Sunday, May 10, 2015

Super Powers on This American Life

Tonight, public radio replayed an episode of the program This American Life that struck me years ago, and, this time, I took notes.  It's all about super powers.

Host Ira Glass reports that the two most popular powers are invisibility and flight.  Then, his stable of writer/producer/reporter types give us stories that inspire us and creep us out:

We hope that we are more than the world sees in us, Glass says. 

There's the story of Zora, private detective, six foot five, tattooed, shapely, muscular, and possessed of a diary from age 13 where she listed all of the skills she had to master before age 23 to become an actual super hero.  But, when the CIA thought she was too weird to be an agent, she spiraled down.  Now she's learning all those skills that a middle schooler learns, like, talking to strangers, being a friend....

Another guest catalogs  failed super-heroes who lack the human element.  There's the example of a man who splits his body parts off;  another is "Bee Man." 

I recall a story, perhaps from a different episode, about a young man who filled a Superman suit convincingly, who wore the suit to bars.  Sometimes he was challenged to fight, but generally he found that he was making the day of people there.  He himself had lost his fiancee, and this was his therapy.  Lovely thought.

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