Saturday, June 18, 2011

Magnetic Resonance Imaginings

I recently spent some time in close proximity to an MRI machine, and despite my hopes that a freak electromagnic mishap might transform me into a some kind of superhero—MRI Guy? Refrigerator Magnet Man?—I seem to have emerged from the encounter as the same old Derek Gentry that I’ve always been.

However...the experience did prompt me to contemplate the super-abilities that I would enjoy possessing if my life were more like a comic book. And so, in no particular order, I would gladly accept any/all of the following:

Cookie Monster's Bottomless Belly
The ability to eat as much dessert as I want without ever feeling sick or increasing my cholesterol score. (And yes, I do realize that Cookie Monster just makes a big mess without actually ingesting anything, but that's his problem, not mine.)

Julia Child's Time-Lapse Oven Magic
The power to imagine any kind of food and then open the nearest oven to discover a fresh serving of said deliciousness that someone else had conveniently "prepared earlier." (This would pair nicely with the Cookie Monster ability above.)

Bob Vila Reclino-vation
The ability to gut-renovate a house in 16 tidy episodes, all without separating my backside from the couch.

Doggie Doodar
The ability to locate and dispose of piles of dog-doo in the dark without having to step in them first (which is my current technique).

The ability to look at something written in any language and just, like, understand it. (I recognize that this is really just a skill that one could acquire through years of study, but please keep in mind: I'm lazy and impatient.)

The ability to look at Twitter and and just, like, understand it.

Tofu No-Fu
The power to resist ordering tofu dishes in restaurants where they obviously have no idea how to prepare tofu, probably because the cook is such a devoted carnivore that he/she believes that it's actually impossible to make tofu taste good in the first place.

Neil Finn's Voice
The ability to sing along with Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" without my voice cracking and warbling like twelve-year-old. (Honestly, if forced to choose just one super-power from this whole list, I'd pick this one. Sad but true.)

Suitcase ESP
When packing for a trip, the ability to foresee exactly what I will and will not need so I can stop hauling around those shorts that it will never be warm enough to wear, or the jeans it will be way too hot for.

Traffic Clairavoidance
I'd love to know intuitively how to avoid all traffic, but failing that, I would settle for knowing exactly what caused the traffic I'm already stuck in and the name and e-mail address of the person(s) to blame.

1990 Mind
The ability to achieve pre-Internet levels of focus and concentration. (And let's face it—this is the most far-fetched item on my list.)

What about you? What super-abilities would you design for yourself?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

America runs (into traffic) on Dunkin.

Things which I have personally observed to induce temporary psychosis and/or a flagrant disregard for traffic laws in 41.6% of Massachusetts residents:
  • yard sales
  • Dunkin Donuts locations
Symptoms include: uncontrollable vehicular swerving, braking, and U-turning. May cause pedestrians to dash willy-nilly across busy, multi-lane roadways.

NOTE: Preliminary research indicates that Starbucks locations exert entirely different behavioral effects on their devotees, compelling them to purchase books and music collections that help simulate the experience of being at Starbucks when they are (tragically) forced to be elsewhere.

FURTHER NOTE: The "yard sale effect" appears to increase exponentially with the number of families participating and the volume of broken, worthless crap they have to sell. In case of emergency, please refer to this handy color-coded scale:

single-family yard salechaos
two-family yard salebedlam
three-family yard salepandemonium
multi-family yard sale in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot*anarchy & mass hysteria

*Theoretical scenario only; never tested outside a laboratory environment. (Thank God.)