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Mike once dreamed of owning x-ray glasses. When he was seven, a neighbor introduced him to comic books. When Michael Jackson was black, and Johnny Carson ruled late night TV, his world became one of super fantasy: flying men in bright underwear and capes, web shooters, supermen, and even a hero who would grow big and strong and turn green when he became angry. There was something in the idea that a single twist of luck, a lightning bolt, could transform even a quiet child living in base housing, still grieving over a cat dead with cancer, into something great. Perhaps, because of his distinct lack of possessions, the other fantasies he indulged in were the scores of advertisements in these books for hovercrafts, trick gum, magic tricks, fake throw-up, live trainable sea monkeys, and x-ray glasses. The ad for x-ray glasses was always prominent in the magazines novelty section. Those swirling, mystical lenses would taunt him, pushing out the fart cushions, with the embarrassed man who supposedly passed gas, onion gum and two-headed quarters. There was always this picture of a goofy, sneering man with unkempt hair wearing them, the silhouette of a naked woman in the lenses. “Incredible” the ad called them. His fantasies of using these very cool instruments evolved over time. Early on, he had mixed ideas of their usefulness. As one option, he considered peering inside the pockets of idiots who likely had a gun or a bomb on them planning to rob a bank or store. Turning them in, he envisioned how he would be showered with cash gifts and great medals and kissed on the cheek by Cindy Lauper. Those glasses would be his lightning bolt, transforming him from a snotty military kid into a star.

As he grew older, and began to have fitful dreams involving the girls’ PE coach, with her tight, polyester shorts and her paddle with the holes in it, he discovered new uses for those x-ray glasses, and that was sex. It was the ultimate cheat. No girl would be safe. He would know every secret, every forbidden zone of their bodies. Ironically, however, at the same time that he had a little idea what to do with those zones. In his fantasies the glasses would allow him to overpower them, making them vulnerable to him, satisfying the growing oddness emerging from his body. He had no evil intentions just extra hormones. Sadly, before he could ever earn the funds to actually buy a pair of these wonderful devices, a friend told him that they were a fraud. He also confessed, “They look pretty goofy wearing them anyway!” So Mike avoided public comment on his need for this secret power and moved on with his life. Sadly he never got his glasses. Now Mike is a scientist whom some might call Mad. He spends his every daily waking hour trying to create real x-ray glasses. Several times he has almost discovered them too. Will he ever make them? Maybe he will. Not even he knows the answer to that. What could happen in his lab? There could be some kind of scientific breakthrough. Mike would make the comic book companies quite a bit of money if he did this. And then he will have his x-ray glasses, which he so desperately needed. Many hope one day he will find whatever is missing in his equation, do you?

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