November 18, 2013

Illustration courtesy the truly awesome Bandra Girl! :)

It's no wonder he seeks out Lex Luthor every chance he gets, this Super (last name, Man). Everyone else thinks it's because he wants to be a hero-very-badly and perhaps a little bit of it is. I'm sure rescuing people from burning buildings, preventing meteors from descending to this world and generally preventing the onset from global apocalypse are worthy byproducts of everything Super does. And the thing is, it's not like he doesn't like feeling useful. Frankly, it chuffs his ego, and every now and again he does allow himself an indulgent pat-on-the-back for a job well done. But the truth (which is a super-secret) is that that's not why Super seeks out Mr. Luthor.

Instead, he has a funny-selfish-reason to do so. Truth is, Super craves the Kryptonite. What? Say you. How is that possible? Isn't Kryptonite the substance that makes Super, not-so-Super? Isn't it the element that could cause him to chemically self-destruct? It's that the weapon that our-good-friend-Lex always keeps up his sleeve to facilitate the ready (and inevitable) escape? Yes, it most certainly is.

The thing about people - you and I included - is that we are perverse creatures. Just because something makes us hurt doesn't prevent us from wanting it with every fiber of our being. They say, of children when they teach child-psychology is that if you want your child not to seek out the fire, have him/her experience what its like to be burned. The memory of that pain will be enough to have said child running in the opposite direction every time they see a flame. Good text-book philosophy, that. And maybe it works on most children. But Super and I, we're a different breed, I think. I can't say about Mr. Man (because that may be presumptuous) but every time I see fire, I find myself more fascinated than afraid. Like the fatal draw of a tempestuous ocean, the crackling majesty of a multicolored flame is as attractive to me as it is to not-too-intelligent-moth-species. And while I know exactly what it feels like to be burned I also long to feel some of that glorious heat, particularly when some part of me is just-so-awfully-cold. And that is why I sit a little-too-close to bonfires. And run my fingers through a candle-flame and let my skin singe-just-a-little-bit with running wax just before it cools.

But enough about me. Let's talk about Super (as is the point of this post), and his shameful secret that I understand only by virtue of being a member of the Super-Fraternity (or is it Sorority, or Frasority perhaps?)

Far from hating the substance that debilitates his abilities, Super has a deep, undying love for it. I know what you are thinking. You are remembering all the many scenes that you and I have seen where Super finds himself crippled and writhing in agony, helpless to help the masses because of one tiny crystal that seeks to destroy his soul. You remember those moments of Superhuman bravery when Super finally removes the devastating element from his person, throws it far-far away, regains his prowess and moves on to heroically save the day. But have you ever thought what goes on in Super's head when he finally finds himself in Kryptonite embrace? Have you ever thought to consider the pleasure-pain that he might be in where he longs to make this sweet-torture go on even as he screams to have it stop? Have you ever thought that more than anything else in this universe Kryptonite is what Super craves?

Because, my loves, the truth is that no matter how Super, Super may be he is at the end of the day one of us. And as creatures of perversity, Super and I (and you, perhaps) know that at the end of the day we are willing to bear pain. And we are willing to suffer. And we are willing to fight demons. And we are willing to give up our souls. For the simple, timeless, absolute pleasure of finally being able to let down our defenses, and - for a short, miserable but infinitely fulfilling time - feel utterly, and completely, oh-so-excitingly human.

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