Superman Story

Name : Superman Joe

Age : 25

Vocation : Construction worker

My Granddad used to talk of those times, the Long Long Ago when being a Superman was a novelty. People stared in wonder and reverence at such a marvel and secretly envied those lucky few. Not anymore. Now EVERYONE is a superman. Earlier, Superman were given only high profile jobs like hunting down criminals, entering into Cinema and being part of decision making politics. Look at me, I’m a construction worker. I use my Superman abilities to efficiently make building, bridges and, sometimes, even a car.

Everyday, we get two hours of Luxurious Recreation to replenish our used resources. It been scientifically proven that, in twenty-four hours, Supermen don’t need more than two hours of rest. So today to Recreate, I hopped over to my friend’s who does not live too far away. I just need to cross the Pacific and I reach his house. We decided to take rest by brooding over a math problem. I got a bit bored and decided to take a look at his collection of books, some of which were collected by his great-great grandfather. An old, dusty, slightly tattered book caught my eye. One particular paragraph caught my eye and I read it aloud to my friend.

“It says here, ‘Supermen are nothing but the Man’s attempt to delve deeper into Existentialism.’ Can you believe that? Here there is some more, ‘The first actual Superman was created by accident when the sperm of a football player and the ova of an armchair critic got accidentally mixed in a test tube containing the ashes of a Bollywood actor. What we got was a superman who had brawns but no brain; one who knew exactly how the world could be changed but can’t get out of the couch; one who could find himself attractive even after wearing a yellow shirt, green trousers and purple shoes. In short, this was a Politician Superman. After years of experiments, scientists were finally able to create the Superman we have today. He is one who has the brains but can’t use them; who has the brawns but wastes it on pseudo-machismo; who is gullible and will prove his independent mind by conforming to a popular ideology. Basically, someone who has the capacity to achieve so much but won’t because he was told not to. Basically, a wimp.’”

We both found it difficult to take rest by solving that math problem. Unrest was simmering in both of us and my friend was the first to speak aloud.

“OK, so how do we now Luxuriously Recreate?”

I gave him the blackest of black looks. A look so black that the Black Hole would have blushed. “How do we what? Is that ALL you care about? This book was demolished all the great thoughts we were fed on. It’s like I find a new me, which unfortunately sucks. We are not the emancipators, the enlightened. We are the wimps, the exploited. Our entire life has been mapped for us before we were born. Don’t we have a choice to decide what we want to be, how we want to be?”

“Choice? We were not given a choice of whether we want to be born or not. How can you expect choice now?”

“I don’t expect. I will demand. I don’t want to spend my entire life making bridges that are perfectly strong and perfectly symmetrical. I want change, I want a certain emancipation, I want perhaps more sensitivity. I want a greater deal of maturity”

“Do you want the Refreshing Liquid? It is a bit warm now though.”

We both sipped beer and brooded some more. About 20% of my brain was wondering why the hell the beer was so warm. The rest of it was concentrating on sulking and looking for change. Suddenly our inbuilt biological Super Alarm Clock let us know that the time was up. It was back to work, how satisfying. It wasn’t. I simply could not get over this. In all probability, I was being used as a political weapon and my personal evolution was being hindered. The concept of Social Equality and Fealty to the State is perhaps just a means to totally ruin a person’s personal life. Who does not know that individuality is detrimental to society and Capitalism? Is it possible to be a little more mature and get over all this, for the sake of (Super) humanity? How can we stop being unthinking robots?

Sick and tired of being just a normal Superman, disgusted with being stuck in this limbo of obliviousness, I raved and ranted to god, dying to be someone different. God heard my sickened cries, came down and pointed towards a slot machine which said CHANGE.

Confused, I asked god for further help. He sighed. “I wish all were omniscient like me”.

I tried my best not to feel stupid. Yes, it’s hard. Together, we strolled over to the machine and god pointed to a slot which said ‘Drop in money to get change’ and looked at me hopefully. “Do you understand now?”

Of course I didn’t. But I couldn’t let him know that, could I? (Although on hindsight I do realize that god, being omniscient, would have known that anyway). Hence basically, not knowing a thing and furthermore not understanding a thing, I took out a Rs. 50 note and dropped it into the slot. Poof! I, Superman Joe, changed into a woman.

A new step in evolution?

Shravya Jain