trying to get any work done all day. Here he’s got a wife and son to provide for, and yet he can’t make a buck because people keep flooding his office with copious requests:
“Can I get a photo with you?.... I’m trying to make my boyfriend jealous so he’ll actually propose.”
“My son’s just crazy about you, and he turns seven on Sunday—do you think you could fly by and sing happy birthday?”
“Hey, can you sign my butt?”
No, it just wouldn’t work.
And then there’s the whole anonymity thing for the good of all those he loves. I mean, think about it—if his name and address were listed right there in the white pages, then any psychotic super-villain nemesis that decided to take him on could just drive on over while he was at the office, duct tape my face, grab the baby by his ankles, and off we’d go to his mad laboratory or abandoned warehouse or flaming rooftop. That just wouldn’t work either.
“Baby, you should give yourself a name,” I told him one morning. “Before you really start doing your super-stuff. Don’t you think you need one?”
“Oh sure,” he said, eating his Reese’s Puffs. “Oh yeah, I’ve already been thinking about it.”
He leaned forward across the table. “How do you feel about Professor Victory?”
I winced. “Professor? Makes you sound old… makes me sound old by association.” I shook my head. “I still like Prodigium.”
“Prodigium?! Are you kidding me?” He pushed away from the table. “It sounds like a building or a giant robot or a fossilized dinosaur skeleton. Professor Victory is refined, patriotic, intelligent. Kinda makes you want to pay a little more respect, eh?”
I grimaced. “I don’t know. It kinda makes me feel like I’m back in college.”
He shrugged. “Professor Victory it is.”
So newly-christened Professor Victory is out saving the world somehow, with his electromagnetic charges and his super-stellar looks. Although, when I stop and think about it, it seems that an alluring, virile man flying around turning streetlights off would cause more accidents than he would prevent. But I’m not the superhero—I obviously don’t understand the way it all works. The important thing is that he’s out there, doing stuff, for the good of mankind.
But then, I’m forgetting some of his even more extraordinary powers… for example, he makes super-spreadsheets! And it is this gift that proves he inherited his powers the good old-fashioned way—through genetic mutation—because his spreadsheet ability is on a whole other supernatural level. Mortal spreadsheets do things, and they’re fairly effective and mostly attractive while doing said things. Chad—Professor Victory— touches a spreadsheet, and it is the Picasso of spreadsheets; a Venus rising out of tables and charts; a document crackling with raw mutant energy; a spreadsheet that does phenomenal things while looking like a runway model, making dinner, and solving the latest sensitive UN issues. It is a gift that mortal minds cannot comprehend. Believe me, I’ve attempted to grasp it.
“See baby, here you just enter ‘=SUM(D20:AVERAGE:N20!ASTERISK+RED40):!’and you get the world’s wheat consumption for the last decade. Piece of cake.”
I stared at the computer monitor. Totals were coming up on the screen, in beautiful geometric tables of Mayan precision, while the computer box crackled and whirred. I reached for an advil.
“It’s all alien to me.”
He shook his head. “No, no, anyone can do this.”
“No baby,” I said, “I can’t. It’s a simple matter of genetics. You forget that most humans haven’t developed the Excel gene yet. Sorry, Professor, but this student is clearly failing.”
He grinned. “Well maybe you need one-on-one tutoring, Miss Brooks.” He pulled me toward the bedroom. “Come into my office…”
Of course, it’s not easy sharing your husband with a world in chronic crisis. But having a superhero in your home does come with a lot of super-perks! Cleaning is a cinch; dinner is always at the perfect temperature; and anything that breaks is fixed, no problem. Not to mention the fact that he’s a superfather to our son, who already idolizes him… as long as he doesn’t take him out flying without the proper helmet protection.
And it’s true what they say—mutants make great lovers. His superpowers in bed are most definitely supernatural! And that really never hurts anything, now does it?
All in all, marriage to a superhero is truly… super! And yes, I’ve already warned him that the minute I see him kissing some scantily clad vixen upside-down in the rain, I take the pinking shears to his supersuit!