We'd been waiting for lunch too long last weekend in Santa Cruz, when my sister abruptly got up from the table and announced that she'd make sure we got fed, pronto.
"Are you going to attack the waitress?" I asked, mildly concerned.
"No. I'm going to the restroom. When I do that, food always shows up -- it's my superpower."
She was gone for maybe a minute when, lo and behold, two servers swooped in with enough grub to stuff a small planet. A few moments later, Superwoman returned wearing a satisfied smile.
"See? I told you -- my superpower."
I was so impressed that I started asking other people at the table what they thought their everyday superpower was. We don't fly or have super strength, though I'm pretty sure I leapt over a tall pigeon in a single bound one time. But the more we talked, the more convinced I became that we all have something about us that most other people don't -- an everyday superpower.
My wife, for example, has the remarkable ability to make others calm. Police departments should pay her to walk around during riots. Everyone would take a deep breath, sit down and quietly exchange slow cooker recipes.
My 10-year-old stepdaughter has a way with animals. I know she talks to them, but I'm pretty sure I've heard them talk back. If horses could shoot guns, this kid would have the world right where she wanted it.
My 4-year-old's superpower is the ability to giddy someone to death.
I'm not sure about the other 10-year-old. She may have multiple powers, like a female Kal-El. Right now, her superpower seems to be delegation. The kid loves to delegate. By that, I mean tell her sisters what to do.
I threw the question out to folks on Facebook (facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks) and got a lot of feedback. Apparently, having an everyday superpower is something a lot of people believe they have. My favorite was an old high school friend who said her superpower is the ability never to lose anything. Whatever she loses always shows up again, including, unfortunately for her, the occasional man.
Another said she has the ability to return anything to a department store. That is especially impressive if it's torn and/or on fire. Another said he always finds parking in San Francisco, which I don't believe. Superman flying through the sun and going back in time and stopping nuclear missiles is one thing ... but, really. C'mon.
Multiple people said they have uncanny powers of slowing down traffic and supermarket lines. Others can make children disappear by merely grabbing a vacuum, mop or lawn mower. One guy becomes invisible when his daughter has friends over.
I still haven't figured out my own everyday superpower (boring people to death with one's writing doesn't count). I'm incredibly adept at resting. I'm convinced no one can avoid a gym like me. And when it comes to losing one's train of thought, I'm ...
But none of those is up there with conjuring waitresses and parking spots. I'll keep searching. In the meantime, I'm going to buy a cape. If it doesn't work out, I know someone who can return it for me.