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Kally Rubin Kislowicz
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Madam Spidey

I'm no longer in the market for beauty products -- these days, I'm hoping to be bitten by a radioactive arachnid
Cosplayer dressed as 'Spiderman' at the Yorkshire Cosplay Convention at Sheffield Arena. Sheffield, UK, June 11, 2016 (iStock)
Cosplayer dressed as 'Spiderman' at the Yorkshire Cosplay Convention at Sheffield Arena. Sheffield, UK, June 11, 2016 (iStock)

Recently, on a quick jaunt through the mall, I was flagged down by a man standing in front of a beauty products store. He was handing out samples, but I waved him off because I was in a hurry. 

He caught my eye and pleaded, “Giveret (Ma’am), I think you could really use this product!” So I stopped and accepted a small package of restorative face cream.

“It will do you some good,” he said casually, already scanning the crowd for his next ego to crush. 

I was annoyed by this encounter. No one wants to be told that they are in need of restoration. How is one supposed to look when her country is at war, her people are in pain, and existential questions such as “What’s for dinner?” threaten her facade of control?

But because I’m a sucker for free stuff, I used the cream that night. And while I can’t say that my restoration was immediate, I did like the way it smelled.   

Inspired, I bought a new bottle of body lotion on my next trip to the pharmacy. I didn’t spend too much time deliberating, I just found a moderately priced brand with the word “moisturizing” on the label, and I was on my way. 

I tried the lotion later that day, and though I liked the smell, I was surprised to find that it made me feel sticky instead of smooth, and it didn’t absorb so well into my skin. This went on for two more days before I bothered to take a closer look at the label. Turns out it wasn’t lotion… it was soap. I had been rubbing soap on my body and going about my day. I wasn’t moist or restored. I was sticky and ashamed. 

I wish I could blame this mishap on my still-emerging Hebrew skills. But I know the words for soap and lotion, and also stupidhead. This was pure laziness and neglect on my part. Read the label, Giveret Stupidhead!     

Soon after, on a Shabbat afternoon, my teenage son wondered offhandedly if it’s just him, or does everyone perform a daily check to see if maybe they’re Spiderman. 

I didn’t understand. 

He explained, “What if over night you were bitten by a spider and acquired super powers, but you just didn’t notice. That would be such a waste! So I make sure to check every so often.”

He demonstrated by flicking his wrist, which, to his disappointment, did not sling a web. 

I couldn’t tell if my shock was due to the fact that I have a near-grown child who thinks that radioactive spiders are a possibility, or that in my 40 some years of existence I had never once entertained the thought that I could be a superhero. Both scenarios are utterly depressing.

So I let him adjust my thumb and pinky accordingly, and I carefully flicked my wrist. No web. 

My son shrugged. “At least now you know. But you should try again tomorrow.” 

With the Green Lantern as my witness, I tried again the next morning after I brushed my teeth. And the following day at work I was discreet, so it looked like I was stretching after hours spent at my desk, but I was oh-so-smoothly checking myself for supernatural capabilities. 

And this has become my routine. I look forward to my daily check like I look forward to the Wordle. I check when I’m on my way to the mailbox or waiting in line at the grocery store awkward places to be caught slinging your first web, to be sure, but I think the non-radioactive folks would quickly get over their fears and relate to Giveret Spidey with the admiration and love she deserves. 

You laugh, but who’s to say that I’m not Spiderman? Wouldn’t that be a more dignified explanation for the stickiness?

Despite the fact that I’m still technically in the market for lotion, I’ve decided that I am not going to invest in any more beauty products for now. Instead, I’m going to hope for a radioactive spider bite. 

No one has ever seen a spider walking around the mall and thought, my she looks like she could use some restoring. No, they swat and yell and stomp because spiders always look spry and like they’ve had a good night’s sleep, and the mall guys are mad jealous. 

Spiders don’t fret over how they look. They don’t wonder if the particular lycra blend of their super suit will be forgiving in some of their less toned areas. They keep all 8 eyes trained outward, relying on their keen spidey sense to make their next move. And they never make soap related mistakes. 

The world does not need another woman standing in front of the mirror wishing she was more vibrant and less sticky. What the world obviously needs is a superhero an unapologetic champion in a flattering suit who will obliterate Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, put the self-righteous antisemites in their place, tell the Houthis that ain’t nobody got time for their nonsense, and get home in plenty of time make the dinner that she had shopped and planned for in advance

Our leaders do not inspire confidence. International celebrities disappoint us by calling for a ceasefire that our enemies will never honor. Politicians from abroad waffle and backtrack as they try to pretend that this war is not a clear fight of good versus evil. But Spidey gets it right. Giveret Spidey is the hero we need. 

And while I do love a good lycra blend, I’m not sure that the world can wait until I get that much-anticipated radioactive spider bite. But I promise to do my part. I will continue my daily checks, so that should I be blessed with extraordinary powers, they will not go unutilized for even one moment. And I encourage you to do the same flex those wrists, make a weekly menu plan, and embrace your inner stickiness you just may be the Giveret the world is waiting for.

About the Author
Kally grew up in Pittsburgh, and made aliyah from Cleveland to Efrat in 2016.