Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Why do all these comic book characters want a "normal" life? When I look at their powers I think to myself, "Man, if I had *any* power, I would specialize the hell out of it." If all I could do was make purple dots appear on walls, I would practice till I could play purple movies on a big screen. Forget that boring "normal" life! Never mind what I would do with really interesting powers like Spider-Man's. But then I see stories like Team Hoyt and realize that everyone has superpowers, but they also choose a "normal" life. So what am I doing to take advantage of my powers?

One of my biggest achievements is last year's AIDS/Lifecycle ride. When I tell people that I biked from San Francisco to LA they look at me in surprise, wondering if such a thing is possible. The thing that made it super for me, though, was the amount of money raised for the SF AIDS foundation. I've talked to people that this foundation has literally saved from death. The question "If you had the power to save people's lives, would you do it?" isn't hypothetical for most people, including me. That's why I'm starting to practice and improve my bicycling skills: I want to do more this year.

Just having extra money would probably be considered a superpower by over 1.1 billion people living on a couple dollars a day. Many people don't have money to just give away, but there are places such as Kiva that you let your spare money do a lot of good. (I'm not a financial adviser, or even know what the word financial means, so as always be careful where you put your money). Kiva lets you give out loans to folks in or bordering on poverty. Unlike giving money to one of your buddies, you can be sure that your loan will be going to something useful ;) Like your buddies, you can bet that it'll be returned so you can use that money on yourself afterwards.

The fact is, just like superheroes, most people don't really want to use their powers; they just want a normal life. Unlike the worlds in comic books and TV, though, everyone has powers here. You don't need super-strength if there are no super-monsters. We do need normal compassion when people are dying from "normal" hunger. That means everyone can live a normal life while achieving the same things as your favorite super-team. Even Wolverine likes his beer at a local bar, so using your powers doesn't require giving up everything you love. So let's make "normal" super, and have fun with the powers we've got.

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