(Originally ran on October 64h, 2002)
From time to time we here on the Statesman staff find a story that is worthy of taking a little trip. For me that opportunity came last week, when I traveled to Momence, Illinois, to meet a very unique individual. Momence is the hometown of Wayne Trebek, better known around town as SuperWayne.
Yes, that is correct; Superwayne. He's a superhero of sorts. His wife Delores welcomed me into their home last Thursday and escorted me into their rumpus room where Wayne was watching Baywatch. He was in full garb, dressed in a tight-fitting yellow leotard and bright blue cape. He also wore a shiny blue mask that covered down to his nose, kind of like Batman. Impressive as the outfit was, this journalist must confess that the porportions of his body, concentrated as it was in the midsection, didn't quite ring 'superhero' to me. But I was willing to reserve judgement until I'd caught the rest of the story.
JOSH: So, Wayne, you are a superhero. Do you mind if I call you Wayne?
WAYNE: Doesn't matter to me. 'Superwayne' is just something the local paper came up with.
JOSH: How did you come into this profession?
WAYNE: I guess you could say I fell into it. (laughs) I'd been out of work for about six months at the time-laid off from the Oscar Meyer plant, you know-and I was just wandering around the backyard, looking for some scrap wood to whittle. That's one of my hobbies, whittling. Anyway, I steps on a big old nail and have to go to the doctor to have it looked at. Well, that doctor must have given me the wrong medication, cause ever since then I've had the powers.
JOSH: And just what powers are those?
WAYNE: Your standard superhero powers. X-Ray vision, superhuman strength, flight. I can also make toast at a distance of fifty yards.
JOSH: That must come in pretty handy. Do you have a lot of opportunity to serve the cause of justice?
JOSH: How do you decide where to use your powers?
WAYNE: It depends. Sometimes Delores needs help around the house. Cleaning and stuff. Lots of times she has to take the kids around to soccer practices and church socials. I'll usually make my own dinners those nights.
JOSH: Your kids must really look up to you. But how do your powers help?
WAYNE: I busted the microwave a couple months ago during a Bears game. Now I just use my vision.
JOSH: Have you joined the Justice League? Have you made any other superhero friends?
WAYNE: Just Dale, I guess. He's our mailman, and he can ride a bike like a son of a gun. He's got real talent.
JOSH: How about enemies? Do you have an arch-nemesis?
WAYNE: I hate my mother-in-law. I look forward to the day of judgement when she's cast out to rot in the flames of Hell.
JOSH: So what exactly is your daily routine nowadays?
WAYNE: Well, I'll usually roll out of bed around ten, maybe nine if I've got a full schedule. Then I'll watch TV for a little while, just to warm up, you know. By about one I'm ready for a good meal, usually something from Burger King does the trick. The thing about their food is that it tires you out. So I usually take a nap for an hour or two after I eat. Sometimes I'll write a letter to my Mother, she lives down in Kankakee. By that time the kids are coming home and Delores is ready for Dinner.
JOSH: Fascinating. Do you ever actually fight crime?
WAYNE: Sure I do. Last weekend this referee blew a clear pass interference call on Denver. I made darn sure to get that guy on the phone. He won't do that again.
JOSH: Do you ever feel humbled by your superpowers? Maybe a little unqualified to be a defender of justice?
WAYNE: Not at all. I think I'm just the kind of guy for this type of thing. In the wrong hands, these powers could be used for unspeakable evil.
JOSH: I guess I'd have to agree. So if there's one way you could change the world for the better, what would you do?
WAYNE: I think it would be cool if Ronnie's Pizzeria offered Jeno's Pizza Rolls on their menu. That would make a big difference to the folks out here.