From Soup-erman To Clark Kan’t
As a boy, I had the type of ears that stuck out.Â I donâ€™t know how else to say it.Â They just stuck out.
From kindergarten on people warned me to stay inside on windy days so as not to blow away.Â One clever fellow remarked that from the back, my head looked like a taxicab with the doors open, and I recall (and by recall, I mean that I will never be able to suppress) an incident involving my own parents on the Dumbo ride in Disney World.Â But hey, at least I got to go to Disney.Â Am I right?
My mother would try to convince me that my ears were a gift.Â That I could hear far away things.Â Like a super power.Â Big (fucking) deal, Mom â€“ what kind of bo-bo super power is that?
But my eyes, my visionâ€¦ that would make a much more suitable power.Â I could see things, things off in the distance.Â I could make people trip by staring at them hard enough.Â This had an effective rate of about 1 in 100 times, so it seemed pretty effective to me.Â I could make traffic lights change within about 2 to 3 minutes of staring at them correctly.Â I was a regular cape-wearing, mother-fucking, bad-ass super hero.Â Until someone would sneak up behind me and flick one of my ears.
Then it would all crumble.
Now, 25 years after my ears have been surgically â€ścorrected,â€ť and I can still hear far off noises (unless said noises resemble my wifeâ€™s voice, which for some reason confuses my auditory canal), I have purchased my first pair of glasses.Â Real glasses, not the cheap magnifiers that I have been wearing for the past two years because I was in denial about my diminishing power to â€śsee.â€ť
And guess what â€“ my first glasses are bifocals.Â Fucking bifocals.Â Iâ€™m pretty sure that even Clark Kentâ€™s glasses were single vision lenses, and not the progressives that Iâ€™m wearing which is pretty much just a euphemism for BIFOCALS!
NowÂ at the ripe old age of 42.5, I am forced to come to terms with the fact that my eyesight probably wasnâ€™t my super power after all.Â And while I donâ€™t believe it is my ears either (sorry, Mom), I do believe they may have helped me discover what it is.Â Being called Dumbo, while other kids pointed and laughed (looking back I think a lot of them laughed because they were simply happy not to be the one that was being teased), I learned to laugh at myself.Â Especially if it sounded like the kid took some time to come up with something at least slightly clever.Â I learned to heckle the kids with such hacky insults as, â€śHey big ears!â€ť
Thatâ€™s all you got?
And I would rattle off a list of far more imaginative things they could have said.Â To this day my ability to laugh at myself remains, and it has joined forces with my ability to laugh at other people.Â We need that kind of duality as human beings.Â So I credit my ears, not my surgically corrected ones, but the other ones â€“ the ones that could pick up radio signals – for helping me discover my sense of humor, and giving it a voice, and an attitude.Â Because that is my real super power.