ISSUE 86

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 We are a group of realistic superheroes: Khakis-And-Polo Man, Breaking-Racial-And-Sexist-Barriers Woman, Single Mom, the guy who can fix that leak in the bathroom faucet, and Spiderman, the person you call when a spider is larger than your courage to smoosh it.
 We’re the non-threatening man or woman who stops your kid from chewing on a lamp cord, and it’s like, Thank you, kind stranger. No need to thank us. With a couple of kids of our own and a basic knowledge of electrical systems, we knew it was the right thing to do. 
 Yeah, we’re a little tubby, per the American average. We don’t wear spandex superhero suits or capes. We pull on Mom jeans, regardless of our gender, and get to work on that stain in the carpet. No time for fashion. No time for a slim fit. We need comfort and utility, and if we spill something on these pants, it’s okay because we’ve had them for fifteen years.
 Some superheroes fly. We take public transportation because yeah, we care about the environment. If you have an emergency, we’ll be there in thirty to forty minutes depending on traffic and whether a homeless guy has to be kicked off the bus. 
 When we drive, we drive a beater with over two hundred thousand miles on it, and we take the slow lane all the way, coasting at a cool five miles-per-hour below the speed limit. Yielding to pedestrians is so ingrained we do it even if there isn’t a yield sign. We pay attention to the person who stands on a street corner with a wavering look that says, “I may meander out into this road like a cow.” It’s okay. He’s probably not from here. And we’ll stop to give him directions—because tourists from Ohio are people too.  
 We’re full of wise sayings we came up with after years of dealing with difficult lawnmowers, children, busted-out knees, and the government. We give you helpful advice like, “The best cure is prevention,” “Those colors don’t go together,” and “Before you decide to refinance, be sure the mortgage company fees don’t outweigh the benefits of a lower interest rate.” No one really knows what we’re talking about eighty percent of the time. Just remember that sometimes we’ll take you out for ice cream.  
 We fight the true enemies in society—obesity, cancer, and heart disease. Our super strength is in convenient information booths, non-judgmental conversations, and pamphlets we give to people who are perfect examples of why Americans move to Canada. But we’re nice about it. We don’t force you to change, unless it’s getting bad, then we might.
 Our powers of concentration are legendary, which means we research our city council members and whether increasing property taxes makes sense in the long run. We file lawsuits against companies, ones that take years, are difficult to understand, and ninety-nine percent of people prioritize less than cleaning their ears.
 The goals of these suits are important, maybe it’s setting aside land for the southwestern willow flycatcher or creating more funding for public education. It’s because of us children aren’t learning biology from a Hasbro Operation game or worrying that tuberculosis will kill their parents.
 Integrating machine and human gives some superheroes that extra pep, and we understand that completely. Most parts of our body have been ripped out by a licensed surgeon and replaced with something plastic or metal. And we wouldn’t think about going out without our knee brace—because after three surgeries, six months of physical therapy, and the genetics of a flamingo caught in wind turbine, that’s what you do.
 We have found that with great power comes great responsibility—and a lot of meetings. Understand that true power is less throwing someone through a wall and more getting a four-year-old to eat her broccoli. It’s not shrugging off bullet wounds. It’s dying from bullet wounds and getting our grandkids through college with the life insurance policy.   
 We don’t wear masks, and we have a name you never ask how to spell, like Frank or Susan. And even when we die, we live on because you know us. Our scope may not be as wide as Superman or the X-Men but that doesn’t really matter. We’re right next door. And we’re here to help.
   
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