I was only ten years old when I realized the first of my superpowers. I was sitting in the backseat of our car, in a parking lot somewhere, waiting for my father to come back from the store or the hockey rink. For some reason, I wasn’t reading comics, or a book, but instead just looked out the window – like kids used to do back in the day.
As I was staring out the window, possibly trying to see if Dad was on his way back, I realized that I was actually looking right through a lamp post.
I could see the lamp post, but I could also see my father walking towards the car. I closed one eye, and I saw the lamp post. I closed my other eye, and I could see my father. But when I kept both eyes open, I could see through the lamp post.
That basically confirmed what I had been suspecting for a good while already. I was a superhero.
It felt natural, and to be honest, I had expected it.
A few years earlier, I had run around in my bath robe, wearing just the hood over my head, letting the rest of the robe be my cape, as I pretended to be Super Goofy, my first superhero idol. (Some people still think I’m super goofy, but that’s another story).
Of course, there were many questions.
What were my superpowers? How did I get them?
If I really were a superhero, the maybe X-ray vision was just the first of my superpowers to have made itself known. Had I been born with my superpowers or was it something I had dome that hade made them manifest themselves at that parking lot?
Goofy got his superpowers when he ate magic peanuts that grew in his garden. I had only eaten a regular dinner – mashed potatoes and meatballs – that my mother hade made, and nothing at the rink. I hadn’t even drunk anything, not even a glass of water. I had eaten mashed potatoes and meatballs many times in the past, that was my favorite food, but had never got superpowers before.
It was most likely simply that the time was right. Ten seemed to be a good year to become a superhero. Yes, Superman had always had his superpowers, I knew that – everybody knows that – and yes, he did lift that car wearing just diapers, but hadn’t he, too, really come of age in his teens? If you really think about it?
Then the question was simply: was x-ray vision my only superpower, or would there be more?
The answer came to me on the backseat of the same car just a few weeks later. We were driving towards my Grandma’s place, and I was sitting in my usual spot, in the middle, between the front seats so I could hear everything my parents said in the front. (My hearing was good, but it wasn’t superhearing).
When we took a left, and turned onto the dirt road that led to my Grandma’s house (and Grandpa’s), I leaned back and enjoyed the view. It was flat as far as the eye could see, and the trees that now hide the few houses alongside the road thatcuts across the fileds in a straight line were so small that you could see the houses, and if another car was coming from the other way, you could see the cloud of dust at least two kilometers away.
I always imagined the cloud being one cowboy riding with a tree branch behind him so it would look like there was a big group coming – the oldest trick in the book, I know – and that time when I saw that cloud, I let out a little whistle.
And then, without even realizing it, another one.
Only, the second one was special, because it came through my nose.
That, my friend, was my second superpower. I could whistle through my nose. I told my Mom and Dad that, but they didn’t believe me, so I never told anyone else.
Until decades later, when I met Wife. I told her, and she told me I was making it up. She told me the sound was actually coming through my mouth, which was also slightly open.
I didn’t say anything for a few years, and then told her again that I could whistle through my nose, and she told me what she had told me the first time. So I never talked about that particular superpower again.
Until three days ago, when I told Daughter. She was in her room when I went in, whistling.
“Why are you whistling?” she asked me.
“No reason, I’m just in a good mood,” I said, because that was the truth. I was in such a good mood that I decided to tell her about my secret superpower.
“You know,” I said, and looked over my shoulder to make sure nobody else could hear me, “you know, check this out.”
And then I let out a high-pitched whistle through my nose.
“Daughter,” I said, “your Dad can whistle through his nose.”
I whistled again. She looked at me, and grabbed my lips with her little fingers.
The sound ended.
“Nope, you’re doing it with your mouth,” Daughter said.
“No, it’s something else, there’s something else, watch this,” I said, and let out another whistle.
“Dad, cut it out,” she said and went about her business.
I walked back into my little office, whistling. I sat down, and held my hand in front of me, and yes, I could still see the outline of my fingers, and the laptop behind it at the same time.
“Well, even Superman has his kryptonite,” I told myself, and let out a whistle.