(Another old humour piece of mine – this one you can find at McSweeney’s)
By DAVID NG
Dear Mr. Superman, Mr. Batman, Ms. Wonder Woman, and other esteemed do-gooders,
Although I have been waiting patiently for a few years in the hope that an advertisement would appear, I feel for the sake of my career that now is a good time to approach you. In essence, I am wondering whether you are, or will be, accepting any new members into your fine organization. More specifically, I am inquiring as to whether you need the services of a geneticist, since that is my particular field of expertise.
Part of the reason I am contacting you now is that I suspect you are possibly hurt by the unwarranted waning in public interest associated with your group, a symptom that likely correlates to the soaring popularity of some of your competitors—the X-Men and Spider-Man, to name two.
Anyway, this is why I think I can help—as a geneticist, I can bring a lot to the table. To me, it’s no coincidence that the X-Men, Spider-Man, and the like are mostly a consequence of fortuitous genetic modification.
More specifically, my knowledge in genetics can directly tackle your weaknesses. For instance, current genetic technologies could be utilized to offset Mr. Superman’s annoying kryptonite problem. Whether it’s the result of something specific in his genetic makeup or the result of the rest of society having some sort of innate immunity, the issue at stake is a difference in biological makeup. This, of course, makes it a perfect candidate for targeted gene therapy.
Mr. Batman could also benefit greatly from a genetic analysis. I would not be surprised if his manic-depressive tendencies are hard to manage and counterproductive to the group as a whole. Here we can perform a few diagnostic genetic tests, which can then go to great lengths to effectively pinpoint and manage these potentially bothersome tendencies.
Even Ms. Wonder Woman could stand to gain from my genetic expertise. Clearly, engaging in intensive hand-to-hand combat with her sizable chest is problematic. But how exactly would you perform breast-reduction surgery—or any surgery, for that matter—when an individual’s magic bracelets are constantly maneuvering to defend against an incoming scalpel? My point is that you don’t have to—I may be able to do something about this by using current genetic-manipulation methodologies.
And just imagine what could be done with cloning. The mind reels, does it not?
Now, with respect to fighting crime, I think that, overall, it wouldn’t take much effort to transform me into a fully functional Superfriend. I already have a well-equipped laboratory facility, which, with your help, could easily be relocated to the appropriate underground cave, glacier, secret island, or space station.
As for a costume, I own several lab coats, which, when worn with a good pair of spandex pants, will, I’m sure, sufficiently instill some semblance of fear into those who choose to do battle with me. I would offer to wear some retro-looking goggles as well, but, unfortunately, I need my prescription glasses, and, well, contacts tend to make my eyes itch.
Although I can’t fly, and I don’t own anything close to resembling a Batmobile or an invisible jet, I do drive around in one of those stylish yet practical Mazda MPVs. If you recall, this is Mazda’s very popular minivan model (you know—zoom zoom!), which would probably look quite superheroish were I to paint some lightning bolts or DNA strands on its sides.
Also, if it helps, I know quite a few physicists who may be able to lend a hand with Ms. Wonder Woman’s embarrassing “the jet is invisible but I’m clearly not” situation.
Dr. David Ng
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada