Friday, December 15, 2006

secret superhero powers

A friend of mine from work (whom I adore and spend a lot of time with) has long believed that everyone has a secret superhero power. One attribute that makes them unique from the others. He notices that secret something, and will arbitrarily share that information with you - and whether you agree or not, that's still your secret superhero power.

Months ago he proclaimed my secret superhero power to be the speed at which I can get in and out of the bathroom. I mean, he's right - I'm quick. I don't dawdle or lipstick or look around. I am in and out and it's done (yes, I wash my hands - I know that's what you were thinking) but to him it's extraordinarily speedy, and has been a source of stupid bemusement to our group of mates. I never knew this sort of thing might be conversational fodder, but homeless hacks are weird like that.

We had a challenging conference call yesterday. Dealing with the feds is never easy, and when you've screwed something up - well, let's just say I'd rather be telling jokes to the dead, only because I am sure they'd muster up more emotion than any of these cats do.

My goal in these sorts of meetings is to take full responsibility while also explaining how bureacratic decisions made by folks who've NEVER SEEN a homeless person are not always, well, RIGHT or SENSIBLE. But I try and do it with a small dose of humor, a larger dose of self-depreciation, and of course, great respect along the way. It's tough when we are having to let them know we've blown it, but for some reason I can't leave it alone and also need to point out how it was a senseless objective in the first place.

And I fantasize in my head about asking the feds to come down from their tower, spend a day working at one of our shelters, and then come back and tell me if what they decided on a hill somewhere really made sense. I already know that answer. But that's a bit too insubordinate, and they've got a division that not only carries weapons, but can actually imprison you.

Not that I haven't daydreamed about being a political prisoner for the right cause, but since I have a kid now I've had to let that one go. Although I did almost get arrested once for contempt of court - I was at court with a client who was extremely mentally ill and they were going to imprison him rather than find decent treatment, and I stood up and spoke harshly to the judge, who asked me if I indeed would like to arrested for contempt. I actually thought it over for a few moments - I mean, what the hell, right, it was bullshit, but in the end I chickened out and apologized and was then asked to leave. I still kind of regret my lack of courage and conviction in that moment. But I digress - so let's get back to the story.

Anyways, somehow I was able to crack the veneer and the Head Fed jumped in and said that he understood what I was saying, that he appreciated my forthrightness, and would actually take our dilemma back to the head wizard and see if there was leeway (there is generally never any leeway). So we ended the call and my team felt rather victorious, which is not a feeling we ever associate with the feds.

At which point my friend turned to me and said that my real secret superhero power was that I communicate in a way that makes folks really want to believe in me. The weight of that is heavier and more complicated than rapid fire bathroom behavior, but for some reason, I like my new secret superhero power better.

So, my lovely sisters and brothers - what is YOUR secret superhero power?

23 comments:

you da mom! said...

i like both of those powers, too. my husband says i have a naturally ability to lie really well, but that's not such a good one! i, too, am quick in the john, but that, too, is rather un-special. i guess my best superpower is to multi-task, but i think every woman has that one.

Anonymous said...

I think mine's the bathroom thing, too...it's amazing how many people take note and comment on it (and I, too, wash my hands).

Congratulations. I think it's amazing that you managed to get that message across and I hope that some good comes of it. The number of times I've thought, "Listen, let's see you do it..."

you da mom! said...

maybe one of my superpowers should be to proof read before i publish comments! yikes!

Anonymous said...

I think that kind of diplomatic ability is important when dealing with folks such as the ones you mention. There is a knack to communicating with them... and if you have it, good on ya!

I don't have a superhero power. Hm. Oddly, I don't need one. However, I'm willing to put issues on the table, even when they are not popular, where others might not be comfortable doing so. (That was a dumb remark. Plenty of people are willing... ) I could use some work in the diplomacy dept. :)


Peace,

~Chani

Anonymous said...

The ability to procrastinate under any circumstance or deadline. That is my superhero power, but it's probably no secret...

Penny said...

Subtle manipu.. ahem.. Persuasion.

I use mine only for good.

I can pee like the bionic woman, as well. The other too. ;)

mrs.incredible said...

My 'secret' super hero power is (well, I have two), the ability to make myself look like an ass, all of the time. And to detect the slightest odor of poo before anyone else can.
Scared, aren't ya?

acumamakiki said...

I would have to agree, you could lead the masses Jen.
I'm sure I could pee faster than all you all....seriously. But that's not my superhero power. I don't think I got superhero mojo unfortunately....or if I do, I haven't tapped into it yet.

Juliness said...

You are to be congratulated, my friend. It is a true miracle to garner the attention of "The Man" in a positive fashion. You ARE changing your world.

I don't know that I have a superhero power...other than to try and rise above the petty BS of everyday life. It's a work in progress though! :-)

Momish said...

I can pack a dishwasher like nobody's business. I once listed that as one of my "assets" during a job interview (in computers). Later, my new boss told me that was the one that impressed him the most and made him hire me. Go figure!

flutter said...

I can take any word, in any language and pronounce it, flawlessly, with the correct accent almost every single time. It freaks my S.O. out...completely.

crazymumma said...

I move really fast if I have to. honestly in half an hour I can clean two bathrooms, put away a dishwasher and make some mac and cheese. Also, the less I take care of my appearance the better I look (smudgy eyes and greasy hair seem to babe me out....)

And I agree with your friend, you do have a compelling voice.

swampwitch said...

I like your power: Queen of Schmooze !
The following is the unedited version of my typing.
RE: yesterday's post..

My spuer pwoer is the aiblity to wlak aorund wtih tow feet in my muoth. Cuold yuo raed it? :)

KC said...

Well, the obvious are the magic lasso and the invisible plane thing.

The secret superpowers? I think they would be an internal GPS system (I always know which way is north), intuitive decision-making, and, people tell me, a smile that wins everyone over.

I think yours is dead on.

sunshine scribe said...

As a huge fan of everything you have to say, I'd agree with the second assessment of your super power (though I've never witnessed your bathroom speed but I suspect its also valid). We do want to believe in you.

I hear you on the feds thing...I dread the conversations with our government funders for all the same reasons. Ug.

And my own super power ... I can speak at warp speed. If you give me 5 minutes to tell you somethiing, I can squeeze in 25 minutes of material in 5.

Anonymous said...

I can pull a "strategic plan" or a "budget" out of a hat for a program I've never even heard of before and everyone goes "ooooh! aaaaah!"

It's so random!

Anonymous said...

That's a great superpower to have; my communication skills could use some work. Ok, a lot of work.

Hmmm. As for me, the only thing I can think of would be my ability to successfully organize 'stuff' - as in finding a place for everything, making things 'fit', even when people think it can't be done. Comes in handy with our frequent moves this past couple of years...

Anonymous said...

I can't think of a better superpower for you to have, Ms. Jen. The Powers that Be certainly bestowed that on the right person!

The only superpower I can think of is making a meal when someone announces "There's nothing to eat!" I can pull a meal together with the sparsest and most humble ingredients.

Anonymous said...

i think my secret superhuman power is charm - which if you knew me would surprise you. i can put on charm if i need to in the weirdest situations. but mostly i am a stroppy cow. i only get the charm out of the bag if its an emergency because it stinks to use it!

Mrs. Chicky said...

The ability to fade into the woodwork rather effectively, but if pressed to put myself into a group I'm very adaptable to almost every situation. It's not really a superpower but more like a coping mechanism.

Anonymous said...

wowo I wonder what my super hero power is....

Anonymous said...

Yours is a great superhero power that many would love to have, including me! I'd also love to have qt's superpower (making a meal out of ahrdly anything in the cupboard!). My power would have to be the photograhpic memory I have for being able to locate things in and around our home. Its a power that's heightened when my husband is the one looking for something - probably becasue he can never find anything (or is he just abusing my power?)

Deezee said...

I was really stumped in trying to think of my super power, so I must thank you for revealing it to me in the comment you posted on my site reminding me about my ability to hear the voices of the inanimate. (Always good to see yourself through someone else's eyes. Thanks.)