In the tradition of origin stories, we begin in an ancient time, an epoque when Earth was ruled by four Norse Gods: Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid. Sent from his soon-to-be annihilated home world ‘Jerome’, the child Bludi El landed in Smalltownusa.
“Let us raise this infant as our own,” a kindly couple said to each other. “Let us raise him to lift school buses, go on to forge a career as a key worker in mainstream journalism, and spread quality fake news to all.”
“And let us name him after his home world [conveniently written on the side of the craft in Comic Sans] so that he may carry the air of disaster to all he meets.”
Jerome lived a happy childhood, but superpowers and an ability to communicate coherently eluded him. His parents quickly realised their dreams of him clutching a notepad and licking a pencil may never come to fruition.
Summers were filled with the character-building isolation of being spurned by his adopted parents, dispatched to summer camps with other disturbed teens, and featuring camp leaders compensating for a lack of any real discernible talent – something Jerome found very appealing.
Others he met all seemed destined for greatness; Chachi, Donny, Sharky, Jimmy…but not little Jeromey. He didn’t have a “Nanu Nanu” catchphrase. He didn’t make everything burst into flames when he got vexed. It seemed like there was nothing extraordinary about Jerome at all.
Stripping in telephone boxes didn’t give him laser vision or incredible strength, no matter how many times he tried it. Sitting in caves for hours on end just gave him back ache. The less said about the time he was unceremoniously booted out of the spider sanctuary the better.
“Maybe if I joined a team,” Jerome thought to himself, “maybe if I became an Angel? Maybe if I joined a group to fight dark forces?”
Years past by with the monotony of a public meeting question and answer session. Jerome was walking back from his weekly appointment at the ingrowing toenail specialist, he was distracted by the thirty-seventh annoying street magician of the day.
Faster than you could say, “No, I don’t want to be filmed for your stupid video channel where the aim is to make me look more stupid than I already am, thank you very much, and I bid you a good day, sir. Farewell,” he was hit by a truck transporting radioactive PPE equipment.
This was the day Dr America was born.
And came the celebrity - and the interviews - and the questions.
Questions like: “Aren’t you the so-called doctor who gets advice about vaping legislation from know-nothing Mums in supermarkets…and didn’t you tell the USA not to buy or use face masks because they didn’t do anything to prevent the spread of the disease, instead you complained about other people flying in economy class, laughing at COVID-19 and saying catching the flu was far worse?”
Jerome was a man transformed. Jerome was a man on point. Jerome gave superhero answers: “No, that was totally not me, that was completely someone else – like a mild-mannered alter ego with absolutely an entirely separate Twitter account and everything – for I am DOCTOR AMERICA!”
Somewhere, in Smalltownusa, an elderly couple sigh, look at the space ship in the barn, and wonder if there’s a return address.