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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How To
Superhero, Supervillain, or Supertramp?

Mike Richardson-Bryan

So you’ve been blasted by cosmic rays, or bitten by a genetically-engineered insect, or doused in toxic waste, and you’ve changed. But into what? Odds are you’ve become one of three things: (1) a superhero; (2) a supervillain; or (3) a member of progressive rock band Supertramp. But which one? For the answer, take this simple test.

1. Your base of operations is:

(a) a stately building in downtown New York
(b) a cavern deep within an active volcano
(c) a bus that reeks of Ben-Gay and vomit

2. Before charging into battle, you shout:

(a) “Excelsior!”
(b) “Cobra!”
(c) “Hello, Cleveland!”

3. Your wristbands dispense:

(a) fire-retardant form
(b) poison darts
(c) Quaaludes

4. The sound of your voice:

(a) strikes fear into the heart of criminals
(b) strikes fear into the hearts of women and children
(c) makes bats dizzy

5. You come into possession of an alien superweapon and immediately you:

(a) hide it where no one will ever find it
(b) graft it onto the stump where your right hand used to be
(c) incorporate it into a 90-minute bass solo and accidentally destroy the moon

6. All your menial tasks are performed by:

(a) a single geriatric butler
(b) a vast army of henchmen in full-face masks, identifiable only by serial number
(c) glassy-eyed roadies with names like Roach and Spike

7. Your romantic interest is:

(a) a hard-nosed lady reporter
(b) a sexy female assassin from Eastern Europe
(c) any woman in the front row with the physical coordination to lift her top

8. Your best friend is:

(a) a coworker who knows nothing of your double life
(b) a supercomputer programmed to speak in the third person
(c) the guy who refills your Quaalude wristbands

9. Your only weakness is:

(a) a rare radioactive isotope
(b) your uncontrollable ego
(c) gonorrhea

10. When you die, the most likely cause of death will be:

(a) being hit by a train after pushing a small child out of the way
(b) radiation poisoning from one of your own fiendish experiments
(c) a fog machine explosion


Mostly A’s
You’re a superhero. As a superhero, you’ll fight crime, battle corruption, and suffer bouts of tortured introspection over the one life you failed to save years earlier. Also, you’ll probably spend a lot of time in a unitard, so hit the gym.

Mostly B’s
You’re a supervillain. As a supervillain, you’ll rob banks, kidnap spunky women, and plot the destruction of all those who’ve wronged you. Also, you’ll get to call yourself “doctor” or “professor” even if all you have is a G.E.D.

Mostly C’s
You’re a member of Supertramp. As a member of Supertramp, you’ll go years at a time without speaking to your bandmates, periodically reconcile to perform in front of aging baby boomers who spend the whole show worrying about their 401(k)s, and occasionally be mistaken for a tribute act of yourself and told that you’re “almost as good as the real thing.” You’re still big in Japan.

Mike Richardson-Bryan used to be a lawyer, but he's all better now. No, really. His work has also appeared on McSweeney's Internet Tendency, in the pages of Cracked, Stitches, and The Wittenburg Door, and recently appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with one wife and two dogs.