Raph al Guul
About ten years ago, when I was still in highschool, I discovered that I have a surprising ability: by means of concentration, I can make myself go invisible. I am still not sure if that’s something only I can do, or if every human being is capable of this. All I know is that I am able to do it. Some might call it a “super power”. Maybe that’s true. It certainly doesn’t make me a “super hero”, though.
Don’t get me wrong, back then, I obviously thought about becoming some kind of vigilante. I could have learned martial arts and strike from the shadows. My enemies would never have known what hit them – literally. But then I realized that this is the real world, not some stylized comic-book-universe. And I don’t even have enemies.
I could fend off small-time criminals like muggers and robbers – and you know what? I sometimes do. Not by confrontation and brawling, though. I observe and follow them; then I point the cops in the direction of the perp. It’s a much safer kind of crime-fighting than a super hero would practice. And most of the time, I don’t even do that. I use invisibility for more personal, selfish purposes: voyeurism, sneaking into concerts, and leaving boring parties unnoticed.
I lack the motivation for heroism. I don’t have a close relative who was killed by a criminal – I grew up in a functioning family; no psychological baggage, no tragic accident, and no inspiring speech that led me to become “something bigger than myself”. I am not trying to avenge having been wronged in the distant past and I don’t want to make up for a capital mistake I once made. And I don’t crave justice; I can find more interesting things to occupy myself in my spare time. Sure, I have this extraordinary, gimmicky ability – but it takes so much more to become a super hero; ask your nerdy friends.
I’d need a grand scheme, an explanation applicable to all of my potential heroic deeds. But I don’t have that. Even more importantly, I don’t have a nemesis. Every super hero needs one. A natural opposite or the target of my vengeance. Someone who is as determined to destroy me, as I am determined to bring him down. Or her. Let’s not be sexist. What I’m saying is that without a nemesis, there is no point in being a hero equipped with extraordinary powers. Everyone knows that.
With great power comes great responsibility? Uncle Ben, please. Responsibility is a construct every person creates for themselves. It’s individual and it has much more to do with what someone believes to be important, just, and appropriate rather than how much power someone has. I don’t feel responsible at all, and that’s that. Besides, no one knows about my ability, so why should I concern myself with what others think about how I should use it?
I don’t have an alter ego, I don’t wear a mask, and I don’t crown myself a hero. The truth is I am rather boring. Consequently, you don’t know me. You have never seen me and you have never heard of me. There are no comic books and no films about me. I am invisible to you and that’s the way I like it. Fame to the people who feel the need to risk their lives in a grand scheme of heroic pursuit. Glory to the real heroes, be they super or not. The world is fine with not seeing me and I am fine with the world.
Picture courtesy of Unreality Magazine