In my Illustrated FAQ I explain our familial Super connection as follows:
The next generation’s Super Earthling is my daughter, Jen, whose official title is Spawn of Super Earthling. But she won’t get my cape and mask until I go up to the spirit in the sky. My husband, Mike, while indeed a man of great virtue and wit, can’t be a bona-fide Super Earthling since we don’t share the same gene pool. However, decades of marital osmosis, along with the fact that Mike excels at inadvertently providing me with awesome blog fodder, has made it possible for me to graciously grant him the title of Super Earthling by Proxy.
The last sentence above, you know, the one about my husband inadvertently providing me with awesome blog fodder? You’re about to see exactly what I mean. The following is EXACTLY how the creation of his avatar came to be.
“Okay, so you can choose any sort of image you want,” I told Mike. “It doesn’t even have to be a person. You just tell me what to draw and I’ll do it. Give it some consideration over the next few days and when you decide, just let me--”
“I want to be in a jumpsuit,” Mike said immediately.
“A jumpsuit? Oh…you mean like the spacesuit I made for myself for that picture in the FAQ you liked?”
“Yeah. Like that. But don’t make it puffy. It should look like a guy’s jumpsuit with cool patches and emblems and medals on it. And I want to wear my Chicago Bears cap.”
I got right to work and called Mike to show him the finished result.
His face fell. “It’s pink. You put me in a pink jumpsuit.”
“Yes, but it’s tailored,” I pointed out. “You’re secure enough in your masculinity to wear pink, aren’t you?”
“No. Yes! Susan, you know I don’t wear anything pink. Change it to gray.” Then his eyes bugged. “Jesus! You gave me red shoes with bows on them. You made me look gay! Are you trying to be funny?”
I shrugged. “I thought it would add a whimsical touch.” My smile was all innocence. “Notice I made them flats instead of heels like mine. And I didn’t give you red toenail polish.” I broke the prolonged silence by adding, “You know, you did say you wanted your outfit to look just like mine except for--”
“Forget it.” Mike crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “I don’t want to be a part of your blog anymore.”
“Oh for heaven’s sake,” I said, rolling my eyes. On the verge of further blurting that I thought his ‘I’m taking my toys and going home’ mentality made him a big baby, I paused and took a breath. For the sake of argument avoidance, I instead said, “I was just kidding about the shoes. I’ll change the picture and--”
“I don’t want to wear that glass bubble on my head. And don’t put me floating out in space. Just put me in a gray jumpsuit, not a spacesuit. And my Bears cap. And give me black shoes. Men’s shoes with laces,” he instructed. “And black socks.”
“Okay, but I’m curious about the jumpsuit. You’ve never worn one in your life, so why do you want to wear one in your avatar?”
“I’m going for a certain image.”
“And that would be an image of…?”
“You know, like a working guy.”
“You mean like a window washer? Or a guy who works in an airplane hangar, or maybe a janitor, or a retro gas station attendant? Or like Jack LaLanne, may he rest in peace--sort of like that? Even though you don’t do any of those things?”
“Yeah. Like that.”
“You said I could have whatever I wanted, right? So I want to be in a gray jumpsuit because I think that would be cool. Like I’m a badass character in one of my videogames. That’s how I want to look.”
“Like a badass working guy videogame character,” I restated, just to make sure were on the same page, which was necessary because our brains work so entirely different from each other it’s not even funny.
“Right. I mean, look at your avatar,” he said. “You made yourself look younger and thinner than you really are, so--”
Upon being nailed by my steely glare, a round of his nervous staccato laughter rang through the room. “Oh shit…I didn’t mean that, honey. Honest. You look beautiful. And thin. And young. You look just like your avatar.” His desperate, apologetic grin became almost clownish in width. He gave me a hug and kiss as I stood statue still. “You look just like you did when I married you, sweetie. You look better and sexier than Angelina Jolie. You look--”
I interrupted to let him know he’d groveled sufficiently and that I’d let him know when I’d finished his new avatar. Here’s what I created:
“Is this what you had in mind?” I asked.
“Yeah, that’s great…but while you were drawing it, I was thinking. Do you think it’s a bad idea for me to be in a jumpsuit? I mean, like you said, I’ve never even worn one. People might not get what I was going for. Maybe my avatar should look exactly like me. Can you do that? Make me look like when I go to the office. Put me in khakis and a polo shirt, tucked in, with a belt. I like my green polo because it’s comfortable. And instead of my black shoes, put me in my boat shoes. I’ll just be me.”
“Sure. No problem.” Here’s what I created:
“My hair looks short. And thin.”
“Your hair is short and thin,” I reminded him. “You said I should make you look like you really do.”
“I look too conservative and boring,” he mused. I wisely kept my mouth shut. “Can you give me more hair? A little longer and not so thin. And maybe I should just be wearing my shirt on the outside for a more casual look. And get rid of the socks. I just want bare feet with the boat shoes.”
“But you never dress that way for work,” I noted. “You always wear socks and look neat.”
“Yeah, but that’s how I’d dress if I could dress the way I really wanted to.”
“If you dressed the way you wanted to, you’d be in jeans and a T-shirt every day.”
“Yeah but I think it’s better to keep me a little on the dressier side,” Mike said. “So people don’t think I’m a bum or something.”
A while later I presented him with this:
“I like the hair,” he said. The hair is good, much better, more like me, don’t you think? But,” he went on before I had a chance to lie in response, “I was thinking about what you said, you know, about jeans and a T-shirt. That’s what I usually wear around the house. So that would be the real me, wouldn’t it?” I nodded in agreement. “Okay, so keep the boat shoes with no socks, but put jeans on me, and a blue T-shirt. Make sure it’s not pink. And you can put my super name on the shirt across the chest.”
I smiled at that last part. “I see…and just what is your super name again?” I asked, knowing damn well he’d never get Mike, Super Earthling by Proxy right because men simply do not pay attention.
He gave a hopeful smile. “Super Earthling?”
“No. That would be me,” I informed him.
“Uh…Super Earthling…Proxy. By Mike. Proxy Earthling.” He paused and smiled, and I returned his smile, waiting for him to bury himself further. “Super Proxy Mike! See, I remember!”
I called him later for his approval on this:
“Okay, that’s very accurate.” He laughed. “But it makes me look dopey.” Nothing. I said nothing! “I like the jeans but I’ve decided I want to wear my Bears cap. And since I’m wearing my Bears cap, you can have me wearing my Bears T-shirt. I think that’s how I usually dress when I’m just hanging around, so let’s make that my avatar. Oh, and put me in work boots.
I didn’t see that one coming. “Work boots? But why? You don’t wear work boots. The last time you wore them was when you worked construction years ago.”
“I think it would look cool.”
I shrugged. “Jeans tucked in or out?”
“And so you’re going for what sort of look here…?”
“Like a regular guy. In work boots.”
“I see.” Here’s what I came up with:
“The work boots came out good,” Mike said. “Do you think I should be wearing them in my avatar? Maybe I shouldn’t wear them because I don’t wear work boots in real life. What do you think?”
“I think you should look however you want to look, sweetie. I want you to be happy with your avatar because once I post it on the blog, I’m not going to change it. Whatever gets posted is the way it will stay. Permanently. So maybe you should think about it for a while so you’ll be sure to be happy and satisfied with your decision. Just go with whatever makes you happy. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks.”
“Okay, I thought about it.”
I frowned. “When?”
“Just now, when you were doing all that talking. What do I like to wear in the summer?” he asked. “Shorts,” he answered. “And when I’m not wearing boat shoes, I like wearing sandals. I think that’s a good look. It’s casual. It’s a good summer look. What do you think?”
“I think it would be a great avatar if we lived in Florida, but since we get very little hot weather here in Portland, you don’t really wear shorts all that often. But if it makes you feel good inside to see yourself in shorts and--”
“My khaki shorts. Not the black ones. You said they’re too long.”
“Um, right…khaki shorts and sandals. If you like that look, then I say go for it!” I winked and gave him a thumbs up.
“And give me more hair. Longer hair.”
“You mean like the length I keep trying to get you to grow your hair but you refuse?” I asked for clarification.
“Yeah.” He grinned.
And so I created this:
“Hey, that’s perfect,” Mike said. “Great job. But you know how you suggested that I should go with whatever makes me happy and that it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks?”
Okay, if that’s true, then I want to go back to the original version I had in mind for my avatar. Me in a jumpsuit. There’s just something about the idea that I like.”
“Okay, sure, no problem,” I said. “So you want to go back to this avatar then?”
Mike shook his head. “No. Take off all the badges and emblems because it makes me look like I’m in the army or something. Just make it a plain jumpsuit. A gray one. Like a regular working guy. And I don’t think the Bears cap goes with the jumpsuit, so scratch that. But I decided I want long hair. And get rid of the gray.
“So how come whenever I suggest covering up your gray you always look aghast and refuse?”
“Because real men don’t color their hair. Cary Grant never did and you loved Cary Grant.”
“Yes, but I always said Cary made a mistake by going all white,” I reminded him. “He would have looked better with darker hair with just some gray at the temples when he got older. Anyway, that was decades ago. It has no relevance to you and your hair today. So how long do you want your hair in the avatar?”
“What?! Are you serious? You want me to make you look like a hippie or a druggie, or some Jesus freak?”
He smiled like he loved the idea. I was flummoxed.
“Don’t you think that would be cool?” my typically conservative-leaning husband asked, clearly no longer in his right mind. “And give me a mustache and beard.”
“Michael, you know you look like a bad imitation of Pancho Villa when you have a mustache.”
“That’s in real life. Just don’t make me look like Pancho Villa in the drawing and it’ll be okay.”
“But if I draw you the way you’re asking, you’ll end up looking like Jesus if he scrubbed toilets for a living. Is that what you want?”
“It would be cool,” he stated without hesitation for the umpteenth time.
“Mike, seriously. Think about what you’re saying. I mean, that’s like me making my avatar look like the Virgin Mary.”
“But I wouldn’t do that,” I continued, “because, one, I’m not a virgin; and two, I’m not Catholic; and three, if I were Catholic, I’d probably end up going to Hell for committing the sin of cartoon idolatry.”
“But I wouldn’t really be Jesus. I’d just look like him,” Mike pointed out, sounding curiously rational.
“I just don’t get why you’d want to look like that,” I said, “because, God knows, you’ve never looked anything like Jesus in real life, nor have you ever wanted to before. Plus it’s not like we even go to church anymore…and if we did, you wouldn’t go there looking like a drugged out, toilet-scrubbing Jesus because that would make sweet baby Jesus cry.”
“No it wouldn’t. Jesus has a sense of humor. He’d think it’s cool,” Mike said.
“And don’t worry,” Mike continued with a smile. “If you go to Hell I’ll go there with you.”
“Thanks. That makes me feel so much better. I’ll get the handbasket ready.” I sighed, realizing I was getting nowhere fast. “I suppose you want to be wearing your sandals in the avatar so you look like you’re wearing Jesus-Christ-water-walkers with your jumpsuit. I mean, why not, right?”
“Hey, I haven’t heard that term in years,” Mike said, laughing. “But if you call them that, your younger readers might not know what you’re talking about. Plus your blog readers might think you’re verging on being blasphemous. So put me in work books instead. I like that idea better.”
“Well of course,” I said. “Because there’s nothing whatsoever blasphemous about my husband’s avatar looking like Jesus in a jumpsuit with work boots.”
Exactly,” he said, as if it made perfect sense. “And give me some tools in my pockets,” he added.
“Um…you mean like carpenter tools?”
“You know, like a hammer and a wrench or something. Working guy tools. That’s the avatar I want. I’m positive.”
“Yes! That’s it! I love it! That’s my avatar!”
I blinked. “You’re kidding. Do you maybe want to sleep on this to make sure?”
“No, really. It’s perfect. Great job! Thanks, honey!”
“Because, like I said before,” I reminded him, doing my damnedest to penetrate his thick skull to reach the tiny, twisted little portion of his brain where reason and logic are supposed to reside, “once I post your avatar there’s no going back. My Super Earthling blog might not have a lot of followers yet, but it’s catching on fast. Are you sure you’re going to feel the same way in a month or two when my 500,000 new followers are gawking at your Jesus in a jumpsuit avatar and wondering WTF?”
“Ahahahahahaha! 500,000 followers!” Mike said, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes. “That’s a riot, honey. You really are funny. Ahahahahahaha …”
And that’s the honest to God true story about why my husband’s avatar resembles Jesus in a jumpsuit with work boots.
My daughter’s “Super” moniker and avatar? That’s another whole story in itself.
In this Super Earthling Life Lesson you learned valuable information about the inner workings of the male brain; that male thoughts are skewed and populated with strange, WTF ideas that have absolutely nothing to do with anything females might consider sound, logical or rational--but make perfect sense to the male; and you learned how to gleefully exact vengeance by following your spouse’s instructions to the letter and creating the avatar of his choosing after he laughs at you and your blog. Finally, you learned that if you have to go to Hell because you’ve dutifully obeyed your spouse, to make damn sure he’s right there in the handbasket with you.
NOTE: If this post brought a smile to your day, PLEASE share it (*humble groveling…soulful anime eyes*) and help spread the word to everyone on the planet about Super Earthling. Thanks!
--Susan, Super Earthling…roger wilco, over and out