• Michael Ruscoe

I'm Assembling the Avengers Because I Don't Remember What Day It Is

Honestly, if I didn’t have Google Calendar to remind me, I wouldn’t have any idea what day it is. The other day, my daughter woke me up out of a sound sleep (and sure, it was eleven in the morning, but really, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE ANYMORE) to ask me for help on a shelter-at-homework assignment (she needed to write a paper on a U.S. president. She had to choose one and write about two of his domestic programs and one foreign program, and then write about how he’s remembered in history. FDR is a personal hero of mine, and she knows I admire TR as well. But I told her to go with Nixon, because the Roosevelt boys will be too popular with her classmates, and who else among them would choose the Trickster? Besides, some of the weirdest Hunter S. Thompson writing is about Nixon, and my beautiful little girl’s sense of humor is strangely, almost disturbingly, similar to that of Thompson’s, and in the end, why not?)

But I digress.

So she woke me up out of a sound sleep, and my first waking thought upon hearing her ringtone was, “Why is she waking me up on a Saturday?” Which would have been a legitimate question to ask if it weren’t actually Wednesday.

Where was I? Oh, right. Google Calendar. Anyway, I looked at my Google Calendar this morning, and I saw that today, May 1, was scheduled to be the release date for the latest Marvel blockbuster, Black Widow.

Did I feel a tinge of sadness knowing that thanks to the coronavirus, my local theater would be full of emptiness instead of a rabid pack of fanboys and girls cheering on the distaff Avenger? Sure I did. But now, all these weeks into our national sheltering-in-place, I’ve grown accustomed to these occasional tinges of sadness. James Bond? He’s double-O-gone. Opening Day of the baseball season? Three strikes, it’s out.

So Black Widow? Absolutely, I miss her. But at this point, The New Normal has become so...well, normal, that I almost don’t remember what it’s like to sit in a packed movie theater and cheer for the Avengers as they beat back some trivial little inconvenience like an alien horde invading the Earth. Unlike the coronavirus, we can see the alien horde. There they are, right there, in all their computer-generated glory. OK, Thanos, you have an army of Outriders? Well, we have a Hulk. And a Giant-Man. And a Valkyrie. And a Captain Marvel (even though I wasn’t particularly a fan of her movie. Bad script. The character had too many motives and emotions ascribed to her that she didn’t earn). So come at me, Thanos. We have plenty of superheroes to kick your purple ass.

That got me thinking: Exactly how would I deploy the Avengers against the coronavirus? What might the best use of their talents be? Join me, won’t you, in this completely pointless exercise...

  • Let’s start with the easiest and most obvious: The Hulk is going to the grocery store to buy me toilet paper. Honestly, this is a no-brainer. And I’ll try to get him to wear a mask, but I’m not sure that’s going to work out. Because if all the guy ever wears is a stretchy pair of purple pants, a mask likely isn’t going to happen.

  • Iron Man will be flying in constant formation over my apartment to make sure the wi-fi stays on. Because if I lose my wi-fi, it’s OVER.

  • I’m sending Hawkeye out hunting for whatever he can catch. If the food chain does actually break down, we’re going to be eating whatever we can catch. Rabbit stew, anyone? Squirrel omelette? Gopher fajita? Raccoon-fried rice?

  • Thor and his buddy Korg are staying right here with me, in the apartment. Did you see them in Avengers: Endgame? The God of Thunder and a dude made of rocks on an indefinite chill, hanging out, drinking beer and playing video games. Now THAT’S the way to spend a pandemic.

  • Captain America? Again, easy. He’s going straight to the White House to assume the duties of President of the United States of America. Sure, I’m giving him the toughest job, but I know he can handle it. I also know that he absolutely would have the best interests of the American people at heart, 24 hours a day (instead of, say, doing something completely BATSHIT CRAZY like, I don’t know, staying up all night and rage-tweeting about the “terrible injustice” of journalists winning “Noble Prizes” for their coverage of Russian interference in our elections, which ABSOLUTLEY HAPPENED because even the Republican-led Senate says so, and honestly, what in the living hell is the current faux-POTUS doing tweeting about “Noble Prizes” when Americans are dying by the tens of thousands, and Jesus Christ, you orange-skinned monstrosity, will you FOR ONCE, for ONE TIME in your miserable, God-forsaken life, be HONEST WITH US and give it to us straight and tell us what’s actually going on, because even your own experts say that there’s no planet in the universe where five million people a day are being tested and goddammit we’re all doomed. Oh, right—language. Sorry, Cap).

But again, I digress.

And what about Black Widow? What will she do? Simply put—nothing. She’s going to be stored in a vault, in a mylar bag, inside an acid-free box. She is to be kept ABSOLUTELY SAFE. Because when all this is over, when I can once more wake up knowing what day of the week it is, she needs to be healthy and whole and ready to spring into action on big screens all over the world. I’m going to need her to remind me of my previous life, and of what it’s like to sit in a movie theater full of people.

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