How not to be a superhero
A typical misguided superhero
It’s been concerning me for a while now that an influx of superhero films and TV shows are making a generation of superhero wannabes out of vulnerable members of our society. It’s important to understand that being a superhero is a job like any other, but with particularly unsociable hours and health & safety concerns which frankly go beyond remembering to lift heavy objects with a straight back. In an attempt to help ordinary folk like you and me avoid being disintegrated by killer robots from the future whilst trying to save the planet, I have constructed a small list of the common pitfalls that, if not observed, could lead to you inadvertently becoming a superhero. In short, you’ve been warned.
Stay away from radioactive animals:
I know it sounds obvious, but radioactive animals are not your friends. If you see any animal, insect or anything even vaguely resembling a glowing spider scuttling towards you, it’s very important that you don’t let it take a chunk out of your arm. Being bitten by a radioactive animal is a sure fire way of having unwanted super powers thrust upon you. Before you know it you’ll be climbing up walls, shooting webs from your wrists and trying to explain to your neighbour’s upset eight year old why you changed into a dog on the full moon and ate her pet bunny. If you see any animal that you suspect might be radioactive your best course of action is to run away from it. Better yet, run away from all animals that you ever see to ensure maximum safety. You could build yourself a Geiger counter to use as an early warning system against your furry enemies, although this is probably a bit extreme. Keep clear of all guinea pigs too. The rest of the world might be fooled, but I know a killer species when I see one.
Don’t hang out with mad scientists:
This one can’t be stressed enough. Mad scientists are not good people to be hanging out with. Sure it all starts off innocently enough, a drink here, a re-animated corpse there, but sooner or later it will all end in tears. Mad scientists are, well, mad. The clue is in the name. Before you know it, you’ll be strapped down to a table and having an adamantium skeleton put into your body while your real bones are busy hopping up and down the laboratory to the tune of Danse Macabre. It’s not difficult to spot a mad scientist. They are usually dressed in long white lab coats with wild flowing hair and have a tendency to live in old castles covered in lightning rods. Best to smile politely if you meet one and move on quickly.
Keep clear of extra-terrestrials:
Okay, I don’t want to sound xenophobic or anything and if I knew any I’m sure some of my best friends would be aliens, but with that said it’s probably best to steer clear of beings from another planet. Aliens have a funny sense of humour and it’s not unknown to go from an average Joe to speeding naked through the skyscrapers on a surfboard after a close encounter. Cool though it might sound, mile high naked surfboarding is not a good look for anyone. It’s cold up there if you get what I mean. The girls won’t exactly be queuing up after copping a look at your sub-zero physique. There are other nasty side effects to meeting E.T. and his mates too. My girlfriend already kicks me out of bed some nights for making her too hot (temperature wise unfortunately). Imagine what she would do with the flaming human torch lying next to her. It would not be conducive to a normal loving relationship when every time things start to get a bit frisky you run the risk of getting third degree burns.
Stay away from mutagenic materials:
I was tempted here to put a blanket warning against all suspicious looking chemicals, but really it’s mutagenic materials that we’re most concerned about. You’ve probably seen the stuff I’m talking about. Usually green, sometimes blue goo that moves with a life of its own and before you know it you’re no longer Tom the college student but a teenage mutant ninja dolphin or something equally ridiculous. For maximum safety, stay clear of strange laboratories, chemical warehouses or sewers. If you see any talking animals carrying oriental weapons that’s a definite clue that mutagenic materials are nearby. Avoid them too, especially the guinea pigs.
Avoid saving the Earth wherever possible:
Now I don’t want to seem like an old stick-in-the-mud here, but if someone approaches you and explains you are humanity's last hope of avoiding some cataclysmic disaster, it’s best just to ignore everything they’re saying and go and make yourself a cup of chamomile tea. Let’s face it, if you are humanity's last hope then we’re all pretty screwed, so you might as well just sit back and hope someone else fills the superhero void you’ve just created. The chances are good that they will. Undeniable empiric evidence shows that the Earth has yet to be destroyed through a lack of heroic intervention which proves beyond any resonance of logic that it is unlikely to be destroyed in the future. If a future you emerges from an old telephone box and begs you to do X to save the world, feel free to do Y instead. The chances are good that you are lying to yourself. Most people do this every day so time travel is unlikely to make much difference. Feel free to carry on recycling old yogurt pots though, because that really makes a difference.
So that’s it for now. I could go into more detail, but this should be enough to get you started on the road to a successfully mundane life. I hope this proves useful to you but if not, please don’t kill me with lasers from your eyes.