When I was a young boy, I was always amazed by x-ray photographs, the cameras that could see right through you and take a picture of bones surrounded by the very pale glow of flesh. I often wondered what it would be like to be able to see like that, until I watched X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes starring Ray Milland. It's an old film (early 1960's if memory serves) with a shocking conclusion that quickly made me change my mind.
My interest in possessing such a power was helped along by comic books, but not the stories themselves. Years ago, the imported US comics had regular advertisments inside them. There was one that promised an Atlas-style physique, but the one that always caught my eye was the page full of jokes and tricks - one of which was x-ray specs.
I started wearing glasses when I was nine or ten, and when I had my first pair, I would imagine putting them on and being able to see through walls and clothes. Didn't happen, of course, but it was a funny joke for a few days. Then I used to pretend I was Clark Kent.
Now, years later, I still joke about being a Kent (insert your own punchline here...) and as I sit here, I find myself wondering about those trick specs with their swirling patterned lenses and tiny hole to look out of. I've a vague idea of how the trick might work - like when you place the underside of your wrist against your nose, and if you look at it in the right way it seems to have disappeared - but there must have been more to it than that. Mustn't there? Part of me would like to know the truth (the cynic who believes they were a complete rip-off) but the facsinated child deep within doesn't want to know the answer, wants to believe in the wonder of it all...