Sunday, August 22, 2010

I am Real Superman

Hello, I am Real Superman. I hail from the planet Krypton which, you may have heard, blew up in my infancy. There's a lot more to it than that but let's long-story-short it and just say I travelled through space from my planet to your planet, Earth, and made it my new home. I'm sure you've heard many fascinating things about me and all the things I can do. I've heard the same stories: X-ray vision, incredible strength, virtual invincibility and, of course, the ability to fly. Well, sit down, we've got a lot to cover.

See, here's the thing everyone latches onto: My planet had a red star for its sun, like that's what explains everything. According to this line of reasoning the gravity on my home world of Krypton was much stronger than it is here on Earth, right? Well, yes, it was, but not necessarily because of the star. Actually, the strength of an object's gravitational pull depends on various factors but mainly on the size and core density of the planet itself. Lots of factors going into play here but basically, due to it's size, the gravity on Krypton was, in fact, a hell of a lot stronger than it is here on Earth. If you travelled to Krypton, set your ship down and headed outside for a stroll, you'd be crushed like a bathysphere with a cracked window at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Really, you'd die in, like, a tenth of a second. So when I came here the difference in gravitational pressure was startling. And dangerous. Like if you went to the moon and you're all, "Weeee, look at me, I'm hopping 20 feet in the air because the gravity here is only 1/7 what it is on Earth." But then you know what happens? Your muscle mass starts to atrophy immediately. After only a few weeks your bones become brittle and have trouble supporting your body weight in an Earth-like gravitational environment. Fun! Yep, in no time flat you're just as "strong" or "fast" as any other moon resident, if there are any.

That's what would have happened to me, except the gravity was so much stronger on Krypton that my bones started to expand upon my Earthly arrival as did the organs in my body. It's like taking an organism from a couple of miles down in the ocean and popping it up to the surface. To cope with the massive deep sea pressures its body is designed to equalize those pressures around it. Take away the pressure and the reaction is often explosive. Without the massive pressure of the Krypton environment bearing down on me, my organs began to expand but fortunately stopped just short of exploding. My eyes bulge almost completely out of my head giving me a rather gruesome appearance and my body appears bloated and abnormally swollen. It wouldn't be so bad if I also weren't incredibly weak and fatigued every waking moment of every day. Allow me to explain.

My body is being constantly assaulted by sunlight due to the drastic difference in our suns. Animal species evolve according to particular environmental conditions and the light source received from the home star is vital in that development. Krypton's red star places it in the Class M category (as opposed to your Class G sun) which produces much less luminosity meaning that here, I'm in danger of severe burning and skin cancer every time I spend more than two minutes outside. Even inside, the residual light is often too much. Either way, it saps every ounce of energy I have. One of these days I've got to move to Barrow.

Then there's my diet. My requirements simply aren't met by the vegetables and animal products on this planet which my digestive system is still getting used to. Add to that the fact that my colon is in such a warped state thanks to the previously discussed gravity/pressure problem and painful bowel movements, cramping and round the clock vomiting have become the order of the day, every day.

Speaking of vomiting, let's not forget viruses. I contracted at least three or four whoppers in my first six months on the planet, one of which damn near killed me. Again, the low luminosity of a red class M star produces a much different climatological environment, allowing for much less bacterial and viral life. But here on earth, with a nice yellow, main sequence, class G star? Holy shit! Hell, the flora alone on this planet is out of control compared to the icy world of Krypton! With that much life, water and abundance of warm, temperate climates there's probably more bacterial and viral life in a square inch here than on my entire goddamn home world. As such, my immune system is not only unprepared but practically worthless. Basically, if you sneeze anywhere near me my chances of dying in the next three days increase by around 48 percent. Joy! Even if I could walk without fear of breaking all my bones I probably still wouldn't go outside. Really, why risk it?

But of course I don't have to walk because I can fly, right? Bwahahahahaaaaaa!!! Oh man, good one! Yeah, really, I mean, I don't know where that shit came from. Fly? WTF? Yeah, it's true, when I first showed up I could jump pretty high because of the difference in gravity but no higher than anyone else really. And fly? Never. The people who say that clearly have no understanding of lift. Look, I'm a humanoid just like you. My body simply isn't designed for gliding which means I need self-propelled flight for this to work and last time I checked I didn't have jet engines or propellers shooting out of my ass so if you can tell me what's propelling me forward I'd love to hear it, 'cause brother, I don't know.

Hey, I know, maybe I should look for the source with my X-Ray vision. If you'll pardon me one more time: Bwahahahahahahahaaaaaa!!! I'm sorry but someone really needs to get their head out of their ass with this one. Look, my vision is slightly different than yours, it's true. I can see in the ultra-violet spectrum, like a bee can, so things look a little different to me but to see an X-ray version of something can't work because x-rays don't bounce off an object to be picked up as reflected light by an optic nerve, they pass through an object and have their shadows trapped, so to speak, by the x-ray machine's photographic plates. The only way it could work is if my eyes acted as photographic plates that "caught" the shadow of the x-ray as it passed through my optic nerve in which case I'd have that image trapped in my eyes forever unless every time I looked at something I changed my eyes out. Seriously ... the fuck?

There are, of course, dozens of other examples: heat vision, freezing breath, super-hearing (actually my hearing might be better than yours had my ear drums not expanded upon arrival making it so I can barely hear anything and what I can has a constant, low, relentless buzzing behind it) and so on. I'd love to discuss each and every one of them with you but I'm getting tired and my nurse tells me I'm getting too excited and that's not good for my lungs, frail as they are in this light pressure environment. I'd show you to the door but walking is a difficult process requiring the assistance of canes and the unnecessary risk of breaking all of my bones. Thanks for stopping by though, I've enjoyed your company.

I am Real Superman. Good day.