The New Normal [Entry Log #2 – Case Study: Bruce]

        “Dude, you’re The Hulk.”
        Bruce raised an eyebrow and asked, “What does that mean?”
        I was looking at a sample of Bruce’s blood through a microscope. “Your cells are packed full of gamma radiation, your name is Bruce, and you can probably smash a tank. You’re The Hulk.”
        “Nerd,” Bruce said.
        “Hey, you read the same comics as me when we were kids.”
        Bruce and I have been friends since we were in elementary school. It’s the cliche story of me being the nerdy kid getting bullied, and Bruce stepping in to be my protector. Even as a small boy he was built like a truck. We became good friends and spent most of our school years together.
        After highschool Bruce joined the military to become an engineer, and I went to an expensive college to become a physicist. There was an eight year period when we didn’t really talk. We were not mad at eachother or anything, we left on good terms, but we were both so busy with life we didn’t have time for our friendship.
        It was an act of fate when we ran into each other in our hometown years later. He was looking for a job, and I needed an engineer and a bodyguard. Bruce fit both those roles very nicely, and we make a great team. I think of the ideas, he builds them and makes sure nobody breaks it.
        Bruce was staring at the television displaying only a static Emergency Broadcast System image and playing a sustained tone. “What do you think is happening out there?”
        I looked up from the microscope to the television. “I don’t know…but it’s probably not good.”
        “The soldier in me wants to take action, but I don’t know if there’s even anything to fight. It’s driving me crazy not knowing anything.”
        “Well, I got some good news,” I said. “Aside from being chocked full of radiation, you’re otherwise perfectly healthy.”
        “That’s good,” Bruce said. “So what’s next?”
        “I think we move on to the fun part. Let’s see what you can do.”
        “Like what? Lift stuff?” Bruce asked. “Do you have a bench press in here?”
        “No, and I don’t think there’s enough weighted plates in the world to serve our purposes. I do have lots of heavy ass equipment though. Just—”
        “I’ll be careful,” Bruce said.
        I stood up from my chair and walked to one side of the lab. “Here, this MRI machine weighs a couple tons. See how far you can push it.”
        Bruce sighed and walked over to the machine. He straddled the machine like he was giving it a big bear hug. With minimal effort he lifted the machine off the ground and held it in the air. His face showed no strain, like he was lifting an empty cardboard box.
        “The Hulk,” I said.

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