Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This is for my husband.
So for those of you sick of hearing about my husband, read no further.

Yes, this was your birthday present, I know. But I always do blubbery, touchy-feely stuff. This time I thought I'd just post the sillier side of us. So here, your story!

And, as always, thank you for being the man of my dreams, awake and asleep!! You have made the last three years paradisaical!! Happy 3rd Anniversary!

And, sorry to those of you who don't already know that we're pretty physical. To those of you that do, you should have already expected this...

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!

understated greats.

I have rediscovered two understated greats in the world this week.

First, I am reading Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Ray Bradbury is one of my all-time FAVORITE writers in the UNIVERSE (which is actually a fitting description for the author of The Martian Chronicles). Anyway, I have many, many, many of his books. I devour his short stories like nacho cheese Doritos. But I haven't yet read Dandelion Wine. So I started it this week. By the time I read the first page, I was again reminded just why he reigns supreme in my book. There is no one--NO ONE--that paints scenes with words the way he does. No author introduces me to ordinary things in extraordinary ways like he does. Tennis shoes are not just tennis shoes--they are all the imagined freedoms of a young boy. A priest does not just meet God in the desert--he meets him in the red martian sand and the polyphonic singing of the wind. And a boy is not simply overcome by a midnight carnival ride--he is brought to age, terror and disillusionment with each turn of the carousel. Ray Bradbury's stories are music, light, shadow, elation, terror, philosophy, religion, fantastic, the divine in the mundane. And he has said everything I have ever wanted to say in writing. If you have never read him, that's tragic. Read Fahrenheit 451 (actually, in my opinion, though his most popular, not his best work). Read Dandelion Wine. Read Something Wicked This Way Comes (one of my favorite books of all time). Read The Burning Man (a short story). Read The Martian Chronicles. Just read him. I concede that perhaps--perhaps--he may be too much for some. I would disagree. But then, that's why there are different literary genres. I think there is nothing more beautiful than a short story, a page, a paragraph of Ray Bradbury.

Second, Moose Tracks ice cream! Enough said.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


It's coming on a month since my last post.
I know, what a slacker.

But sometimes I don't have much to say. The truth is, sometimes, for weeks at a time, I do the same thing every day, and it really isn't anything to crow about.

Sometimes, for weeks at a time, my day goes like this:
Wake up around 5, when Chad kisses me goodbye... I've instructed him that he MUST ALWAYS do this--otherwise my day cannot begin right later, when I get up for real...
Wake up around 6, when I have to pee--my bladder, I think, is getting weaker in my old age (I am almost 27, after all).
Wake up at 7, when Coren is crying and ready for his chicha (bottle)... HOORAY for dark winter mornings that keep the boy asleep an extra hour! One perk of wintertime! I pull Coren out of his crib and move him into bed with me, where we cuddle while he downs his bottle (and he is very serious about his bottles!). For some reason, I am most maternal in the morning hours, and I find all kinds of ways to get him to cuddle with me--really responsible things, like Disney movies (actually conditioning my child to watch TV. nice.), and songs with all the hand motions. And we "talk," which consists of the dude making noises and grinning while I mimic them. Over and over. This can go on for minutes and minutes...
Then, when the boy goes down for nap #1 (such a good napper, how did I get so lucky?!), I do the productive part of my day: exercise, clean up all the boys messes from the previous afternoon, laundry, shower (or bath, depending on how cold my feet are), and of course, the daily crossword--this is VITAL!
By this time, the boy is awake again, and we go into phase #2 of the day: get out of the house for at least a few minutes in this frigid weather, so we don't become hibernating moles! So I bundle the boy up, and he's so good in the cold--he loves being outside, he sings when we get out there; we chase the geese around for a while, which cracks him up; we visit a neighbor down the way, who is just crazy about Coren; and we get the mail. And that's about all the winter weather I can handle... so sorry, Dude, it's back to the cave...
After a little more playing, it's on to nap #2 for the dude. This is the fabulous one, where he sleeps for a good 3 hours! This is my less-productive time--I read, most often, I read and read and read... and sometimes I sleep. Bliss!
... And then the BEST part of my day--Chad comes home! From this point on, my day is focused around Chad--what I can do that involves sitting next to him... or just being able to touch him.... or look at him.
And still, we don't do anything amazing: watch movies, eat dinner, read books, chase Coren around, (Chad also has his daily Best of YouTube routine), pretty mild, pretty normal. And often, we have night activities: ward things, visiting neighbors and new couples, grocery shopping, etc. Then it's off to bed for the Brooks household.

....And still, my life is a joyful parade! Something I can't fully explain or describe. But my heart holds more emotion for my mellow husband and silly boy than I imagined I could hold for anything or anyone. I have a life so normal, there will never be a book written about us; there will never be a reality show; there will never even be a newspaper article in the local section. But I think I am happier than ALL of the exciting people I have ever met. And maybe that sounds outspoken or exaggerated, but I really think it's true. My life has joy-- the kind of joy that is ever-present, that does not ebb and flow with what's on the weekend activity board, that lurks persistently even behind the times when I am frustrated, angry, sad, or just plain bored-out-of-my-mind. A joy that pulses behind every daily moment... there are no words for it. And strangely, I am sad for the great people with their exciting stories who do not have this normal, joyful joy. I have it. That makes my life something fabulous, I think.