There comes a time in every man's life when he has to face up to the reality he will never be a super hero.
This penny drops right after the realisation that, just because he has pictures of Superman on his undies, it does not mean he is able to leap tall buildings with a single bound.
My rude awakening came at the weekend when my son Jack, 6, proudly took possession of two new pairs of underpants featuring depictions of Spiderman.
I was not jealous. Honestly.
At age 43, I am past all that. Really.
Besides, there is no way I would want cobwebs anywhere near my cobblers. Okay?
I do remember how exciting it is to have vibrant new underpants though.
Although I grew near the end of the era of daggy, white Y-fronts, I consider myself to be quite a pioneer.
By the time I was not much older than Jack, I regarded myself as a trend-setter in coloured jockettes and sneered at my father's old-fashioned collection of Y-fronts.
I had red ones. I had blue ones. I had leopard-skin patterns. I had undies with pictures of little yellow ducks. And, yes, I had ones that, as far as my tiny mind was concerned, gave me the power of Superman.
"Make sure you always wear clean underwear when you go out," I was told from an early age. "You never know when you might have an accident."
"Don't worry, ma'am," I said to my mum, puffing out chest and adjusting my Clark Kent spectacles.
"I'm feeling rather invincible today.
"If Lex Luther has disguised himself as one of the ambulance attendants, he won't want to mess with me once he sees I am wearing my underpants on the inside today."
Alas, all my jockettes were sent to undies heaven not long after I married in 1995.
They were traded in for a range of looser, more-baby-conception-friendly boxer shorts. These came in a range of colours and hues but they could never replace the extensive collection I had built up so lovingly over the years. Batman. Robin. Superman. The Incredible Hulk. The Lone Ranger. Mr Ed. All gone, hopefully to good homes.
As I say, I am over that phase in my life now though. Honestly.
I have adjusted to my new wardrobe.
End of story.
Well, nearly, anyway.
When Jack paraded a pair of his new undies at the weekend, and asked me what I thought of them, I regressed a little.
"Hey, that looks like Superman," I said excitedly. "I used to have a pair like those."
"You're wrong, dad," Jack said. "It's Spiderman. Spiderman is more powerful than Superman."
"He is NOT," I said indignantly.
"He is SO."
It was about this time I realised that the generation gap has caught up to me.
You don't think Jack was sneering at me, do you?
©June 11, 2002 John Martin. All Rights Reserved
If you liked this short column perhaps you'll like my new comic fiction novel, which has nearly 250 pages of laughs. Check out the first chapter here free