Secret Superheroes: Dads Dare Danger

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Superheroes are everywhere. I’m not just talking about the superheroes you read in comic books, or see on movie screens or on television. Although, come to think of it, those pretty much are omnipresent these days. I’m actually talking about the superhero all dads see in the mirror.

See, most superheroes have a power, some extra-normal ability that sets them apart from the masses of humanity. Superman is, well, super. Spider-Man has spider powers. They’ve got one power set. That is, their powers are related to one another. We dads … our powers are from everywhere.

Matter Eater Lad (yes, really) is a superhero in the future. He can eat anything. As Dad, it’s our job to eat all the burned French fries when we’re cooking burgers and dogs on the grill. My kids wouldn’t touch them, and I couldn’t let them all go to waste.

Mr. Fantastic is the leader of the Fantastic Four. He can stretch. As Dad, we’re the ones who have to get stuff that’s fallen behind the couch, between the fridge and the cabinet, or that “somehow” flew to the top of the wall unit. Not just stretching, but also making ourselves small enough to fit through cracks that keep a starving rat out. It’s amazing what we dads can do when the alternative is telling a young child his favorite toy is lost for good and then suffering through the resulting screaming fit.

Electro is a bad guy, but still with super powers, who controls electricity. As Dad, it’s our responsibility to install the ceiling fans and make other minor electrical repairs. I must have some sort of power to have survived the appallingly large number of times I’ve nearly been electrocuted.

Fourarm is a mutant with four arms. Dads go through life like we have more than two arms. Just last week I saw a dad holding his daughter in his arm, shepherding her slightly older brother and moving them all through a buffet line. Without spilling anything. Tell me that’s not a superpower and I’ll call you a liar.

Finally, it’s not so much a superpower as the idea that the Time Lords have nothing on us. Superheroes use a machine to fold dimensions, but we just do it. When we’re packing, we’re able to put in so much inside a trunk or a suitcase that it’s almost as if it’s bigger on the inside than the outside.

Hold your heads up, dads. We are the secret superheroes of the real world. And we don’t even have to wear our underwear on the outside.

Richard Jones and Barry Robert Ozer are the authors of “A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook,” a fast and funny how-to book to help new dads cope with being responsible for a smelly, loud and very messy life.