I Have Magical Powers
By Scott Kruize
In Fourth Grade, I discovered Greek and Norse mythology, and began to read of the supernatural abilities of their heroes and heroines, gods and goddesses. By Fifth Grade, I'd discovered Flash and the other Superman D.C. comic superheroes. It didn't occur to me at the time that someday I'd develop superpowers of my own, powers few others shared.
Nevertheless, such powers appeared. By the time my wife Sandra brought home from the pound a young cat, I had the confidence to say to him "You need a bath." He seemed to understand, and acquiesced. While on his own on the 'mean streets', survival had taken too much of his powers to clean himself properly, and he knew it. We fixed him up right then and there in the kitchen sink. Although we'd only just met, Jeremy and I established a rapport that's lasted some sixteen years. I can bathe kitties without the need for medical care for any of us afterwards!
A similar power: I clip infants' fingernails so they can't scratch themselves. While starting to learn that most critical skill—control of arms and hands—babies flail and sometimes hit themselves in the face. Long nails compound the trauma. I step in and clip them properly, for nervous novice mothers afraid to try it themselves. We can't have the little ones inhibited in the quest of their own budding superpowers!
I can make recalcitrant bicycles come back to working order, even while out on the road without all my specialized shop tools. "It's Bicycle Repair Man!" Monty Python recognizes me and the handful of other such beyond-Superman individuals...
I can make recalcitrant computers stop weirding out, and more important, can explain their workings so that even people like Steve can understand and make use of them to do their work. Steve's manager of a bike shop I sometimes work at, and prying him loose from phones and Post-Its, at least acknowledging that there are more modern ways of doing things, is a Major Accomplishment.
One of my magical powers is truly magical. I know it's there, and use it, even though I don't quite understand it myself. I have an 'aura'. I get telephone calls from disoriented computer users, whose machines are doing strange things. They can be on the next block or across the country; it doesn't matter. My aura is not limited nor weakened by time or space. With that aura and a few reassuring words, I get them and their computers settled back to working amicably together.
(Would that I could have such power, figuring out a way to make a lot of money in the work force! I ponder that often, but remember a warning from classic literature. My junior high English teacher, Miss Goldstein, and drama teacher, Miss Hornstein, put me into the school production of Julius Caesar. The qualities that made for a Hero were the very same ones that would bring about his doom. It's probably just as well that I had only a bit part in the play. It's probably just as well that I haven't had the qualities to make me wealthy. That may have interfered with the powers I do have...and need!)
Philosophical ruminations completed, I must mention another power, one you share:
I can transform a pile of odd-shaped plastic parts into a replica of an airplane. Amazing! Sometimes in a matter of just months! (At club meetings, the best cynical laughs come when a member points to his freshly-completed Show-and-Tell, and reports "I started this Eduard kit last March. It's the 'Weekend Edition'...")
This power began to manifest itself right after my 11th birthday party. Given the Monogram kit of the B-58 Hustler (the coolest jet bomber that EVER was!), I determined to put it together all by myself, painting it properly and everything. (Here's my post-'Dark Ages' rebuild.)
In the Now, this power is still with me. It's not so much power to win contests. Other members of the clubs (the NorthWest Scale Modelers and the Seattle Chapter of the I.P.M.S.) are endowed with (or cultivate?) much more of that power. But I have a good time. To be able to enjoy something in my... um, 'maturity'... Now, with the same pleasure as in my youth back Then... doesn't that qualify as magical?
Lastly, for a couple of years I've found myself endowed with a magical power so super, so wide-ranging, that it would have been beyond my wildest imaginings back Then. I find I can remember clearly what it was like modeling back in my early teens, and relate these memories to my experience modeling in the Now. Not that that's at all remarkable... but I can place these reminiscences out into something intangible—yet quite real—a place we call 'Cyberspace'. Once there, my thoughts reach all over Planet Earth, where people I've never seen, or could possibly have known about, read them... and IDENTIFY with them. People such as Ross Hardy, who's had only one Queen reign over his country all during both of our lives. Or Bert Loehner, in another foreign country, not far away... in Vancouver, Canada. And Dean Bergstrom, whose self-title is 'The Ancient Modeler' (I gather he's just SLIGHTLY older than I am), and who shares many of my memories. And Tom Mason, who also recalled our limited tool 'selection' (!) back Then, but just like me Now, has proper tools. And even Jean-Francois Fulconis in Paris, who's amassed so much information about old kits like the strange Aurora 'MiG-19' aka 'Yak-25', and its equally odd Lindberg counterpart, and is writing all about it.
While these ramblings 'magically' reach out into Cyberspace this holiday season, let me add one more. My powers, back Then, enabled me to build a model in ONE AFTERNOON. Strangely, in the Now I've haven't been able to. Are my model-building powers feebler than they once were? I hope not... a 'Calvin and Hobbes' cartoon sequence calls to me. They built a Phantom jet in an afternoon. Might my current magical powers be up to a challenge like this? As Calvin himself calls, "Further bulletins as events warrant!" Meanwhile, I'm confident that you will all continue to
Build What You Want, The Way You Want To, and Above All, HAVE FUN!