03 February 2012

"Monologue Therapy"

By Curtis C. Chen

Look, if your last name was "Day," and your parents named you "Groundhog," wouldn't you want to kill them? I mean, not actually kill them, but have, you know, vaguely homicidal thoughts from time to time? In your imagination?

Come on, you'd at least be bitter toward them.

Not even a little bit?

Okay, see, I don't believe you. I get that you don't understand what we had to deal with growing up—the names, the costumes, the constant crimefighting—but you have to show some sympathy for parental issues. I mean, that's universal. If we can't have an honest, open relationship, then I don't see the point of these sessions at all.

Yeah, I know it's a court order, but that doesn't mean they'll be useful, does it? My sentence specifies a certain number of sessions, totaling no less than a certain number of hours, but it doesn't say anything about the content or outcome of this therapy. And you don't exactly strike me as someone likely to perform above and beyond the call of duty.

Right. You get paid either way. Must be nice to worry about something as mundane as money.

Really? I just laid my mommy and daddy issues on the table, and this is what you want to hear about? Geez, talk about phoning it in.

Okay, fine. Whatever.

It's not the money, specifically. It's just—all the ordinary stuff, you know? The normal, everyday, non-super-powered things that regular people worry about. Carpool schedules. Grocery bills. Traffic.

You've heard this before, right? What's the medical term for it? Grass-is-greener syndrome or something?

"Envy?" That's it? I guess that makes sense. It's been around long enough. One of the original seven deadly, right? Makes sense.

See, nobody ever asks for the life they get. But you normals, you have options. Choices. You got to choose whether you wanted to be a doctor when you grew up, right? Which school to go to, what specialization, where to do your residency? Because no matter how extraordinarily smart or perceptive or strong or fast you are, you're still not that much better than anybody else. You're still human.

It wasn't like that for me, my brothers, my sisters—anyone in my family. The rules are different for us. Some people might look at all the crazy stuff we get away with, all the international travel and diplomatic immunity and fame and all that, and they might think we're just lucky. Lucky that we were born with these abilities, these—powers.

Lucky, maybe. But not good luck. You have something I'll never have, Doc. You have freedom. You get to choose what to do with your life. Me? From the moment I first manifested flight, floating above my crib, my future was set.

Every kid acts out, right? Every teenager finds some way to rebel. People like me just face greater consequences when we do it.

You know what my kid sister's name is? "Arbor."

She never had a chance.


Image: Dr. debilis causa mett wurst Onkel Wart's Hungarian Summer Memories by Thomas Lieser, July, 2009