Earl-derived super powers

Published 9:32 am Friday, September 3, 2010

In light of the potential power outages and possible periods of life without electronic entertainment, I feel I should share my experience during an extended period of hardship as a result of losing power.

It was 2003 and Hurricane Isabel had ripped the town of Como, N.C., a brand new one, which happened to be where I was living at the time. It was somewhere around midday when my family’s house lost power. And since Como is nowhere near the bustling metropolis or vital lifeline to international commerce that it sounds like, my family and I knew we’d be in for the long wait for getting our lights restored.

Knowing that, though, a funny thing happened in my family. We started talking to each other. We laughed. We joked. We played card games. And we truly reconnected with one another … That covered about forty-five minutes. We were all caught up, and I realized that the only reason I hadn’t attempted to smother any of my siblings in the past was that “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” came on every day to distract me long enough to once again find them bearable (love you guys).

And my mother — may she rest in peace — was seen on several occasions looking over at the kitchen cutlery in a way that suggested that one of us might end up in a stew to be cooked on an open flame in the yard.

But in all seriousness, we were all getting a little bored with one another as the hours turned into days and the days turned into over a week without electricity. We all started getting into our own spaces.

I started picking up books to read initially as a sad attempt to avoid conversation with my family. But I started to enjoy it. I also started drawing by candlelight to entertain myself at night.

Before long, a weird thing happened to me. I started to feel excessively smart. I could remember things. And when I looked for my car keys and knew exactly where they were, I thought the storm had propelled me beyond smart and given me super powers.

Sadly, after many, many Internet ‘Am I a superhero’ tests, it turns out I was just a couch potato forced to use his brain for the first time in a long time.

And when that glorious phone call came to me from my family’s house telling me that some nice volunteers from Florida had finally restored our power after nine days — that and my mom telling me she’d proposed marriage to every worker who helped out — I was overjoyed to go to the video store and rent every movie I could carry.

For some reason, I was thrilled to see an end to my superhero days and drift sadly back into blissful sleep of the couch potato.

If the power goes out, grab a book and see what your brain can do. You may just be a superhero, or at least a little smarter.