From the Mind of Mr. Zeus, part 15

Yes, I know, I’m a day late with this post, just like last week. My excuse this time? A mix of procrastination and writer’s block. It happens more often than I care to admit, but I usually break through in time. Oh, well. Hope you enjoy the latest from the Z-man….

File #: 2018Q3
Subject: new issue of quarterly ‘Official Mr. Zeus Fanclub Newsletter’
Purpose: readers’ enjoyment/entertainment and (occasionally) education
Author: Mr. Zeus (aka <name unknown>; formerly known as Jacob Szymanski, aka “Hacksaw Jack”)

I’ve decided to do an all Q&A issue this quarter, folks. Enjoy!

“Q & A”

Q: Did you have a girlfriend when you were growing up? (Veronica W. of Redwood Falls, MN)

A: I had a couple, Veronica, but nothing serious. When I was in 5th & 6th grades, I sort of “went with” a girl in my class named Elaine Wing. She was kind of a tomboy, and when we were younger she often hung out with her twin brother, Danny, and Phil Messick and me. We were all best-buds. Then, around 5th grade, Elaine got more “girly” and she asked me if I wanted to be her boyfriend. I said ‘yes’. So, we split our time between hangin’ out with Danny and Phil and doing stuff on our own — like studying, watching TV, and just talking. Unfortunately, the Wings moved away after 6th grade. Then, in 9th grade I hit it off with “the new girl”, Jessica Franklin, who had just moved to the neighborhood. She wasn’t a tomboy, but we had similar interests and she was funny and smart and sweet. Of course, she was also very cute. We went out to movies sometimes, sports banquets, stuff like that. We tried being “a couple” for awhile in 10th grade, but we decided we were better off as “just friends”. (Still, I have to admit, I missed holding her hand and the occasional kiss.) We stayed friends for awhile, but then we lost touch after she went to college in Europe somewhere.

Q: What’s the biggest monster you ever fought? (Ford C. of Hampton, VA)

A: You might remember from a couple issues ago when Greg T. asked a question, and I mentioned fighting the Gargantosaur. That thing is over 200 feet tall and like a Godzilla come to life — superpowerful and bent on destruction! Then there was the Giant Blob from Outer Space — actually, Doc Matrix came up with a scientific name for it, but I can never remember it. It turned out to be merely a mindless amoeba that somehow got super-sized. But, at roughly 180 feet in diameter on average, it did a lot of damage to one area of Quebec before we heroes were able to stun and then destroy it. Third biggest foe was the 120-feet tall Mega-Ultroid that Dr. Maximus built and sicced on me, while I was attending an awards show. Fortunately, that was shortly after I had joined the Alliance of SuperHuman Adventurers. So, as soon as I saw it and realized the size of the threat (pardon the pun), I sent out an Alliance distress beacon. I managed to keep its attention (and laser-fire) on me by flying around its head and then leading it into the park to minimize damage. The rest of the team showed up within 5-10 minutes, and we disabled it within another 10. (No lives lost, though there were some injuries from the robot’s initial attack and subsequent stomping around.)

Q: Do you believe in aliens? (Jimmy K. of Hialeah, FL)

A: I assume you mean extraterrestrial and/or extradimensional races, Jimmy, and the answer is, “Yes, of course!” How can I be so sure? I have both fought with some aliens and against some! That’s right. You might be too young to remember, but one of my earliest, large-scale battles was during my first year as a costumed superhero, and it was against an insectoid race that tried to invade Earth. They were only 2-3 feet tall, and for some odd reason they focused their forces on Houston, TX, and Chicago, IL. But, there were many thousands of them, and their weaponry was impressive. Anyway, they claimed to be from a neighboring star system. (Oh, I teamed with a few other heroes at the time to help the National Guard and some well-armed citizens, and we put a stop to the invasion.) There were a couple other “close encounters” over the years that I am not allowed to talk about. Also, as I’m sure you know, there are a handful of superheroes and supervillains that claim to be from another planet or another dimension, and I believe some of them. So,… there ya go.

Q: What’s your favorite food? (Ben and Bernie M. of Sante Fe, NM)

A: Gotta say, I love a good steak, done medium-rare with maybe some garlic salt. (No steak sauce.) But, when I’m out, I often get a “surf and turf” option, ‘cuz I love fried shrimp, too. Other than that, I’m not really into fancy (or expensive) foods. I eat some pasta dishes (e.g., spaghetti & meatballs, carbonara, meat lasagna), and I treat myself to pizza now and then — usually, pepperoni w/ either sausage or ground beef. Then, of course, hamburgers are a favorite, either “fast food” or at home on the grill. I also like hot dogs (w/ mustard and ketchup, no relish), and mac-n-cheese brings back good memories from my childhood. Continuing with “junk food”, I love various chips and crackers (e.g., Doritos, Bugles, Ritz Bitz), and of course cookies (i.e., most anything w/ chocolate, PB, or mint). As for my favorite ice cream, I refer you to A.J.’s question from the 2018Q1 issue (aka “part 13“). Fortunately, my unusual metabolism and regular workouts allow me to consume the junk food and still stay healthy and maintain my “girlish figure”. (Yay!) Of course, I eat a lot of healthy things, too.

Q: Why don’t you wear a cape anymore? (McKenzie G. of Pocatello, ID)

A: Y’know, as much as I liked how it looked with my costume at the time, it was just more trouble than it was worth. I know that some costumed heroes, both real (e.g., Olympia, Gravitus) and fictional (e.g., Superman, Batman, Thor), wear them and only sometimes have issues. A cape can lend an air of majesty and authority to your appearance. Sometimes they can even be practical (e.g., to wrap up a civilian in for warmth and/or protection). Part of the real-life solution is to make sure it isn’t too long, so you don’t trip over it. You need it to be the right material for your purposes, ranging from thin-and-flimsy to fireproof or bulletproof or maybe laced with electronics. Another helpful feature is to have an automatic release somewhere on your person (e.g., collar, belt, wrist), which when pressed will immediately detach the cape from your neck/collar. This is useful when it gets caught in machinery or your combat opponent is using it to bind, blind, or strangle you. Of course, you have to be able to reach the release button at that moment, too. Also, the button (or lever or combo-lock, I suppose) needs to be protected from accidental activation the rest of the time. In the end, since I can fly and I’m already bulletproof, I don’t often have a need for a cape, so I just decided not to bother with one. Besides, you know what Edna Mode says… “No capes!”

Q: Do you collect anything? (Jake TwoTrees of Fort Collins, CO)

A: Thor comics, ever since I was a kid. (He was part of the inspiration for my ‘Mr. Zeus’ nom du guerre.) I had a penny collection when I was a kid, too, and lots of Hot Wheels. But, those are either lost or stored away in my Mom’s basement somewhere. I find interesting rocks and sometimes fossils when I’m hiking through woods or on mountains trails, and I often take them home with me. I guess you could call that a collection. (Nothing bigger than a football, though.) They make nice decorations in and around my house. A few years ago, I started collecting unusual albums from (somewhat) famous music artists that aren’t part of their better known discography. (For example, in addition to every album put out by the band Boston, I have almost every album that the members put out as solo artists, as members of other bands, or merely contributed to.) Also, my Mom and I collect mementos for each other from places we visit. Whenever I visit someplace overseas, I get her a nice souvenir that either has the location’s name on it or is somehow representative of the place. When she travels or shops in interesting tourist shops, she picks up something with a big-cat theme (e.g., lions, tigers, jaguars) for my collection that I started when I was 8. And, of course, there’s my prized Star Trek DVD collection, which I have mentioned before.

I hope you’ve had your curiosity about lil ol’ me satisfied for now. ‘Til next time, stay strong!

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2018.

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