As an example of a piece of vital social research with far-reaching implications for the Health of the Nation it may have its limitations - but as an exercise in encouraging a welcome touch of escapism in the interests
of extending a small boy’s mathematical know-how, it stands alone in my opinion.
Young Faris (aka The Rascal) took to social media to broadcast an
appeal on Friday - he needed to know, from as many people as possible, the name of their favourite super hero. To make this a little easier, we were given a list of well-known heroes: Batman, Super Girl, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk,
Spider Man, Cat Woman and Iron Man. The information supplied, The Rascal explained somewhat breathlessly, would be turned into a graph - and the more responses received, the trickier his graph would be.
I think it is safe to say that we rose to his challenge - by Sunday afternoon, a total of 108 votes had been cast and the Rascal’s proud mamma, Middle of the Darling Daughters, was dreaming up all kinds of additional
activities to keep her son occupied over the coming days. Who ever knew that Spider Man and Co could make such an important contribution to home schooling in the Lockdown Days.
Mr B opted for Superman while I voted for Batman, my choice influenced by a hilarious memory of a fancy dress party years ago when the Middle of the Darling Daughters dressed up as Batman, with her younger sister taking on the role of Batman’s
loyal side-kick, Robin. I kid you not, the two of them stayed in character for the entire evening which, given the amount of alcohol flowing, was a considerable achievement.
I am not alone in having a purely personal reason for my choice. My friend and former Brownie, Heidi, chose The Hulk on account of the fact that someone had to vote for him and “I feel so sorry for him and everyone gets angry sometimes.”
Another voter went for Superman purely because her son always called him Pooperman which made her laugh. Others were persuaded to vote for Super Girl, when my daughter let on that she was the choice of Lilia, (younger of the Twins by one important minute),
who was worrying that her favourite was being left behind in the Super Hero Stakes. This is what social researchers describe as the manipulation of public opinion...
If I were a betting person, I would have had a wager on Wonder Woman coming out on top. The tally of votes cast for her almost certainly reflect the number of people who joined the Middle of the Darling Daughters on a certain Significant Birthday when
they all dressed up as Wonder Woman. The sudden appearance of so many Wonder Women in one place was, indeed, a sight to see - while the willingness of the party guests to don the outfit was truly, well, heroic.
So it has turned out. Wonder Woman has nabbed 27of the 108 votes with Batman in second place on 15 votes; The Hulk has just the one. The art of persuasion, you will want to know, has resulted in a
creditable 7 votes for Lilia’s Super Girl. My daughter is so thrilled with the support shown for The Rascal’s initiative that she is planning further educational exercises involving Internet research on badges and the specific powers of each Super
Hero. It was suggested that she might get her son to tackle frequency distribution and probabilities now that teachers had been excused from teaching GCSE maths for the duration.
My Little Sister and her Fella nearly put a spanner in the works by nominating 99 year old Captain Tom, who has raised over £20million for NHS charities by setting out to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. Their nominations
had to be withdrawn because the Captain hadn’t appeared on the original list of Super Heroes.
Can you imagine if he had been? He would, without question,
have topped the list. He may not have the strength of The Hulk, the stickability of Spider Man, the glamour of Wonder Woman - but Captain Tom is that rarest of beings:
A real-life Super Hero.