Superstition (Pt. 1)


Continuation of a discussion about my “spiritual” heritage. Here are links to Superstition pt. 2 and Superstition Pt. 3.

*****

In case you hadn’t heard, space aliens gave me superpowers when I was five years old.

You don’t have to be scared. I’m not a sleeper cell from the television series V. I don’t even have my powers anymore. But for a short while, a couple of months, maybe, I was the most superpower-infused child a Kindergarten would ever happen to meet.

One summer day, the fifth-and-sixth graders took me aside for a few hours and explained to me that space aliens from the Planet X had altered my mind. I could open windows and doors with my mind.  I could also levitate. Not levitate myself, they pointed out; that would be just silly. Planet X had given me the useful kind of levitation: I could levitate *other* stuff.  All I had to do was scrunch my eyes shut, clasp my hands in front of my body, and hum a low pitch until I started to shake and presto! A door or window would pop open, or a napkin would float in midair in front of a fan. At first I was skeptical but it worked. I was agog when the door popped open, and seeing being believing! I saw. I believed.  I was converted. I gave my grandparents a long description, and a brief demonstration, one hot Sacramento evening, when I scrunched my face and hummed the lock right off the screen door.

I questioned the older kids incessantly after I overcame my initial skepticism. Where were the aliens? How come I never saw them? Why didn’t they want to talk to me in person? Did they leave a manual or something?  The answers didn’t really matter.  It was all about the aliens. I was doing work on the earth with space alien powers, man!  I was a true believer. I hardly needed scientific repeatability. Belief is deeper than actually seeing something, right? You just know stuff, the way I did.

My powers and I were dandy; that is, until the day I tried to fly off the roof of the babysitter’s chicken coop and swoop a classmate to a different part of  the backyard. That’s when the authorities became interested.

I can personally assert two facts about 1970s-era Sacramento: (1) babysitters were allowed to spank you, and (2) doctors still made  house calls.

So, yeah. Sore bottom, sprained wrist and wounded pride all joined the babysitter on the sofa for a long heart-to-heart about how powers just didn’t just exist like that. You couldn’t just do magic. She had the chastised sixth graders explain this to me. I cried–not from the pain so much as the loss of my powers. My mom and dad were going through a divorce. I could have used supernatural wooshy-wooshy in my life right about then. By the time I left the couch, I’d been gang-convinced that I never had powers. It was all an elaborate hoax–a joke played on a much littler and dumber kid. I never looked back. I wouldn’t be fooled again. I wasn’t just a little kid, to be fooled with. I had a head on my shoulders and stuff wouldn’t be the same, ever. I don’t go around believing stuff all willy-nilly.

My family moved to Oregon about a year later.

In case you hadn’t heard, God, through the Holy Spirit, gave me supernatural powers when I was seven years old.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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