Could a Juggling Superhero Exist?

hermannism“Look, up in the sky, it’s the Super Juggler,” is something you have never heard for two reasons. One, a juggling superhero would not fly; it makes no sense. His super skill would be throwing and catching and object manipulation, or some combination thereof. Theoretically he could be in the sky if dropped from a blimp, but that could not happen because of reason number two: he doesn’t exist. But could he?

To be considered a superhero, the individual must be super, of course, in that she must possess some sort of talent or ability that other, non-supery people do not. And she must be a hero, so she must show courage and fortitude when attempting to right a wrong, instead of soiling her underpants at the first sign of danger.

Before we see how The Juggler compares, let’s review the special talents of established superheroes.

Batman’s talent is being rich and having a butler, a talent many of us would gladly accept if given the chance. Spiderman is really good at littering all around town, forcing overworked janitors to clean his cobwebs from difficult-to-reach places. Iron Man wears a fancy suit. I wore a fancy suit to my brother’s wedding, and I didn’t feel super until I closed the open bar. Aquaman can breathe underwater, just like six of seven trillion other organisms…yawn. And the Hulk gets angry, destroys whatever is near, and then wakes up the next morning with his clothes ripped to shreds, just like my drunk Uncle Earl.

None of these ‘proven’ superheroes could hold The Super Juggler’s prop bag.

The Super Juggler would throw with unmatched precision, able to keep nine balls flowing in a room with 10-foot ceilings. The typical villain may chuckle at such a feat, until The Super Juggler launches his perfectly-propelled projectiles onto the bad man’s head and groin areas, knocking him unconscious as he tried to flee.

The most evil villains—such as The Joker, Dr. Octopus, or Donald Trump—may not fear a prodigious ball-popper when hand-to-hand combat is in store. So The Super Juggler would take it up a notch with clubs, blocking their punches and bruising their faces with the grace and fury of a nunchucking ninja.

When you think about, The Super Juggler could use many tools of our trade to dispense his busking brand of juggling justice. You’d be surprised at how much bodily damage a well-wielded ball poi can do, or a yo-yo with enough heft, or possibly a diabolo tricked out with razors around the cups. And let’s not overlook the slicing, dicing, pureeing power of juggling knives.

Of course, The Super Juggler’s weapon of choice is not important. But his ride is. The best superheroes have the best rides—the Batmobile, Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet, George Clooney’s Supermodel Pleasure Yacht—so must The Super Juggler. His ride would be simple, powerful and easy to park: a rocket-powered unicycle. No helmet needed.

So The Juggler could be super, that is agreed; but could he be a hero? He may not combat evil or deter crime, but he does overcome something much more insidious: boredom. He shows great courage and fortitude by stepping onto the stage or calling attention to himself on the street, confronting the oppressive boredom that forces the good people of our planet to uncontrollably yawn.

But wait. Many of us dexterously defy gravity with special gadgets. We heroically spread smiles wherever we go. So can any of us become a juggling superhero? Nope.

There is one more element that a juggler must possess before donning tights and telling everyone how super he is. I was told about this essential talent by none other than Ivan Pecel—a cruising enthusiast who gets paid to juggle small humans. In his tweet to me (because real men tweet each other, often late at night while wearing colorful pajamas), Ivan suggested that the quintessential power of any potential juggling superhero is “to NOT repel the opposite sex with juggling.”

As if that was possible. And that is why The Juggler will never be officially “super.” Which is perfectly fine, because in his heart he will always be super awesome.


Jonathan Hermann juggles words, balls and small children in Alexandria, Virginia.

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