Frankie is tough. No doubt about it. She can hold her own (or better) in a fight with her husband (a real fight, not an argument), so he prefers not to go that route. She’s too heavy-handed, literally, and by the way, she’s a heavy sleeper, too. Once she’s solidly into getting her z’s, a tornado couldn’t wake her.

I think I know why. She used to be a superhero. That’s my guess, anyway. But she got seriously sleep-deprived. Night after night, after everybody else had gone to bed, she stayed up to save people. It was bad enough to lose sleep, but then she also to put up with the occasional broken knuckles, the brushes with death when a perpetrator had a surprise doomsday weapon, the glass shards in her person when she was thrown (or jumped) through a window.

But what finally made her quit (I’m still guessing here) was the lack of gratitude on the part of the victims. You’d think they’d be all “thank you” and “how can I ever repay you?” But they took her for granted because they had such high expectations from their superheroes. Their responses were less than gracious. “Took you long enough to get here.” “You looked better on TV.” “Spandex really isn’t your best look.”

So now Frankie is a normal human being who hasn’t caught up on her sleep after all those thankless years of superhero-ing.

Once Frankie and I had a couple of beers together and I began to tell her about my speculation. But I stopped short. That would be accusing her of quitting. So I waffled. “Your job, your family, your house, your duct tape art projects. You truly are a superhero. I don’t know how you do it.”

Her only answer was to crush her beer can between both palms, accordion style, uncrush it, and pick her teeth with its pointed shard.

I like to think that if I was ever in danger, Frankie would revert to superheroism. I think (still a guess) that she’s considering it. She’s been watching comedians a lot, and I’ve seen her pay particular attention to the heckling responses. I think (more than a guess now) when she has enough comebacks gathered together, she make a superhero comeback. She’s still got it in her to do the right thing.

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