The City: Gotham.
The time: The not-too-distant future,
The city is paralyzed with fear as gangs of hooligans have taken over the city and rule the night. Decent people hurry home as the sun sets for fear of being caught out in the open after dark. Mr. Charlie Wilson has no choice tonight. An elderly man who has called Gotham home since he was mustered out of the Army after World War II, he must stay at his convenience store until closing because his assistant has called in sick. But Wilson is not scared. After all, he survived three years fighting Nazis in Europe and North Africa, and thirty more years fighting his mother-in-law. He has faced down would-be robbers, shoplifters, and even a small time racketeer who thought he could shake down Charlie Wilson with a protection racket. All that and nary a scar to show for it. He can manage to walk the two blocks from his store to his brownstone.
As he shuts out the lights and locks the front door, his mind is elsewhere...on the shutoff notice he received from the water company for an unpaid bill that he is positive he paid. Well, pretty sure he paid. His mind is fixed on whether that Frito Lay driver has been shorting him on his Dorito order every week...it is not on the shadow that steps out from behind the ally entrance next to the dry cleaners. Or on the second figure that materializes across the street and mirrors Wilson's movements as he makes the trek home. By the time the third appears, this time in his peripheral vision, he is halfway home. He quickens his pace, hoping to reach his porch before these young fellas make their evil intentions known. But when his path is blocked by a fourth thug, he knows he won't make it home without a confrontation.
Inside, Mrs. Rose Wilson is in the kitchen making ravioli with Alfredo sauce - marinara gives Charlie terrible heartburn - when she hears her husband's shout from outside in the street. She puts down the wooden spoon and races to the front door, through it, and out into the street. Her neighbors' porch lights are all turning on and some of those neighbors are starting to filter out of their homes to watch Rose as she kneels down over her fallen husband. Broken and bleeding, he struggles for breath.
As she cradles her husband's head in her lap and he takes his dying breath, she shouts out to the world the question that every citizen of Gotham demands an answer to:
"Is there nobody in this whole world who can differentiate between Castillian Spanish and Latin American Spanish, navigating the subtle differences in enunciation and pronunciation, especially the z and th sounds???
Meanwhile, word reaches Commissioner Gordon's desk that armed and masked men are holding everyone at a day care center hostage and threatening to detonate a bomb unless the city releases the head of their gang. Gordon is in a quandary, If he sets the king pin loose, he is unleashing a monster, a criminal mastermind. If he refuses, scores of children are blown to pieces.
Walking over to the mahogany cabinet on the south wall of his office and opening the class door, he pulls out a bottle of scotch. Not the good stuff. He saves that for celebrations. And there won't be any celebrating today. No, he gets himself the cheap stuff, the scotch that calms his nerves and helps him think. But he already knows what he must do. Who he must call. There is no other way out. The city has only one hope. Only one man can save the day now. He opens his office door, pops his head out and barks out an order to the desk sergeant.
"Light the beacon. We need the Translator!!!"
Pretty lame, huh? Well, that's the vision that our Commander in Chief, Barack Obama shared with the world the other day. He was being interviewed by "Entertainment Tonight" and was asked what his choice of superpower would be. Now, if he were as smart as people say he is, he would have already read my guide to becoming a superhero, both parts 1 and 2 and he would have nailed the answer. He could have gone with the ability to fly. That's a popular one. Or X-ray vision, which is cool, but I can understand if he chose to stay clear of that one because nobody's really sure if he'd be allowed to use it with the new ObamaCare thing or whether there'd be a six month wait. Being bulletproof is cool. Ditto for heat vision, invisibility, super strength, etc. But he passed on all those. Instead, the leader of the free world and smartest man in any room decided those weren't good enough.
He chose "The ability to understand any language."
Now, the interviewer did not follow up with the logical sequence of questions, probably out of fear of getting answers like "The ability to understand any language" so I will have to ask (and answer?) the logical follow-ups. Such as, if he had this "superpower" he would (obviously) have to become a superhero. Which means he'd have to come up with a name for himself. What would it be? "Rosetta Stone"? Sounds like a Bond girl. "The Translator?" Weak. Where would his hideout be? The library? A call center in India? Most likely, he and AquaMan would hang out together in the Fortress of Lame-itude, Would he have a sidekick? Probably not, since rule numero uno regarding sidekicks is that they cannot outshine the superhero, and let's face it, that's a pretty tall order to fill here. Well, maybe Joe Biden. What crimes would he fight? Crimes against language? Who would his arch-nemesis be? See, clearly he did not think his answer through. Unacceptable.
Now, my guide did not specifically say this, but I think it is universally understood in the super power community: If there is a smart phone app for you superpower, or if Google can do the exact same thing as your superpower....then it isn't a superpower. Which means you are not a superhero. Sorry, GrammarMan. You aren't an awesome superhero. You are just the President.