Monday, September 7, 2009

Moments with Joey - Superheroes

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. MIDMORNING, SCHOOL BUS. The entire fifth grade is traveling toward Provo Canyon for the Mt. Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Three boys sit on the seat across from the teacher about halfway from the front of the bus. One of the boys clears his throat.

JOEY: Mr. Z?

TEACHER: What’s up, Joey?

JOEY: Who’s your favorite superhero?

[The teacher thinks for a second].

TEACHER: Superman.

JOEY: Superman? Why?

TEACHER: What do you mean, ‘why?’ [Pause]. Superman is the ultimate superhero.

JOEY: He’s not as tough as Wolverine from X-Men; compared to Wolverine, Superman’s nothing.

[The teacher starts to laugh and reaches over to pat Joey on the shoulder].

TEACHER: Hate to break it to you, Joey, but Superman would totally destroy Wolverine in a fight.

[The boy shakes his head adamantly as his two friends listen on intently].

JOEY: Wolverine can heal himself instantly, even if Superman ripped him into separate pieces and flew those pieces to different places in the world; those pieces would eventually crawl back together and put themselves back again. You know, Cyclops could beat him too—he has lasers which shoot from his eyes.

TEACHER: Cyclops? Please…Superman can shoot heat from his eyes, too. Besides, the yellow sun heals Superman even faster than Wolverine can heal. Superman is better than the two of them put together.

JOEY: Well, there’s the Hulk, too…he has really cool powers.

TEACHER: The Hulk’s only power is strength, and he only has that power when he gets mad. What happens when he calms down? Would you want to walk around being ticked off all the time? Superman is strong all the time.

[The boy tries to think of what else it is The Hulk can do which is amazing, but he draws up a blank].

TEACHER: Face it, Joey, Superman is the ultimate superhero; nobody can hold a candle to him.

JOEY: What about Batman? He has cool Batstuff…

TEACHER: Sorry again, Joey. If you took away all of his ‘Batgets’ he’d have nothing…he’s just an ordinary guy.

[There is a mildly-long pause].

JOEY: But he has a really cool car, and a Batcave, too.

TEACHER: Batgets, Joey…

JOEY: Well, Superman is just a wuss; if all the X-Men teamed up, they could take him out.

[The teacher again shakes his head].

TEACHER: Joey, the X-Men couldn’t possibly take on Superman in a battle and win…with the exception of The Phoenix and she wasn’t really an X-Man at all. She was locked in Jean Grey’s mind by Professor Xavier and was mentally unstable. As for The Hulk? No challenge whatsoever. Batman? Please, Batman has nothing on Superman; like I said before…Superman is the ultimate superhero.

JOEY: Oh yeah…well…Superman is just…well…

[The boy looks at both of his friends, searching for something to say, but is drawing a blank. The teacher in turn starts to hum the theme from Superman].

TEACHER: [Turning to one of his students, Joey’s friend] Cody, what song was I just humming?

CODY: It was the theme from Superman.

[The teacher nods appreciatively who then turns to Joey].

TEACHER: Joey, how does the theme song to X-Men go?

[The boy shrugs].

TEACHER: How about the theme song for The Hulk?


TEACHER: How about the theme song for Batman?

JOEY: [Exasperated] Okay, I don’t know how any of them go.

TEACHER: Hmmmm…that’s odd, I’d have thought that if they were so powerful and great, at least you’d know how their theme songs went; a powerful superhero would have a powerful song, too; a song that people would remember.

[The teacher pauses for a moment in deep thought, and then turns to Joey’s two friends].

TEACHER: Cody, Eric? Do you guys know the Spongebob Squarepants Theme?

BOYS: [The boys’ faces brighten as they both belt out in unison:] Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SPONGE-BOB SQUARE PANTS!

TEACHER: Hmmm, it would seem that Spongebob Squarepants is much more powerful than ALL of your superheroes combined, Joey.

[The bus pulls into the park at Provo Canyon, and the teacher begins to orchestrate the process of moving the students off the bus].

SCENE 2, EXTERIOR. MORNING, CANYON GLEN PARK. The fifth graders are finding shaded places on the grass so as eat their lunch before the festival. As Joey passes by his teacher, his face brightens.

JOEY: Mr. Z, Superman’s weakness is Kryptonite.

[There is a brief moment of silence].

TEACHER: That’s true, Kryptonite is his weakness.

JOEY: So, what’s your weakness, Mr. Z?


TEACHER: Fifth graders.

[Joey takes a step closer to the teacher].

JOEY: I thought so.

[The teacher feigns being weakened as the boy moves a bit nearer still].

TEACHER: I’m feeling exhausted already.

JOEY: And that’s why Wolverine is a more powerful superhero, Mr. Z! He doesn’t have a weakness!

[The boy stands for a second longer before flashing a grin and then heads off to join his friends for lunch. As he walks away he glances back and smiles. he turns and walks faster, beginning to hum the Superman theme song as he goes].

TEACHER: [Spoken quietly] I guess you’re right, Joey…I guess you’re right.

Fade to black.


Mamma has spoken said...

Ah, one of my favorite things about teaching, getting into their world and seeing what makes them 'tick.'

Gerb said...

That was awesome.

smalltoes said...

That is a great story. I love it. Those kids really try to figure you out. No wonder they love you, except that one but he doesn't count!

Richard & Natalie said...

Loved it. I read it to an older neighborhood boy who is a die hard Wolverine fan. I enjoyed watching him squirm at your comebacks! From a woman's point of view, Superman's cute forehead curl will always beat Woverine's scruffy sideburns in the looks dept.!

summer said...

Good to hear your teaching stories with Joey again. BTW....little B's teacher is named...Ms. Z. He got a kick out of that - "It's not Mr. Z, but a Ms. Z!"

Teachinfourth said...

M - It was quite enlightening.

G - The 'live' version was pretty entertaining, wasn't it?

S - I think he likes me well enough...even though he seems to think Wolverine is all that.

N - I don't know about the curls and sideburns, I was thinking more along the lines of the ability to fly and amazing powers...

S - Glad that you guys are getting settled. I went on a donut run the other day and thought about you. Don't worry, I ate one for you as well; just the kind of friend I am.

annette said...

When I was young I used to dream that Superman would come and I would fly away with him somewhere. I was in love with "Christopher Reeve" for years.

I've given it a lot of thought and I think you're right. Despite the Kriptonite weakness, Superman is the ultimate hero.

Teachinfourth said...

A - He is the ultimate...glad to know another fan.

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