That Which is Perfect

My name is Edward Norton. Last year, I had a car accident with a vehicle that was transporting an experimental substance for the DoD, and got covered in the stuff. As a result, trillions of devices a few nanometers in length course through my bloodstream, repairing my body, healing any injuries faster than is humanly possible. The first thing they did was coat my bones with a tiny layer of a very hard, very flexible metal alloy. The second thing they did was break down all of the muscles in my body and replace them with a dense fiber, custom designed to provide more force per square inch than the original.

In short, I’ve got superpowers. I can punch through a brick wall with very little effort and no lasting harm to myself, and I can bounce back from pretty traumatic injuries quite quickly.

I have superpowers, and it has ruined my life.

Seneca the Younger once asked, “What can be added to that which is perfect?” My life may not have been perfect, exactly, but it seemed that way to me at the time. And adding superpowers to it was definitely a loss rather than a gain.

I had a beautiful, wonderful wife, and three perfect little girls. I was a product manager for a small video advertising startup in DC. I had a good relationship with my boss, the owner of the company, formerly a coworker at a previous job who had brought me over. It was not an exciting life. We had no need for it to be.

Then the damn accident happened, and everything got screwed up.

For one thing, I am terrified to hug or grasp my daughters now. I am so strong; I haven’t really been able to get my ahead around how much stronger I really am. I’m terrified that I’m going to hurt them, or Anna.

One time, Andrew—my boss—and I were at Fast Eddie’s for happy hour after work. Some frat bro asshole started hassling us. He got a little too up close and personal, so I gave him a little love tap—and it broke his jaw. I mean, fuck. I didn’t mean to hurt the guy, I just wanted him to back off!

But that isn’t the worst of it. The people who were driving the car I crashed into were not actually part of the DoD or the government at all. They were some group that was pulling off a heist on the stuff that ended up making me what I am. And now they’re after me. They want to take me, probably want to dissect me like some lab rat.

They tried to take me directly not long after the accident, but I’m too strong for them now. Bullets hurt, but don’t kill me, and I was able to make quick work of the guys they sent after me.

So they took my family hostage.

That was the worst day of my life. I have never been so terrified.

I managed to get my family out, with some help from the Department of Homeland Security. But not before I beat the everloving shit out of some of those terrorist assholes in front of my wife and kids. The sick part is, some part of me enjoyed it. I hope the kids couldn’t tell, but I think that Anna could.

She took the kids to her parents’ place for a while after that. Almost a year went by where I only got to visit once a month or less.

But she came back, bless her. She still loves me, and she wants the girls to be with their father, and DHS is providing us with protection. I don’t know if she made the right choice, but I’m still so relieved, and grateful.

People are way too quick to take a normal, boring life for granted. They don’t know what a blessing it is to have a good job and a family that loves you. I’m holding on to those at the moment, but just barely. I can only hope that my superpowers don’t screw things up for good some day.

If you have people in your life that you love, take it from me. If you see a radioactive spider, or cosmic rays, or superpower science goo—turn the other way and run as fast as you can.

Published by

Adam Gurri

Adam Gurri works in digital advertising and writes for pleasure on his spare time. His present research focuses on the ethics of business and work, from the perspective of virtue and human flourishing.