By Purba Ray Mar. 07, 2018
Spider-Man is on a new mission now. After setting the world right, he’s ready to set his home right. What good are his superpowers if he can’t make the dishes sparkle, the carpet bright, and the floors shiny and white?
It all started when Spider-Man read a meme that went viral. It was about him. Someone had called him the most stupid superhero of all, for wearing his underwear over his head. That state-of the-art mask that took him several back-breaking hours and numerous visits to the pharmacy for bottles of Maybelline’s glossy-mossy superlicious liquid liner, to make, was now a joke.
Only a moron could mistake those carefully drawn doe eyes for leg holes! Mr Spider-Man was afflicted with a mid-height crisis. He hung between skyscrapers for days, coloured his hair orange, waxed his chest hair, got drunk on root beer, and tried hitting on Sarah Jessica Parker. (Boy, did she have bony hands! That slap stung for days.)
To think he had squeezed himself into lycra and spandex, crept up buildings, clung to inanimate objects, performed death-defying stunts to save distressed souls, for no pay to only become a meme? After months of introspection and a vacation in Koh Phi Phi, a tanned Spidey was back in his apartment to hang up his superhero costume forever.
But at home, another crisis awaited. Mrs Spider-Man was pissed off, as she usually was. Spidey had been an irresponsible and selfish husband and Mary Jane was not ready to forgive him in a hurry. It took him hours of intense cajoling and buckets of tears, before an enraged Mrs Spider-Man finally let him in.
So he wooed her with all the skills he had picked up in Thailand. But was only when MJ burped with satisfaction after a meal of Chuchi Pla Kaphong and Kaeng Hang Le with steamed rice, could Spider-Man sigh with relief. Watching his beloved shovel her meal down her throat, Spidey felt a gentle tug at his heartstrings.
Fighting crime was so much simpler than fighting grime.
He took her hands in his, looked deeply into her eyes and murmured, “Don’t worry about the dishes, my love. I’ll take care of them.”
An hour later, the kitchen sparkling clean and the dishes dry and smelling nice, Spidey was consumed with a feeling of contentment that he had not experienced in a long time. He had made up his mind. He would spend the rest of his life at home dedicating himself to his wife and housework. The house would be his domain if the world didn’t want him.
Spider-Man was on a new mission now. After setting the world right, he would set his home right (TBH, Mary Jane had been a lousy housekeeper and would only make him mac and cheese, while holding down her middle-management corporate executive job). And what good were his superpowers if he couldn’t make the dishes sparkle, the carpet bright, and the floors shiny and white?
His World Wide Web had now shrunk to the home page.
However, home care turned out to be tougher than Spidey had imagined. It involved waking up to the shrill sound of the alarm clock and no coffee, going to the supermarket and having to choose between a toilet cleaner with bleach or pomegranate scent… large or extra-large cage-free eggs… milk with 3 per cent or 5 per cent fat… dishwashing powder with powerball or shine enhancers… coming home to laundry and a pyramid of ironing, tending to simmering pots of gravy with a burnt finger.
At the end of a day he’d feel like a dishrag, wrung out of any desire, except the one to sleep a long, deep sleep.
When Spider-Man got a precious few minutes to himself, all he could do was reminisce about his glory days. He missed killing Vulture, chasing runaway lab experiments, and posing for newspaper pictures. He now cleaned cobwebs instead of making them. The spider community refused to look him in the eye.
Cooking a three-course meal and seeing MJ gulp it down in ten minutes was somehow not as fulfilling. When was the last time she had marvelled at how hard he worked to make her life a breeze? Never in his life had he felt so unappreciated. MJ was either too busy chasing targets or dreaming of greatness to notice his back-breaking housework, and then too tired to listen to how tired he was.
Fighting crime was so much simpler than fighting grime. In these dark moments, Spider-Man finally understood – playing the supportive spouse was a pretty fuck-all job.
As for Mrs Spider-Man, the first few weeks were bliss. Shorn of chores and the guilt of not doing them well, she felt ready to soar towards the sky. She would come home to a clean house, a warm meal based off Nigella’s newest recipe. An exhausted husband whose headache wouldn’t go away was a small price to pay for a life she could only have dreamt of previously.
It all started when Spider-Man read a meme that went viral.
But Spidey had started to be a nag. One day, she dropped aloo matar on the carpet and Spider-Man let out a blood-curdling scream, looked accusingly at her before running into the store to fetch the stain remover.
In the days to follow she would get screamed at for not keeping the toilet seat up, dropping her wet towel on the floor, shedding too much hair on the carpet, not taking out the garbage, for never having enough time for him. And when Mary Jane tried lending a hand, it was never good enough for him. She never folded the laundry right, her chopping was never good enough, she was lousy and always cutting corners. And then every second day, Spidey would turn around and ask – Is my ass getting bigger? Her superhero husband had turned into a super nag.
So she started staying late at work, went drinking with friends and came back home only when he was fast asleep. Her affair with her executive assistant was a disaster: He fancied himself as Dark Knight and would insist she dress up as Bane! When she tried, her voice was never deep enough, she wasn’t mean enough, her toy guns weren’t impressive… God, men could be such crib-pots!
She knew she was heading toward hell until she chanced upon Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – A Practical Guide to the Fulfilment of your Dreams. The book brought her face-to-face with her destiny.
That night when she tried on Spider-Man’s discarded suit, it felt so good! Mary Jane was ready to save the world. But more importantly, she was ready to save herself from her husband.
PS: Spidey watched all this from the kitchen and like many women before him, wished he’d made different life choices. But now there was no turning back. MJ refused to take off the damn suit but on good days, she offered to cook him a nice Indian meal.
Nearly funny, almost liberal, rarely serious, Purba likes to keep a safe distance from perfection. Unfortunately she has an opinion on everything, fact or fiction, beginnings or ends, light or heavy, long and short.