Personal trainer with the frame of a pro football safety. Bronzed brown skin and a glowing white smile. Single father of two. Drives a fly car with huge exhaust pipes and licorice colored windows. Super cool and easy to get along with.  A good role model to kids in the neighborhood. Work first so you can play afterwards, that was his motto.   Considered a Super Dad by almost all that knew him.  Shawn Powers was his name.  His life was anything but typical, and he enjoyed every moment of it.

He had two kids, Shawn Jr. (also known as Lil’ Shawn) and Tracey.  He loved to spend time with them, enjoy the weather when it was nice out, take them to the library to exercise their minds, or just play ‘super heroes’ in the house on rainy days.  He played with Lil’ Shawn on the basketball hoop in his driveway, next to the grill where he would make the best turkey burgers and grilled vegetables in the neighborhood; the succulent smell wafting up and down the street, beckoning kids to come and join in on he and Lil’ Shawn’s burger and basketball fun.   He’d race Tracey to the end of the block and back, letting her believe she was the fastest girl on the planet, almost as if she had wings as she whizzed past daddy and she beat him.    He loved to travel, with his kids and by himself when on business trips.  Anywhere with a beach was his favorite, as long as he could figure out a way to get a workout in during his stay.  Hotels and resorts had fitness centers, but Shawn felt right at home with equipment as simple as monkey bars and his own body weight.  He was what you might call a ‘gym rat’, except he didn’t always need the gym to get a workout in.  Often, he would travel to tropical islands and other warm places for fitness conferences, networking with others in his field.

superdad.jpg

On a typical business trip, Lil’ Shawn and Tracey would stay with their Grandmother while their dad was away.  He always promised to bring them back something special each time he left and he would always return with gifts they loved.  Local artifacts and currency, handcrafted dolls for Tracey, international soccer jerseys for Lil’ Shawn, gifts beaming with mystical, exotic wonder.  His bag was always filled with essentials: three pairs of sneakers, 2 pairs of dress shoes, workout clothes, 2 suits, laptop and cell phone with chargers, resistance bands, push up bars and swimming trunks.  Every trip for him was equal parts business and pleasure.  Work Hard.  Play Afterwards.

One particular trip to a Caribbean Island would change his life forever.  Shawn’s day started like any other day on an island would…on the beach!   The incandescent sun and the sand created the perfect outdoor backdrop.  He had a great beach workout, including pushups, 100 jumping jacks, and ‘quicksand’ wind sprints.  As he finished his last sprint, he noticed a blanket of dark, rolling clouds approaching.  A storm was coming.  Luckily, he finished just in time.  He left the beach and headed to the local street market for some fresh fruit for his post workout protein shake.  He stopped at a tree stand, operated by a tall, thin man with coal black skin and long, tangled dreadlocks.  He ordered a pineapple. The dreadlocked man looked at the cloud, scampered up the tree, snatched a pineapple, and slid back down.  Shawn paid the man, who then grabbed a machete to chop the pineapple so he can enjoy it.  Suddenly, a grumbling thunder crashed, followed by a piercing jolt of lightning, attracted to the sliver glint of the machete. BOOM! The lightning snatched the machete’s blade.  The dreadlocked man dropped the machete immediately and it struck the pineapple, splitting it in half perfectly.  Just as quickly, the dark storm cloud moved away.  Shawn and the dreadlocked man both wiped their brows in relief, and peered at each other quizzically, furtive side –eyes questioning if they’d both just witnessed the same thing.  Shawn took the pineapple and everyone ran for shelter as it was now raining cats and dogs.

Back in his resort suite by this time, Shawn made a protein shake using his portable blender.  He used orange juice had left over from his room service breakfast, a few ice cubes from the lobby ice machine, and the pineapple he had bought from the tree stand, as well as his favorite protein powder.   He mixed all of the ingredients together, removed the top to the blender, which also doubled as tumbler cup, and began to drink his protein shake.  He finished the entire shake, and then began to feel funny.  He felt a sharp, piercing pain, his stomach clenched, and he doubled over.  Then, a sudden jolt went through his body, which lifted his body upright, then went away just as quickly.  Shawn suddenly felt fine.  He was sure exactly what happened.  Reassuring himself that this was nothing out of the ordinary, he thought maybe the half-day-old orange juice was what caused it.  Whatever the case, he felt extra energized, a lightening spring in his step, and extra power in his pro safety sized frame. He noticed it had stopped raining, so he decided to go back out on the beach and do some pull ups since he felt so good.  

The jungle gym in the sand adjacent to his resort caught his attention.  There were a few children frolicking in the area, while their parents, likely also staying at the resort, took the opportunity to enjoy the renewed tropical sunshine.  There was a group of locals playing soccer in the sand all the while tropical birds provided the ambient music.  Shawn did his pull ups as he usually would: 10….brief rest…10 more…brief rest.  By the third round of 10, Shawn noticed he didn’t need as much rest.  He completed 10, then 20, then 30, then 40, then 50 more pull-ups…nonstop! He descended from the jungle gym, not to rest, but simply because he was awestruck, that he pulled off such a daunting feat without even one trickle of a sweat bead.  In the midst of his unexpected self-admiration, he heard a faint, creaking, snapping noise.  One of the palm trees had been struck by lightning from the storm earlier, and a large section of the tree was falling, directly above the frolicking kids, who were oblivious to the danger above.   Shawn, attempted to yell to get someone’s attention, but the noise of the outside activity coupled with the distance between his location and the tree drowned out his baritone voice.  With no time to think, Shawn bolted towards the tree, so fast that the wind from his sprint left a jet stream of sand behind him.  He ran around Rastas, turned around tourist, and hurdled hammocks until he arrived at falling tree, which was just a few feet away from the heads of the children.  Onlookers yelled in fear as the thought the tree would surely fall on the kids and crush them.  With not an instant to waste, Shawn got under the tree to shield the kids from the impact, sacrificing his own safety for the well-being of the children.  Instinctively, he put his hands up in attempt to catch the falling tree, although logically this was an impossible feat.  He closed his eyes, thinking he may never see his own children again, but he hoped they would be honored knowing he died trying to save the lives of other children.

Suddenly, he heard a thunderous roar of cheers and applause.  As he opened his eyes, he saw a large crowd, made of up local and tourist onlookers, resort employees and parents of the children, gathered around in admiration of what had just taken place.  He looked up and noticed he was holding the fallen tree, which was 10 times his size and weight!  He had absolutely no idea of how he ran so fast or had enough strength to hold up a tree with his bare hands. With no immediate explanation, he gently put the tree down, and was almost instantaneously mobbed by supporters, who hoisted him in the air in celebration.  “He must be a superhero!” exclaimed on woman.  “I’ve never seen a real life person with super powers!” said a young boy to his sister.  “I wonder what his name is?” asked one of the locals.  “Mr. Powers! Mr. Powers!” shouted the resort manager.  “We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciate for your heroic efforts by offering you a complimentary stay on the island, courtesy of the resort.”  The crowd erupted in cheers.  “Also, we will be throwing a huge celebration in your honor.  I proclaim tomorrow Mr. Powers day!”  Applause and cheers commenced, once again, and eventually people began to disperse and enjoy the rest of the beautiful day on the island.  Shawn, astonished by what he accomplished and the reaction by all of the witnesses, went back to his suite, plopped onto the plush pillow top mattress, and stared at the ceiling fan, puzzled, while soaking in all of the events of the day.

After lying in an eyes-open, pinch-me-if-I’m-dreaming state for a little over an hour, Shawn finally figured it out!  The surprising stamina that helped him complete 80 pull-ups in a row. The increased sense of hearing that allowed him to hear the tree breaking three football fields in the distance. The blazing speed that got him to the falling tree in less than 30 seconds.  The inhuman strength that allowed him to catch the tree and save the children.  All of these new powers came from one source: the electrified pineapple!  He immediately grabbed his laptop, did an internet search on pineapples, electricity, and his blood type and found some very astonishing results.  He then called his best friend Kasey, who was a Biochemist, to speak to her about his findings.  “Kasey, I have to talk to you as SOON as I get home.  You won’t BELIEVE this!”  “Ok,” she said.  “Can’t wait to hear it.”  He got off the phone, got back in the bed, and went to sleep with a smile and newfound knowledge that would change his life forever. 

 

The next day, he woke up to the clanging sound of steel drums playing outside his window, with the smell of fresh plantains on the grill, and the beaming rays of the sun, piercing through the shades and into his room.  As he stepped onto the balcony of his suite, he noticed a crowd of supporters all awaiting his arrival.  There were elegant spreads of every fruit and vegetable you could imagine, huge grills with fresh meats being smoked to perfection, and a 4-foot tall pineapple upside-down cake with a figurine on the top resembling an action figure.  Behind the wide array of food was a banner bearing his name.  This all made Shawn smile.  To him, he was just a regular guy, a father, a businessman, and a good person that would help whenever he could.  However, to everyone else, he wasn’t just regular.  He wasn’t just Shawn.  Like the banner said read, he was “Mr. Powers: Our SUPER HERO.”