Faster than a racing heartbeat! More powerful than a punctured jugular! Able to generate her own anxiety at the flash of a single white lab coat...It's the world's most boring party trick!...It's an exciting new pharma giveaway!...No! It's Blood Pressure Elevation Girl! Feel the rush!!
Yup, that's me.
Aside from the time they couldn't get my blood pressure at all and I had to convince them I wasn't the walking dead...
My one big superpower has been going to the doctor's office and instantly shooting my otherwise-regulated blood pressure skyward to levels so unrealistic, that medical staff are ready to shield themselves in protective gear less I explode in a shower of coffee, bodily fluids and Cheez-Its.
Like most superpowers, this talent is both unwanted and mysterious.
I mean, it's not like I'm afraid of needles, blood, or have an irrational fear of $10 co-pays.
I'm not germophobic or unnaturally averse to the latest paper dressing gown fashions.
Yet the moment I get into the doctor's office, I can feel the anxiety creeping onto me like a radioactive spider.
Breathing exercises don't work because then I start getting neurotic about that.
"Am I breathing less than I normally do? Am I getting too much oxygen? Is it possible to get too much oxygen? Ack!.. Will the oxygen make the blood pressure rise from all the extra oxygen molecules, like one of those Three Musketeers Bars that float around the office on the commercials?!"
Reading the magazines doesn't take my mind off things, because someone helpfully stocked my entire doctor's office with health and medical magazines. Articles like "You Can Prevent Death Before 50" and "Your Colon and You" are not so much mentally transporting.
I respect their efforts. But I just don't want to read about the place I already don't want to sitting in. I don't want to be learning about new diseases at this moment; the time for intellectual curiosity is not Now.
I want a nice boring Highlights for Children magazine with all the hidden items already circled. Or a supermarket rag covered in reality TV stars I've never heard of.
And then I get called in, and the medical assistant wants to take my blood pressure. I inform her in advance it's going to be higher than normal, because I don't want her to feel sad and disappointed. I figure it's good to set expectations. And as it's happening, I'm still there trying to will the number down, like I can control the blood pressure cuff with my mind.
Which, of course I can't, because telekinesis is not my superpower.
So she goes out of the room telling me my blood pressure is "a bazillion over many," and then has me wait seven years for the doctor, who will come in to take my blood pressure again, because they are Optimists.
But me, I am an over-achiever. So I will sit there and try to over-achieve on getting my blood pressure down. I will picture beautiful tranquil islands, and try to distract myself by counting all the letters on the posters taped to the walls.
I can tell you how many babies are on the vaccination poster. (Nine. Four facing forward, five posed sideways.)
I will examine my nicely-printed chart of perfectly normal blood pressures from home over the last three months, and develop my defense case for the doc.
"See, I can prove I'm not compulsive hypertension liar." And I will examine my own personal blood pressure cuff, to make sure the batteries are still good. If I am waiting there seven years, I can do this a good many times.
Clearly, I am a sick woman, but not in the area they think.
So today, I went to the doctor's for this very thing. Expecting this very same scenario. And the doctor said: "120 over 77. Perfect!"
I had her repeat it. And I am now befuddled. My superpower is gone? Am I like Hiro when he lost his time travel capabilities?
Will I wake up the next time, with the ability to... oh... write equally well with both hands? ("I am... Ambidextra!")
Will I suddenly be able to accurately estimate how many jellybeans in a jar? ("You may call me... The Quantifier.")
Or maybe I'll finally be able to wrap Christmas presents so they don't look like a five-year-old thumbless child did it. ("I am... the GiftMaster!")
Now I think about it, I hope it's that last one. Christmas is coming. And anyway, I won't need the superpower of self-elevated blood pressure.
I'll just go to the mall on Black Friday.
So tell me: what's your superpower?