Thu, Aug

Cornered By Superheroes

ALPERN AT LARGE - They’re coming for me.

I don’t want to sound paranoid, but they’re coming for me.  Try as I might to shield myself in my home office, enshrouded in the light emanating from my computer screen, adrift amidst the eclectic and crisscrossing music of Oingo Boingo that blares out of my stereo speakers, the superheroes with whom I live are coming for me.

Never mind Thor, Green Lantern and Captain America…because I live with some REAL superheroes, and they’re coming for me.  How do I know this?  Well, for starters, my three year-old daughter—the superhero I know as The Cuddle Monster—is charging into my home office screaming, “I’m coming for you, Daddy!” and “The music’s too loud!”

The Cuddle Monster is not one to be trifled with—hers is the power to bend the collective will of all adults to fulfill her wants and needs with her superhuman voice, charm, beauty and that special secret power known as “cuteness”.

There is one who is immune to her powers, though—the superhero known as The Negotiator, who leads a secret life under the guise of the ten year-old mild-mannered boy who is my son.  Except when he’s not mild-mannered.  And when he’s downright brazen.  

The Negotiator has the remarkable power of “brinksmanship” in that he’s wont to positioning himself a spider’s thread away from weaving the web of his own destruction by trying his parents’ patience to the breaking point…yet amazingly he’s able through his eloquence, rhetoric and humor to distance himself from his self-imposed mortal peril at the last second.

The Cuddle Monster’s powers, for some reason, have no effect on The Negotiator, who delights in thwarting and vexing and annoying The Cuddle Monster until she unleashes her most secret weapon:  her Sonic Scream.  Perhaps our home’s windows are made of stronger stuff than most glass, but it eludes me how they’ve not yet shattered in response to her dreaded Sonic Scream.

And it is that Sonic Scream which jars me from the crushing load of e-mail, written and other “to-do’s” that (at least until a few seconds ago) heretofore dominated and oppressed my stream of consciousness.

And it is that Sonic Scream that prompts the arrival of the superhero I most fear:  Glare Girl.

Glare Girl, otherwise known as The Love of My Life…or as The Presser of My Buttons…with but a single fearsome and wordless stare jettisons me out of my chair (after turning down the Oingo Boingo) and into the bedrooms of The Negotiator and The Cuddle Monster, where I am forced assist her in leading those two in the ritual of Going To Bed.  

And then I slip away… into a full-scale retreat from the superheroes and back into my office…back into the domain of the ordinary, and of the computer work, and of the neighborhood council and job-related e-mails and reports.

It is but moments later that I hear the terrifying Sonic Scream yet again, heralding the carnage that must again be recurring in the world of the superheroes, and from the sounds of the dispute between Glare Girl and The Negotiator it is evident that the latter is illustrating his superpowers in full glory, evading death by a hairsbreadth at the hands of Glare Girl.

Unfortunately, my own superpowers remain limited to that of acid reflux and male-pattern hair loss, and I have no ability to counter the uncanny and unearthly powers of those superheroes I live with.

But I do have my office door closed, and although I am presumably out of harm’s way and “busy doing work”, I know that I am vulnerable to the evident battle that must be going on between The Cuddle Monster and The Negotiator over…something (does it matter?).  And I do the only thing I possibly can to protect myself from the melee going on down the hall:

I crank up the Oingo Boingo louder than ever, hoping against hope that the windswept dance music from the ‘80’s can protect me from the battered and bleak landscape of my modern existence.

Nevertheless, I cannot escape, for Glare Girl has her own sort of Sonic Scream, which perhaps could better be phrased as a Reverberating Roar, and somewhere amidst the cacophony of sounds and music I hear that terrible word…which is my name…calling me to “help her out” and “be a parent” and “get off the damn computer, for God’s sake”, or something like that.

And as the mental images of Glare Girl murdering me in my sleep (or just maiming me with a timely shove down the stairs) fill my thoughts, I think of “The A-Team”, the long line of Type-A parents and other relatives who have trained me for this very moment, and who have instilled me with a Type-A personality that should have prepared me for these awesome superheroes.

The A-Team never seemed to have problems laying down the law, and never seemed to blanch or wither at the sight or sound of superheroes such as these, and I am left wondering why I feel so cornered by the amazing powers of Glare Girl, The Negotiator and The Cuddle Monster.

After all, I come from a long line of superheroes.

(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently co-chairs its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee.  He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected]    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)   -cw

Tags: superheroes, Oingo Boingo, Thor, Green Lantern, Captain America, Cuddle Monster

Vol 9 Issue 56
Pub: July 15, 2011