My biggest childhood fear? Being bitten by a radioactive stink bug

imageFor most of us, there comes a time in our lives when we must face the truth, and accept the fact we will never actually possess any type of super-human powers. This includes the ability to fly, shoot laser beams out of our eyes, or look good in a skin-tight costume.

As a child, I spent countless hours thumbing through comic books and dreaming of the day I would be bitten by a radioactive insect — and knowing full well that, with my luck, it would probably be something stupid like a moth:

Curses! It’s Moth Man, here to foil my evil plans! HOW CAN I STOP HIM! Hey… maybe I’ll try this porch light…”

In fact, I was so sure that I would end up as a lame super hero that, with the help of my friends, we came up with a plan to MAKE me into “Spider-man” before there was any chance of me being bitten by a radioactive moth, ear wig, silverfish or stink bug.

Our plan was simple.

Step one: Find a spider (preferably a small one) and expose it to high levels of radiation.

Step two: Make it bite me. 

Now, finding just the right spider proved tricky. That’s because there were certain genetic traits that I did not want incorporated into my DNA. For example, really hairy spiders were out. So were those spiders with the big squishy bulb in the back. Maintaining a secret identity was going to be crucial, and trying to do that as a seven-year-old with a giant rear end and thick body hair would be nearly impossible

After eventually capturing the perfect spider specimen, it was time to expose it to high levels of radiation. This, of course, meant gaining unfettered access to the most potent source of radiation at our disposal: The microwave oven.

Since there’s a good chance that many of you are actually reading this at breakfast, I’ll spare you the details and just tell you that I never ate out of that microwave again. I also never gained any super powers. I did, however, gain an appreciation for the super powerful absorbancy of Brawny paper towels.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because of an incident last week that proves that there ARE those among us who aren’t willing to give up the dream of having super powers. According to a CNN report, a man entered a bank in Utah, walked across a lobby full of customers, and began taking handfuls of money from the vault without filling out a withdrawl slip — which he didn’t figure he needed to since he was completely invisible.

In fact, it wasn’t until being tackled from all sides by bank security and a mob of angry customers that he suspected his invisibility scroll, which he’d purchased from a “sorcerer” for $625, might not be working.

Though it’s true the incident ended badly for him, it’s a real positive for the rest of us if this is the direction that super villains are headed. Heck, maybe it’s time I pulled out my old Moth-Man costume?

Assuming it doesn’t have holes in it…



This has been an excerpt from Ned’s book, Humor at the Speed of Life, available from Port Hole Publishing, Amazon Books, Barnes and Noble or the trunk of Ned’s car! Here’s the reaction from Canadian humorist Ross Murray and his dog, who asked not to be identified…


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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

41 thoughts on “My biggest childhood fear? Being bitten by a radioactive stink bug”

  1. I specifically told the fool, when I sold him that scroll, that it only worked if he were naked. He’ll be wanting his money back, I suppose… *sigh*

  2. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to scream during the first portion of this post. I’ve been terrified of spiders ever since my dad sent me to the movies with my two older brothers. I was maybe 6, my brothers were teenagers, and the movie was The Incredible Shrinking Man. During the scene where the star was fighting that giant (to him) spider, I tried to crawl under the seat while my brothers laughed hysterically. I can’t imagine WANTING to become a spider, nor will I ever look at a microwave again without thinking of your story.

    As for the Invisible Man, it’s probably just bad luck that he managed to pick the one bank in the country where other patrons would be able to see him. Probably a time warp or dimensional glitch or something. I’m sure he’s totally invisible in jail.

  3. Curse you, Ned Hickson! Or Moth Man. Or whatever you’re going by today. Another keyboard ruined. (I should contact the folks in charge of this sort of thing, and find out why I can’t buy one impervious to spewed Earl Grey tea!)

    Oh, and by the way . . . the Blue Ridge Mountains called. They want their Moth Man back!! Yes. You read correctly. Google it and weep. Moth Man LIVES. (Or at least the rumored sightings of him do.) They made a movie about him, and everything. (Ask Richard Gere. I hear he’s still attracted to porch lights to this day, him being a method actor and all.)

    Going out back now, where the only thing with super powers are the birdseed stealing squirrels. Minions of Satan, every one of them! (Thanks for the guffaw, though.) 😀

      1. I’ll be the judge of that! Send me a picture of you as MothMan so I can decide. I promise I won’t share it on Facebook, Twitter, or InstaGram. No, I mean it. I won’t. Probably. 😀

  4. What? Not all scrolls work? Darn. I wonder if I can get a refund…thanks for the chuckle. I believe we all have super powers; some are just not as visible as others, and some we don’t want, but we’ve got them anyway. My son has the power to make me laugh, anytime, anywhere.

  5. I always hoped for telekinesis myself, or maybe the powers of Magneto, who can lift bridges and move metal and such. The thing is, I don’t know for sure if I’d use my powers for good. I’d probably end up doing little things like nudging cars out of my way in a traffic jam, or remotely turning down the stereo system that’s pounding on the other side of my apartment wall. And such.

No one is watching, I swear...

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