on November 18, 2010 in Misc

Here’s a thrilling possibility:  X-Men are real.

X-Women are real too, but they get lumped under X-Men in the movies and I guess in the comic books too, which I’ve never read.  (When I googled this I got, “X Woman: not human, not Neanderthal, what is she?”  Apparently she’s a mysterious ancient hominid of the paleontology persuasion.)

The point is some people seem to be born with a genetic mutation that gives them a remarkable ability.  They don’t fly or sprout steel claws through their fists, but they can easily withstand jolts of electricity that would kill anyone else, or mentally solve mathematical problems faster than a calculator, or zip up the side of a building like Spiderman, or run nonstop for 80 miles.

Obviously, I am not one of these people.

In my last blog entry I mentioned that so-called “superhumans” have taught me about my own body’s limitations.  Some of these people are profiled on the History Channel’s show, “Stan Lee’s Superhuman” (he created the X-Men).  Lee and his co-host, a freakishly limber contortionist, investigate so-called superhumans and submit a few of them to scientific tests.  Guess what the scientists often find?  That there’s something weirdly DIFFERENT about a particular organ in a superhuman, or sections of his brain work in an unusual way, or a body’s chemical makeup has an inexplicable anomaly. 

Take the super-runner.  He can be in 50 marathons in 50 days and then run home while chatting about inspiration and discipline (which I find annoying and pompous).  In lab tests scientists discovered how his body, when it runs, does something they’d never seen before: not only does it produce much lower levels of a chemical that causes fatigue in normal people, it DECREASES in his bloodstream. 

I can’t tell you how happy those stumped scientists made me.  “THIS IS WHY I CAN’T RUN DISTANCE!”  I cried at my TV.  “MY BODY PRODUCES THAT CHEMICAL BY THE BUCKET-FULL.”  Granted, I don’t like to run and don’t do it much, but the scientific FACT remains that chemically I will never be a super runner.  Like I care.

But you know, most of us still wish we’d been born with some remarkable ability.  I’ve already written about how I wish I had a great talent for languages.  When it comes to gifts common to action heroes, however, I really have only one.

Tell you about it next time.  Until then, please wait with bated breath.

6 Responses to “X-People”

  1. Hart says:

    Hugely reassuring that these superpeople are mutants, eh? It helps explain a statistical phenomena we see, too–regression toward the mean… these ‘superpeople’ don’t generally pass their trait on to their offspring in nearly the degree they have it… Great athletes may have a son or daughter who does the same sport, but it’s extremely rare for both to be truly exceptional.

  2. Helena says:

    Hart — Doesn’t it feel good to call them mutants? I knew one kid in fencing (he’s since moved to Florida) who was a budding phenom, yet his parents said they had NO athletes on either side of their family going back to the caveman. They have no idea how they produced him.

  3. Ketutar says:

    Mmm… I just wonder how I’m a mutant. Such a pity one cannot find out just like that…
    BTW, languages are just a question of practice and attitude. The more languages you know, the easier it is to learn more. ;-)

  4. Helena says:

    Ketutar — I’m so intimidated of actually speaking a foreign language (as opposed to reading it) that my lack of confidence hurts my ability.

  5. Ketutar says:

    :-D That’s usually the problem – not just with languages :-)

    Just read Benny’s blog – http://www.fluentin3months.com/
    I love it :-)

  6. Helena says:

    Ketutar — I’m checking it out now and it really is great. Thanks!