Wednesday, April 10, 2013

TNG: The Nth Degree or My Super Powers

Up until my 21st birthday, I wished for super powers. Every year, I lost a little more hope until I finally just sort of said, "Well, I guess it's not going to happen." For some reason, I thought my bestowal of powers would almost certainly come on my birthday but I wasn't an exclusionist. I wished for these powers in wishing wells and when I blew a stray eyelash from my fingertip. I wished on stars and can remember specific times in my childhood where I really thought, this time it was going to happen.

But, it didn't.

I wished to be genius-level smart and/or be able to see future events. I wanted to prevent myself from feeling stupid or weird or lame. I knew that, on the inside of me was someone worth knowing, someone who was smart and interesting and confident and, yes, even pleasant. But it seemed like all the forces in the universe were keeping that part of me locked away and even I couldn't access it.

I was thinking about that as I watched the TNG episode, "The Nth Degree" wherein Barclay (who is typically a socially awkward screw-up) gets his brain probed by some high-class aliens who make him ridiculously, crazy smart. And, he's not just intelligent but creative and confident. He goes from stammering through conversations to hitting on Deanna and bringing the audience to tears in a performance of Cyrano. Beverly even says that he might be the most evolved human ever.
Here's Barclay just chilling out with his homie, Albert Einstein.
Well, that's basically all I ever asked for. (Not much, huh?) Barclay turns into a super human and suddenly, all that stuff that was inside him, all that hidden potential was suddenly turned loose. He was a new man. Everything was super-wonderful-fantastic. And then, everything went sideways. Barclay got carried away with his new abilities. He started captaining and driving the Enterprise which was not to Picard's liking at all. He became "fully integrated" with the ship and started uploading his mind to the ship's computer because his fragile human brain pan couldn't hold all that magnificence inside anymore. He lost it. He'd gone beyond the point of "super human" to "super pain in the ass" and no one was appreciating it.

Picard is especially not pleased.
Thankfully, the aliens who'd brain-juiced him earlier, came back and saved the day. And, as I watched Barclay explain how things had gotten so out of control, I wondered if maybe, it's a good thing I never got those powers after all. Maybe, there aren't any really amazing shortcuts to figuring out who you are, no aliens to help you be the super-special-snowflake you always knew you could be. Maybe it's ok that I, unlike Barclay, have to take the long way round.

Still... if I woke up one day with super powers, I wouldn't be too quick to try and get rid of them.

1 comment:

  1. LOL! I used to have the "magical birthday transformation" hope too, as well as the "You've turned 21 and now can inherit this previously never mentioned fortune from a far distant relative" hope.


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