Super Persons Anonymous by Kevin Haggerty


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Super Persons Anonymous

by Kevin Haggerty

Good evening everyone and welcome to the Saturday night meeting of Super Persons Anonymous, “Heroes and Villains Healing Together”, my name is Clark K. and I’m a recovering super person.

(Hi, Clark.)

They asked me to chair the meeting tonight, but before I get into my story (which I know most of you are probably sick of hearing by now), I wanted to read a passage from the Big Book of Bruce W. This is from the chapter “Taking Off the Mask One Day at a Time.”

Wow. I was so wrapped up in that shit. You know, “truth, justice and the American way,” while the whole time I was lying to everybody I knew. It amazes me now that I never saw the hypocrisy in all that. I remember the first time I threw a bus. There was this alien… thing, I mean, person with tentacles and beams shooting out of his or her eyes, and he or she was obviously in crisis, very emotional, tearing down power lines and destroying property. This person, whose name I never even thought to discover (I think the papers simply called him or her “Monster X”) was easily taking everything I could dish out up to that point and without thinking I lifted a parked bus and hurled it.

It wasn’t until years later, after I’d been out of the lifestyle, coming to these meetings for about a year, when I was looking up old newspaper articles in the library and I found out that the driver of the bus had died that day. His body was found in the bus wreckage, it had been his lunch hour and he had been taking a nap in the back seat.

Musta been a pretty sound sleeper.

The papers blamed his death on the alien person. Of course. The only thing more powerful than the denial of us super heroes is the denial of the media that chronicles our exploits. The papers always make it sound like all I ever did was show up and give my enemies some tough talk, maybe roughed ‘em up a little bit before they surrendered. I wonder sometimes if the papers really loved and believed in me so much, or if they were just scared out of their minds. The paper noted that the bus driver had no surviving relatives, that he was childless and his parents were both dead. You know, it was like, this could have been me. Only now he was dead. Because of me.

Well, I started researching everything at that point. I was obsessed with exposing what Bruce calls the “inner villain,” looking for evidence of all my unacknowledged victims over the years.

I know we’ve all been there.

Anyway, having exhausted all the terrestrial libraries and news gathering agencies, I started moving out of the solar system into the larger galaxy and that’s when I found out the truth about my origin. As you know, Bruce in the Big Book puts a lot of emphasis on the so-called “origin” as the defining moment of our disease. The origin is the central trauma in the life of a super person that forever cuts us off from our ordinary humanity and with it, any hope of a normal existence. Our sense of self is so devastated by this trauma—whether it’s a bite from a radioactive animal, a freak bombardment of cosmic rays, or the double homicide of our parents as we look on helplessly—that we reconceive ourselves as the embodiment of the trauma. We even tend to rename ourselves after this force or creature that stole our lives from us—talk about becoming the disease. I never identified very strongly with that part of the program, though. Granted I’d lost both my parents, but it was, as far as I knew, a natural disaster and granted that natural disaster meant the destruction of my entire planet, but somehow it didn’t seem to add up to a self-destroying origin. I don’t mean to minimize my pain but seriously, plenty of refugees before me had lost their families and their way of life without becoming vengeful megalomaniacs. It just didn’t add up to me. You know, and my adoptive parents were so kind and my adoptive world so beautiful and green, as far as I could see I was one of the lucky ones.

Oh man. This next part of my story is still so hard to get into, even after all these years of sharing my story in these rooms. Turns out I had my origin all right. I found where the rage comes from.

I was down in the basement of some hall of records on I don’t know, Rygel 4, pouring over microfiche when I read an article that referred to my home planet. What was weird was that the article postdated the disaster. I just dismissed it as a typo, but deep down something shifted inside me and I knew. I kept finding references to my home world all over that part of the galaxy, until it was obvious even to me that my home world had survived somehow. The news of my planet’s continued existence never made me happy though. It still doesn’t make me happy.

The next thing I remember was hurtling towards my home planet so fast I got there a week before I set out. The disaster had never even happened—no earthquake, no typhoons, no cataclysm of any kind.

Even though they changed their names and moved, I found them easy enough. They’d moved out of our old house and were living in a crappy little apartment downtown. I’ll never forget seeing my dad’s face when he answered the door. He looked so old. His hair had gone completely white. We just stared at each other. Then he looked down, glancing around the hall as if he’d seen a rat or something. When he looked up again he said in this creepy little voice that I almost couldn’t recognize, “Can I help you?”

Dad, it’s me, it’s Kal.

“We don’t know anyone by that name.”

It’s me, Dad! I’m your son.

Back in the house my mom says, “Who is it at the door, Dear?”

Then my dad shoots back still looking at me, “Never mind, Doreen, I’m handling it. Just stay there.”

Doreen? Dad, what’s going on? I’m your son, what are you doing?

“You have mistaken me with someone else.”

You’re Jar-El, you’re my father and that’s my mother Lara in the apartment. Mother! It’s me, Kal, it’s your son! And with that my father slammed the door. I was absolutely stunned. I could have been through that door and crushed my father’s head between my thumb and forefinger as easy as breathing, I could have incinerated their apartment with a blink of my eyes, I could have torn the whole building from its foundations and tossed it into the sea but I couldn’t move. I just stood staring helplessly at my father’s door until he opened it again. I could hear my mother quietly sobbing in the room behind him as my father looked up at me and said, “If you don’t leave right now, I’m calling the police.” I couldn’t believe how cold he was being. But all of a sudden I think I saw my father clearly for the first time in my life. Hands shaking, mouth dry, eyes wide, standing on the balls of his feet, he was scared—terrified really, of me. And I realized that that was why they had abandoned me in the first place. They had been afraid of me. They were afraid of my. My power. But they were completely ignorant of their own. This frightened little old man and his weeping wife had trumped every bug-eyed monster and mad scientist that ever tried to take me down.

Oh my god. The truth had been staring me in the face the whole time. For those of you that don’t know, back in my acting out days I suffered from a very peculiar weakness: a single piece of rock from my supposedly extinct planet could rob me of all my powers, leaving me in a semi-catatonic state, helpless. Scientists from seventy different worlds have given me thirty bullshit explanations apiece for why this happened but I knew the truth now. Every time I came into contact with any fragment of my home planet some part of me knew the secret truth it harbored. It cut right through my denial like gamma rays through silk. “We’re still here,” it would say. “Nobody died,” it would say. “Everything is just as it was, except we got rid of you.”

I used to feel real sorry for Bruce, you know, losing his parents like he did, watching his father’s helpless body fall, seeing the face of his dead mother, the gunman cackling as he disappearing into the night. I couldn’t imagine anything worse. But now I think, Bruce, at least you can believe that your parents were kind. At least your parents are truly dead, and not just dead to you.

Yeah, I know. Not a lot of “experience, strength and hope” to offer. But I have this. I wear it everywhere I go now as a reminder to always live in my truth. And I hardly suffer any ill effects from it at all anymore. At least not most days.

Thanks for listening.

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