This section was my workspace for philosophy essays between July 2006 and April 2008.
I call this "Prehistoric Kilroy" because it gave me practice for more
disciplined essays in Kilroy Cafe.Also see my philophical blog and Twitter feed.
Super Person Saves the Day! (Chapter 1)
By Glenn Campbell
Family Court Philosopher
My main problem right now is Wonder Gal.
She won't stop saying "Or what?" at Child Welfare hearings.
Every time she does, she vaporizes another caseworker.
She gets away with it because members of the Super Team
have "limited liability." This means that if we accidentally
kill someone in the course of saving the world, we can't be
sued or prosecuted for it. This is important because saving the
world is risky business.
Let's say you stop a speeding train that's racing out of
control toward a washed out bridge. By using your
superpowers to prevent the accident, you might be saving the
lives of 200 people but in the process you could also end up
killing one of them. Even though you saved 200 from certain
death, the lawyers are only going to care that one dead
person and his grieving family. Unless there is some sort of
legal protection, which is covered in the Limited Liability
Contract (LLC), then a superhero is going to be tied up in
The trouble with Wonder Gal is that she abuses the LLC
privilege. She often kills people for no good reason—mostly
men but sometimes women who trigger some sort of jealousy
thing in her. She fries them with her super sarcasm, which
is a superpower you don't read about much in the newspapers.
Every time she says "Or what?" at a Child Welfare hearing,
we lose another inattentive state employee.
I'm not saying that some of them don't deserve to go, but
Wonder Gal is indiscriminate. She'll fry anyone who says the
wrong thing, whether or not the world is really being saved
in the process. She spews all sorts of sanctimonious
rhetoric about how she's "saving the children," but what is
her deadly sarcasm really accomplishing? She's creating an
environment where no one wants to work for Child Welfare!
Which is worse, a neglectful caseworker or none at all?
Wonder Gal doesn't understand that in the human world, you
have to make compromises.
I have received so many complaints about Wonder Gal that I
can't sweep the problem under the carpet anymore. She is
threatening the delicate political position of the whole
Super Team. If this goes on, we're going to become Outcasts
again, and I don't think any of us wants that, even Wonder
Each of us on the Super Team has our own unique
superpowers. I, for example, have the ordinary Superman-type
powers: (a) super strength, (b) fly through the air at
supersonic speed, (c) indestructiblity (except in the presence
of Kryptonite), (d) super hearing, and (e) x-ray vision. (I
also have (f) another kind of vision which is harder to
explain and that I will get into later.)
I am seen as your standard, All-American, white-bread
superhero, more emotionally stable than the rest, which
means I am expected to be the leader. What this basically means
is that I have to attend more meetings, give more speeches
and endure more public flack than anybody else. I am also
expected to resolve personnel issues within the team, like the
problem with Wonder Gal. This isn't what I want to be doing,
but it has to be done.
I didn't get into the superhero business to do
administration. I really thought I would be saving people
full time. These days, however, there are forms to fill out
and hearings to attend. Nine times out of ten, you have to
get a person's permission before you save them, and
if you save them without permission, there's probably going to be an
investigation afterwards. Right now, I spend maybe 2% of my time
saving people. The other 98% is spent on bureaucracy,
paperwork, politics, law, diplomacy and personnel issues.
Sometimes, I feel like I'm walking a tightrope that no one
understands but me. We're not Outcasts anymore. We have
more-or-less integrated ourselves with humanity, but there
has been a high price to pay. We may have "powers and
abilities far beyond those of mortal men," but most of the
time we can't use them. Usually, it is just the
threat of our superpowers that gets things done, and,
frankly, it is usually an empty threat.
Every time you exercise your superpowers, there are
complications. Let's say you save 10,000 children from
starvation. What are those children going to do? They are
probably going to grow up and reproduce in a few years and
create twice as many starving children in an environment
that can't even support 10,000. The team has tried to advocate birth
control, but that's a political hornet's nest, especially on
the American side. We're supposed to be promoting
"abstinence before marriage," at least if we expect to
maintain our federal accreditation. Gimme a break!
Most of the time, the easiest thing is not to save anybody
at all, and sadly that's become our default position lately.
I think it has hurt the morale of the whole Super Team. I
mean, I can't even get Atomic Boy to come out of the Test
Site anymore. He'd rather just sit there and fizzle. He can
still blow things up, but it has to be deep enough underground so
there's no fission by-products in the air, pursuant to EPA
regulations. Even then, there's a public outcry if he
rattles the casinos downtown.
Atomic Boy is another one of my personnel problems, but he's
not an active problem like Wonder Gal. Atomic Boy just
isn't going anywhere with his life. He hasn't saved anybody
in years, and he doesn't even want to save himself.
Wonder Gal is my main problem right now because she is
actually killing people, and I'm at a loss for how to deal with
her. For one thing, I don't know what all of her powers are.
She's really cagy about this and likes to keep secrets.
I know that she has the power of invisibility when she
chooses to use it. I have seen it with my own two eyes—or
not seen it, if you know what I mean. Even my x-ray vision
can't detect her when she goes into full cloaking mode, but
I can still hear her slinking around, especially when she
is wearing jewelry. The trouble is, she knows I have super
hearing, so she can make accommodations for it. I, on the
other hand, don't know everything she is capable of.
When Wonder Gal isn't invisible, she's drop-dead gorgeous,
in a cultural norm sort of way. And I mean drop-DEAD
gorgeous. She's like cocaine to the average human male, and
many of them, quite literally, will walk off cliffs for her.
She leads them to believe that they'll get more of her
attention if they do such-and-such a daring act, and most
poor saps will do it or die trying. That's part of my
personnel problem: She's wasting men. She points out
craftily that she hasn't actually lied to anyone and has never
forced any man to walk off a cliff for her. They all
do it on their own. I say, "Yeah, but you're a superhero!
You've got responsibilities above and beyond what you can
get away with. It's not their fault that you're the perfect
genetic specimen. If you've got invisibility, you should
use it more often."
She just laughs at me seductively and bats her eyelashes in
a frivolous way that, fortunately, I am almost entirely
immune to. Wonder Gal's feminine wiles have no effect on
me. Or at least very little effect. Okay, I admit that
we've had our trysts in the past, but that's just a matter
of happenstance. If you are a superhero of the male gender
and there's only one available super woman on the whole
planet, you're bound to get together. It's like being
stranded on a desert island with her.
But this hasn't clouded my vision any. I know she
is a killer, and if I have to banish her, I will.