Guest Blog: “IRONICALLY FAST” by Chris Watkinson September 22nd, 2011
When I was a kid, imagining I had superpowers, the power I dreamt about most often (aside from the proportional strength and agility of a spider) was super speed. For whatever reason, I was absorbed by the idea of being fast. (Ironically, I think my parents had the same preoccupation; I recall many evening hours spent scowling down a twice-baked cheese potato, with the rest of the dinner table long since cleared and vacated, while my mom begged me to please finish eating.)
The other bit of personal irony here is that my fascination with people going fast ultimately led me to join the high school track team, as a sprinter. The slowest sprinter on the squad. My buddy Mark and I had a fierce ongoing struggle in our first year of track to avoid that dreaded last place. He won–he quit.
There’s so much irony in the concept of super speed. The idea, for example, that a speedster might have the strength to withstand the massive G-forces of circling the globe in seconds, but his clothes don’t. (Anyone care to invent The Mighty Streaker? I guess not.) Or the concept of a hero with lightning fast leg muscles, but ordinary reflexes. (Face, meet wall.)
Or the idea that a speedster’s bones and ligaments might be so worn down by years of creating whirlwinds around villains that, in his old age, he can hardly walk at all. Where would all that energy go? In Swifty, it has fermented quite naturally into vinegar and vitriol.
Swifty is then, perhaps, the SuperFogey most deserving of sympathy, although–like the best of literary curmudgeons–he hides his palpitating heart beneath a crusty prickly shell. Some of my favorite SuperFogeys moments have involved Swifty: His race with Cami, his need/hate relationship with the Space Pig, and the whole Bubbles of Light storyline (which has yet to fully yield us all its secrets).
Altogether, I think it’s fair to say Swifty is my favorite Fogey (not factoring in all the lookers of the Fogeyverse, of course; Swifty does nothing for a catsuit the way Spy Gal does). Maybe it’s because he’s such a richly nuanced character, full of layers and inner turmoil.
Or maybe–a bit like Swifty–I’m just steamed that I can’t be as fast as those darn kids.
Happy 5th anniversary Brock and Swifty!