If you look at a list of things that I love, you will find the X-Men – somewhere between burritos and the Criterion Collection. Like any child of the 90’s, I was introduced to the merry mutants through their Fox Kids cartoon. The continuing television adventures of Gambit, Wolverine, Storm, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and – inexplicably – Jubilee (the only character less useful than Cyclops) indoctrinated me into the incredibly complex mythology and soap opera-esque relationships that define the Marvel Comics team. But I never, ever suspected that I might be destined to be a member.
I think most children dream of discovering they have a mutant power. When I was younger I would have killed for invisibility because I was a perverted kid who wanted to know just what was going on in the girls’ locker room. Then in college, as a marijuana-fueled haze had me remembering all of the stupid things I had ever done (including longing to sneak into locker rooms), all I wanted was the ability to go back in time and change things. These days I am relatively content with my mundane, superpower-less life – though I wouldn’t mind telekinesis; you could really do most anything with telekinesis. Besides, if we’re being real, my mutant power would probably have something to do with hyper-active sweat glands or something. I’m already halfway there.
It’s not like it’s fun being a mutant in the Marvel Universe, anyway. The mutants have always be an allegory for the oppressed. When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the outcasts in the 60’s their plight was easily comparable to that of the African-American community. In the present day, the mutants’ fight for equality tends to be a stand-in for the battle for gay rights. Even those readers who could not identify with obviously mistreated minority groups could find refuge in the pages of X-Men – after all, what comic-reading teenager did not encounter at least a little ridicule for such a “nerdy” pursuit?
So in recent years (once I realized I would never actually become the most famous card-flipping Cajun ever committed to any medium) I have been rather relieved by my lack of a mutant gene. Most possible futures in Marvel Comics end with mutants hunted to extinction, for goodness sake – it would be a difficult identity to aspire to. So imagine my dread shock this evening upon discovering my own uncanny healing factor.
It was a night like any other. I was making a burrito (remember that list of favorite things I mentioned?) and discovered I was out of cheddar cheese. Never fear! I bought a new block earlier in the day. As I cut through the packaging with a very sharp pair of scissors, I cut through something else as well: my palm. The pain was instant, most likely due to irreparable nerve damage. I looked at the gash, hoping to keep it from bleeding out of sheet force of will. No luck. As the red liquid that delivers oxygen inside my body began to do the same outside, I rushed to a faucet, rinsing said lifewater away, and stopping the flow with as much paper towel as I could muster.
“I don’t have time to go to the hospital tonight,” I said to no one in particular, as I tried to stem the crimson tide. Better call ahead, I thought, but then – huzzah! – the bleeding stopped. And not because I had been completely drained. No, in fact I still have most of my blood. The skin itself had sealed (or enough so that I cannot tell the difference).
Now I’ll be the first to admit that just having a healing factor isn’t actually that cool. I mean, Wolverine has (had?) a healing factor AND enhanced senses AND those bone claws. So I probably won’t be on the X-Men’s varsity squad, but it’s only a matter of time until Professor X comes knocking on my door. I hope he’s okay with the fact that I live on the second floor. Hopefully he gets here before the Sentinels do.
I know what you’re thinking – what’s your code name gonna be? I don’t know yet guys. That’s something I really have to think about, because I don’t want to pick something impulsive and then get saddled with it for the rest of my career, ya know? I guess I’ll just- oh no. It’s bleeding again. Oh no. Oh god. I gotta go.