So you are driving three small boys to the library. Your older son brings up a topic that he’s apparently been obsessing about: cartoon skills. As in, “If you could choose any cartoon skill, what would it be?”
Thrilled to be part of the conversation for a change, you hastily blurt out, “Drawing! My skill is cartoon drawing!”
Confused, your older son queries, “What are you talking about, Mom?”
“What are you talking about?” you throw right back at him.
“Drawing is not a cartoon skill!”
Just then, your younger son’s friend (who obviously understands what cartoon skills are) says, “My skill would be being invisible.”
Older son likes this answer. “Yes, that’s what I meant,” he confirms, “something like that.”
Younger son does not want to be left out: “I would like to fly.”
Even though it has taken longer than you are actually proud to admit, you now “get” the concept of cartoon skills too. You innocently ask, “May I choose more than one?”
Older son considers this request. “Yes.”
Now you will earn back their respect. “I would choose to fly AND I would choose to not be hurt in any way after being shot at or falling off the top of a building.”
You hear a small wave of murmured approval. “Oh, good one.” This is not a skill they saw coming.
Older son offers his perfect cocktail of cartoon skills: “I would be able to fly AND shoot fire or ice out of my hands.”
Your younger son definitely likes this novel idea. “I want to shoot fire and ice out of my hands!” he mimics excitedly.
Now the friend decides to amend his previously supplied skill. “Actually, my power would be ezaporation.” He smiles in your rearview mirror, pleased with his new improved answer.
Your older son scoffs. “There is no such thing as ezaporation! That isn’t even a word!”
“Of course there is,” corrects the friend, “it is like evaporation, but instead of water rising up, I can ZAP people up! and they won’t even know it’s me who did it!”
You sense a future criminal in your midst.
Your mind wanders and you conjure up all sorts of fabulous cartoon skills: being invisible, flying, time traveling … maybe there could be a practical twist on these powers? How about an “I Dream of Jeannie” version: blink, and the laundry is done! blink, and your hair is done and your outfit is new! blink, and you are in Tahiti!
You laugh out loud at the idea, and then you realize: Spiderman’s got nothing on Barbara Eden.
("Meet Original Virgo")