The Editors of Psychic Sass Magazine were given permission to interview a junior faculty member at the secretive Brinwood Academy—an institution thought to be dedicated to the education of children with “super powers.” The faculty member granted access on the condition of anonymity, so he appears here as “Tim Tedesco.” Molly Sinclair conducted the interview for Psychic Sass, at a sidewalk cafe near the campus.
Molly: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
Tim: My pleasure.
Molly: So tell us about the super powers of the students at Brinwood. These are kids who can set people on fire, stretch themselves around buildings, fly into and out of a room so fast people can’t see them — that kind of thing?
Tim: Oh, no. You only see that sort of thing at quasi government facilities. Those kids are very difficult to handle. We get far more subtle manifestations.
Molly: Such as?
Tim: We have a kid who can seal shut cereal boxes so tight they can’t be opened even with dynamite. You can imagine how frustrating that was for his parents.We have a young woman who can make people see horrific representations of themselves in any mirror. She was an enemy you didn’t want to have in junior high. We have a kid who can make you feel as though there is very sticky glue on the bottom of your feet. If you’ve ever been the victim of it, it’s very unpleasant.
Molly: And all of the instructors have a super power of that sort as well?
Molly: So what is yours?
Tim: It’s a little odd.
Molly: Tell us.
Tim: Well, I have the power to instantly remove the elasticity in peoples’ underwear.
Molly: You’re joking.
Tim: No. When I was a youngster, it seemed like a really sad super power, but I’ve learned–and this is the case with almost any super power–even a simple tool can be used to great advantage.
Molly: How so? In your case?
Tim: Well, there isn’t a person on the planet who doesn’t want tight, snug underwear around the waistband. It doesn’t matter if you’re morbidly obese or a skinny little Vogue model. Underwear must be tight.
Molly: But how do you use that to your advantage?
Tim: Well, imagine you’re buying a car and you have a really pushy salesman who just will not stop hounding you to sign on the dotted line. I can guarantee the moment he starts to feel his underpants fall down around his middle, he’ll lose his concentration.
Molly: You don’t loosen their outer garments though.
Tim: No, of course not. I don’t even have that power, and I wouldn’t use it if I did. But that sensation of losing your underpants, underneath your clothing, is just awful.
Molly: I guess I’m not—forgive me—seeing that as a super power.
Tim: See that fellow talking over there? See how confident he looks? The way he’s speaking with his hands to those coeds?
Tim: Watch this.
Molly: Oh my.
Tim: He’s suddenly a lot less animated, isn’t he? He looks distracted. He’s not speaking with his hands anymore is he? It looks like he’s fighting the urge to rearrange things. Shore things up.
Molly: I shouldn’t laugh.
Tim: Well, it’s not as though you leave people exposed. It’s just a confidence check. I’ve been saved from a few muggings in bad neighborhoods.
Tim: Well, imagine, you need to run off with someone’s wallet, and suddenly your underpants lose their starch. Not to be too course about things, but if you don’t have “loin confidence”— with all the various body business that goes on down there—you don’t have any confidence. People mistake this garment explosion for, well, other sorts of explosions.
Molly: Did you have trouble controlling this power as a youngster?
Tim: I did. A bully once put me in a headlock at a junior high dance and I loosened the underpants of everyone in the room at once. Not too much dancing after that. And it created a kind of group neurosis. No one could talk about the problem they were were having, and when one very gabby girl mentioned her problem, everyone started talking about it. The truth is, I found it powerfully depressing. There was a girl there that I was very sweet on. She had been looking forward to that dance and the experience ruined it for her. I felt so bad for spoiling her day. She had been talking about her dress all week. My desire to get back at the bully broke her heart.
Molly: So there are ethical dimensions to these super-powers?
Tim: Of course. I only use my underpants powers for the good of humankind.
Molly: So, um, I need to know what this is like, to see if it’s real.
Tim: Oh please no.
Molly: I insist.
Tim: Are you sure?
Molly: Go ahead.
Tim: Very well.
Molly: Go ahead.
Tim: I did.
Molly: I don’t feel anything.
Tim: Stand up.
Molly: Oh my! That’s.. it’s like they are five sizes too large. That’s awful. Put them back.
Tim: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought that much was clear. I can’t. I don’t have that super-power.