Archive for November 18th, 2010


X-People

on November 18, 2010 in Misc 6 Comments »

Here’s a thrilling possibility:  X-Men are real.

X-Women are real too, but they get lumped under X-Men in the movies and I guess in the comic books too, which I’ve never read.  (When I googled this I got, “X Woman: not human, not Neanderthal, what is she?”  Apparently she’s a mysterious ancient hominid of the paleontology persuasion.)

The point is some people seem to be born with a genetic mutation that gives them a remarkable ability.  They don’t fly or sprout steel claws through their fists, but they can easily withstand jolts of electricity that would kill anyone else, or mentally solve mathematical problems faster than a calculator, or zip up the side of a building like Spiderman, or run nonstop for 80 miles.

Obviously, I am not one of these people.

In my last blog entry I mentioned that so-called “superhumans” have taught me about my own body’s limitations.  Some of these people are profiled on the History Channel’s show, “Stan Lee’s Superhuman” (he created the X-Men).  Lee and his co-host, a freakishly limber contortionist, investigate so-called superhumans and submit a few of them to scientific tests.  Guess what the scientists often find?  That there’s something weirdly DIFFERENT about a particular organ in a superhuman, or sections of his brain work in an unusual way, or a body’s chemical makeup has an inexplicable anomaly. 

Take the super-runner.  He can be in 50 marathons in 50 days and then run home while chatting about inspiration and discipline (which I find annoying and pompous).  In lab tests scientists discovered how his body, when it runs, does something they’d never seen before: not only does it produce much lower levels of a chemical that causes fatigue in normal people, it DECREASES in his bloodstream. 

I can’t tell you how happy those stumped scientists made me.  “THIS IS WHY I CAN’T RUN DISTANCE!”  I cried at my TV.  “MY BODY PRODUCES THAT CHEMICAL BY THE BUCKET-FULL.”  Granted, I don’t like to run and don’t do it much, but the scientific FACT remains that chemically I will never be a super runner.  Like I care.

But you know, most of us still wish we’d been born with some remarkable ability.  I’ve already written about how I wish I had a great talent for languages.  When it comes to gifts common to action heroes, however, I really have only one.

Tell you about it next time.  Until then, please wait with bated breath.