One question that comes up from time to time among friends or strangers is “If you could choose any super power, what would you choose?” It’s one of those questions that if people take it seriously can actually tell you a lot about the person, especially if you get into discussing why they chose the power they chose.
A lot of people choose flying. And I admit, being able to fly would be pretty awesome, as long as it was Superman flying and not Andrew Clements flying. If you don’t know who that is, look up “My Secret Identity”, a TV show from the late 80s. Another popular one is to be invisible. For me, science gets in the way of that one, because if your eyes are invisible then you are blind. Then you get invulnerability, super speed, strength, and a slew of others. And you’ll probably get some joker who says “The power to have any one super power at a time.” or “All the powers!” Ignore that person.
Having given this much thought over the years, I always comes down to two options for myself. The first is immortality. The idea of living forever always appeals, because I look at how much things have changed just in the last couple hundred years and it really makes me not want to miss out on what comes after the next hundred. There is a drawback, of course, with the unnaturally long life of losing everyone you ever care about. Immortal people, by necessity I think, either will be detached or depressed. The second option, and the one I usually end up picking, is the ability to be able to understand and speak/write all forms of communication.
I’ve always been fascinated by language. In middle school I took a half year of French and a half year of German. I took two years of Spanish in high school. And in college I took two years of Japanese. I can’t actually speak any of these languages with any fluency, but I can pick out words and I’ve got some phrases down, but conversational speaking has atrophied with disuse. I want to learn more, and use what I do know more, but it requires effort that I seem unable or unwilling to put forth.
Oh, and one other language (and the reason for this post), I can (sorta) play strip poker in Danish.
It’s a very specific bit of knowledge, but when I was 13, I got a modem, and I went online for the first time. And it was there that I encountered software piracy in the form of a strip poker game. I downloaded it, and I installed it on a floppy disk that I purposefully mislabeled, and late at night when no one was around, I would load up Artworx Strip Poker and play, so that I could play poker and see naked girls in all 16 glorious colors. It would be a year or two before we got a VGA card to allow the girls to be in 256 colors. Despite the game being made by a US based company, the pirated copy I obtained was from elsewhere. And this elsewhere happened to be Denmark.
Jeg kalder. Jeg trak et kort. Jeg rejser.
It is so burned into my brain that when I play or see poker, those words come into my mind. I’ve even had to resist the urge to actually say “Jeg kalder” when playing. And honestly, I don’t even know if the translations are correct, but it is what was in the game.
Perhaps I should actually try to learn Danish.