On Friday night, Kate and I were watching a show called What If, the premise of which is that Marvel has pretty much exhausted the ubiquitous iterations of its universe and in order to keep generating income, has resorted to a fantasy-like series that asks things like, “What if the dude from Black Panther was the dude from Guardians of the Galaxy instead?” or “What if Groot was a raccoon and instead of saying ‘I am Groot’, all he said was ‘I am Raccoon”?
Me: I have one. What about “What if Spiderman was bit by a badger instead, and then he would be Badgerman?
Kate: That’s ridiculous.
Me: No it’s not—think about it. Badgers can climb and they’re lightning quick. I bet they could catch thieves better than a spider could. Ooh, it says on google that their favourite food is earthworms. Badgerman, Badgerman, catches thieves just like worms, look out! Here comes the Badgerman.
Kate: Is his wife named Honey?
Me: Obviously, KATE.
And here’s another one: what if Batman and Robin were a couple?
Robin: Where are you going?
Batman: The bat signal is all lit up and whatnot.
Robin: Always with the damn bat signal. What about me?!
Batman: Here’s fifty dollars. Go buy yourself something pretty and I’ll take you out for dinner after I kill Superman.
Robin (under his breath): Like that’s going to happen.
Or…what if Aquaman couldn’t breathe underwater?
Aquaman: Help! (gurgles) Help!
It was a very short episode. But why have I been so bored that I’m inventing alternative superhero universes? Because Ken just got a new job. But wait, I hear you ask. Didn’t he just retire? Isn’t he supposed to be devoting all his energy to rebuilding the side porch? And the answer to both those questions would be yes. However, the other night he came skipping into the kitchen, very pleased with himself, because the local hot air balloon company—yes, THE LOCAL HOT AIR BALLOON COMPANY—had seen his application for ‘ground crew’ and he had a trial run the next morning at 6 am.
Me: Ok, but promise me you won’t get your foot tangled in the rope and then get dragged halfway across the countryside dangling in the air before falling into a pond.
Ken: I think maybe you saw that in a movie. But there are other people to untangle me if that happens.
Me: IF? You mean WHEN!
So the next morning, he left for his new job, and I lay in bed stressing that he might float away, or that the other balloon guys might be mean to him, or that he would get lost taking one of his ‘shortcuts’, or any number of other worst case scenarios. Of course, none of that happened, and he came home excited because the owner had given him the balloon handbook and now he was an official member of the crew, which meant twice a day, weather permitting, he helps set up the balloon, chases it in the crew van, then packs it away. And while he’s enjoying his new-found employment, I’m feeling the pressure to get a cool new job too when I retire in 3 weeks, especially since I reached out to James Gunn about my idea for a Suicide Squad sequel featuring my superhero Heavy Metal, and he has yet to respond. Alternatively, maybe something where I get to drive a forklift…