The Acquisition of New Dad Stupid Powers

wooden baby rattleIn college, Fred Van Lente played a game with his friends called “Stupid Powers,” in which each of them had just such a useless magical ability. They could, however, deploy these at will for whatever they were worth, making the concept a kind of junior varsity version of the X-Men. Maybe not all magical powers have ambitions for greatness. Who are we to judge them?

Stealing the basic concept from Fred, I wrote a novel called SuperQueers that I’ve since put on the back burner, not quite trunking it. I need to be happier with how I’ve executed the story before I’ll query it—even the unpublished have their standards. But I do love the stupid powers in that book, and I’m always on the lookout for new ones to acquire because one never knows what it will take to save the world, when the time comes. Why couldn’t it come down to the ability to know how to swear in extra-terrestrial languages?

My ongoing watch for the stupid yet powerful has yielded a few gems since Emile was born 9 days ago. These include:

  • Able to place eye directly in path of baby urine stream, no matter where in the room dad and baby are located.
  • Able to dress baby with one hand, in the dark, as long as inside-out clothing is not grounds for disqualification of stupid power (See: locality restrictions).
  • Able to sooth screaming baby with medley of poorly remembered show tunes from childhood, creating a new genre of crossover musical numbers that span generations, songwriters, and moral messages. (Note: Could potentially serve as new hymnal for not-yet-invented religion; See: L. Ron Hubbard.)
  • Able to make spouse swoon with love, esp. when delivering a pastry treat or removing a screaming baby (See: previous item).
Hey, these are no small feats. They have been earned with my own efforts to gain some kind of capacity for infant care, and glean meaning out of that process. There’s no telling if some alien invasion could be swiftly ended by my ability to get my son to cry or stop crying, and think of all the good I could do in the world with a religion based on Guys & Dolls, Oliver!, and Carousel. Perhaps we could all use a bit more Broadway in our lives, am I right?

I don’t wonder what week 2 will bring, mostly because I’m just trying to get through each moment as they crash over me, but also because all of these little foot kicks, spontaneous gurgling, and arm gestures are so amusing in and of themselves, I’m enjoying it all as it happens.

Even if I don’t save the world with this stuff, I’m excited to be a superhero for my wee one, and however long this lasts is fine by me.


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7 Comments on “The Acquisition of New Dad Stupid Powers”

  1. September 16, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    congrats on the baby and the super powers!!

    • evmaroon
      September 16, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      Thanks so much! We’re having a blast getting to know each other.

  2. September 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Ah yes I have many powers too. I have the ability to get at the end of a horrendously long line and never have anyone get behind me. I also can make almost any school age child so nervous with all my sarcasm that they will shut up completely and just make big eyes. To their parents and myself this is fun and I have been thinking of offering myself for hire in those situations when a parent is looking for some peace and quiet.

  3. September 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    lol okay I noticed the “W” for wordpress on the blog but for a second thought oh I wonder if he added that because he is in Walla Walla now.

    • evmaroon
      September 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      Ha, it’s just a little coincidence, Ellen. I love when Emile makes big eyes, too. And gives me his looks of suspicion…

  4. John Ross Barnes
    September 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    Earth’s Galactic Bad juju sheild is about to be disabled by a alien baby urine stream and only your super power can intervene. That IS a great super power! I know I’ll sleep better. Happy Fatherness!

    • evmaroon
      September 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

      Exactly, you’ve got it! I am ready to rescue our neck of the Milky Way, I promise!

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