Hey, everyone has to start somewhere.There comes a time in a young girl's life when she needs to assess the path she has chosen through these tumultuous times and perhaps reconsider her options. I'm of course referring to a career change, and very few people are exempt from the agonizing conundrum of whether to forge ahead with their current profession or seek out a new one. In fact the only exemptions I can think of are the idle rich, wizards, and sanitation workers. For the rest of us mere mortals we are left with a point when we must make that decision, to stay the course or diverge into the unknown.

According to recent census studies one of the most popular career options available in the current economy is that of the super hero. More than ten percent of the United States is employed in the vigilante justice industry in full time or part time positions and another eight percent have worked at least one hundred hours in the industry last year as a temporary consultant. Jobs aren't easy to come by, there's no getting around that, but as normal working folk lose their jobs they often turn to incredibly elaborate criminal schemes designed to allow them to take over the world. For those of us who like neither a life of crime nor a life of being beholden to the government work as a super powered vigilante is extremely attractive.

There are a number of benefits to being a super hero. With a life of danger and action come a variety of perks that most other workers do not enjoy.

There is NO dresscode for super heroes. Lax Dress Code - Even the filthiest, grimiest, coal dust smashing plant in Detroit has a mandatory dress code, but superheroes have very little in the way of a dress code. You can wear underwear around, put on reflective capes, clad yourself in leather or latex, you can even rip the skin off your face and just go to work with a bloody skull for a head. It doesn't really matter. Who is going to report you? The mayor? He needs you! Really the only dress codes you have to follow are local decency laws and even these can be ignored provided you can turn invisible or into a cloud of red gas or a giant rock man. The other rule of thumb when it comes to dress code is just that you don't injure or unduly traumatize the citizenry with your costume. One hero by the name of The Abyssal Cockupine was covered with erect penises that waved like an anemone to mesmerize his enemies. Not only was this more than a little unsavory to see walking down the street but when you stared at them long enough your blood would actually begin to boil.

Free or Discounted Travel - When superheroes need to be somewhere they tend to get their way. That's because whenever people see a guy in a cape and red-spandex with a lightning bolt symbol on the front running determinedly around a city they assume he is headed somewhere to avert danger. You can play on this assumption. Free cabs to the grocery store (there's a bomb in the basement), free plane tickets to Tahiti (there's a secret fortress beneath the coral reefs), or even free cars (excuse me sir, this car is about to explode, I need to drive it to a safe area before it goes off). This of course assumes that you can't fly or teleport, because if you can do that you're already pretty used to how awesome free travel can be.

Great Pick Up Lines - When your name and visage are all over the paper and you constantly walk around wearing an instant conversation piece you're going to find picking up women at bars a lot easier. Imagine walking up to the finest woman in O'Chukley's Wings and Things and saying "hey blondie, I just rescued a ten year old that fell into the turkey tank at the bird aquarium, how's about I swoop into Yoursweetassville and help out the citizenry?" Women will literally turn into jelly when they hear dashing lines like that, especially if your super power is to turn women into jelly.

Not Accountable for Your Actions - A lot of bad shit goes down when you're fighting crime, it goes with the territory. You could be battling Dr. Larynx downtown and level half the city, but no one is going to blame you just because a few billion dollars in damages were incurred. You HAD to stop evil! This extends to when you don't have to stop evil, because the citizenry is dumb and trusting and will just take your word that you were fighting evil when you were caught masturbating in a dressing room in the maternity section of a department store. No one is going to even try to stop you if you're laying naked in the street eating baked beans from a mixing bowl. If they do just finish the bite you're eating and say "hey, fightin' crime here buddy" and that will usually send them packing. Legends tell of The Blinding Bunion, a superhero in North Dakota, who was allowed to punch anyone in the mouth including police officers and soldiers simply by claiming he was "testing for aliens".

Carnage Duck has had enough of this shit.Many of you might be saying "oh great!" at this point, or some variation of this phrase such as "whoah awesome!" or "yowsah outstanding!", but you're not ready to charge out there as a superhero. First of all do you know your niche? Every city is teeming with superheroes at this point, so you need to get a feel for what particular roles need to be filled in your local superhero hierarchy. Nothing is worse than going out onto the street in your flag-draped power suit as General America and running into the machine-gun toting Field Marshal Freedom. He'll take one look at you and turn you into Lil' America or the Stars and Stripes Gatorade Fetch Boy. The last thing you want to end up as is a sidekick. Power teams are fine, you'll split the chances of death between yourself and your new partner, but if you're a sidekick the first time the going gets tough you're going to find yourself face down in a pit of lava.

Before we get going on determining what your new role should be in the scheme of things we need to think about what your powers are. Calling yourself Hawklor the Eagle King might seem pretty cool but you're going to get laughed back to your Citadel of Justice when everyone realizes that your powers are to turn into a barn and knit really awesome sweaters with your mind. If that's your shtick go with something like The Agrarian Loom or Baron Barnyard Von Knitsit.

To give you a basic idea of what the lay of the land might be in your area I've put together a cross section of the established superheroes here in Chicago. Let's take a look at their names, their powers, and how they go about their business.

Anna Wrecksya prepares to take flight thanks to her hollow bones and low body weight. The Glazed Avenger
Powers: Can eat donuts from up to one mile away by visualizing them, can leap over benches of any height, and can slide up fire poles.
Costume: A light-pink unitard with white stripes on the arms and legs and the word "GLAZED DONTUS [sic]" written on the back with iron-on letters. He had a cape but it caught fire when he jumped over a candle sitting on top of a bench and is still being repaired by his mother.
Modus Operandi: The Glazed Avenger is one of the least popular superheroes here in Chicago, but he advertises, a rarity among superheroes. He runs these really annoying late night infomercials on WGN where you see this donut start vibrating and then it cuts to him swallowing. Then he rubs his stomach for like five minutes while nodding up and down and smiling. To my knowledge he has only ever participated in three super hero actions. Two involved cleanups on the interstate when Krispy Kreme trucks overturned and one was a misdialed number that resulted in a short prison stay for the Glazed Avenger after he actually ate donuts from inside the mayor's stomach.

Motorella the Pager Witch
Powers: Can activate the vibrate feature on any pager she can see, can send text messages to a pager by dancing naked around a fire in celebration of the Earth Mother, and can astrally project to see what phone numbers pagers have stored in their memory.
Costume: Motorella has gone through a number of costume changes over the years. Her current costume is a red bodice with a crude symbol representing a pager on the back and a really fucking stupid looking headpiece with all kinds of free-giveaway stickers from various pager manufacturers.
Modus Operandi: Motorella's arch enemy is Celephulon (aka the Octodialer), the half-demon lord of cell phones. She constantly prowls the late night streets of Chicago searching for Celephulon and his minions. Unfortunately she is frequently mistaken for either a lunatic or an oddly dressed prostitute and the general public is more afraid of her than anything. This has allowed Celephulon to gain a toe-hold in the city and already Motorella's influence is beginning to wane.

Hercustrong the Iron Budgeter
Powers: Claims to be the strongest man in Illinois and Indiana, can balance a private, business, or government budget faster than 50 certified public accountants, and can bend iron with his hands.
Costume: A Sears business suit with the sleeves ripped off and a cape with a hammer and an adding machine on the back. He carries a giant hammer which he calls "The Balancer". He usually leans this against a wall when he's actually using his powers.
Modus Operandi: Hercustrong relies on a network of informants to provide him with up-to-date information on unbalanced budgets throughout the city of Chicago. Sometimes he will knock on a door or wait patiently in a company's lobby to "fight crime", but most of the time he bursts in through walls and throws unsavory bookkeepers and accountants out of their offices. Then he'll work long hours balancing the budget in question while his side-kick "Abachris" makes coffee and massages his shoulders.

There are many more superheroes operating in Chicago, up to nine-thousand at any given time. I'm sure after reading the profiles and powers of these three caped crusaders you are having trouble imagining competing with their incredible abilities, but the truth is you don't actually have to. Being a superhero is sort of like making a web site for a fetish; what you do doesn't have to make any sense it just has to be as specific and bizarre as possible. If you can already turn into a banjo or somersault up vertical surfaces then great, you just have to somehow pick a name that reflects your amazing powers. If you don't have any innate super abilities let me offer a few suggestions for some artificial or, as we in the business call them, fake super powers.

You can watch an entire block of programming on "E!" and then rewatch the show that started the block three hours earlier without remembering that you had already seen it.

You can measure someone's inseam by licking up the inside of their leg.

You can spell better than frogs and most birds.

You can erect a hammock very rapidly and then pretend to fall asleep, luring criminals into a false sense of security.

There isn't an unlocked closet that can contain you!

You can order from a restaurant menu without actually looking at the menu.

Your powers of mesmerism confuse people into thinking that actor Malcolm McDowell is actually named Andie MacDowell.

Whenever you will it to be so you can tell what time it is in Tokyo.

Cavemanstrong picked a really shitty name and concept considering his super powers of getting through to tech support quickly and can manually delete registry entries in Windows XP.These are just a few suggestions, I hope they give you an idea of the amazing abilities just waiting to be discovered inside your very own body, or possibly near your body.

Once you've "realized" what your powers are you can start naming yourself and designing your costume. Naming yourself is never an easy task and it is often overlooked by heroes who just want to get out there and fight crime. Slow down there podner! You have to pick a name that fits your abilities clearly and concisely and sends a powerful message to prospective employers and criminals alike. Your hero name is your cheapest form of marketing.

Attempt to avoid ambiguous names such as "Eagle Eye," as many concerned citizens may express outrage upon discovering you do not have an eagle lodged in your eye. Additionally, while names like "Iron Man" may sound good on paper, some confused individuals may think that, instead of being composed of iron, you simply use an iron to steam press crime and possibly their pants. To compensate for this, declare irons to be "your mortal enemy" and destroy as many Laundromats as possible. Claim they were either meth labs or renegade police stations. If the authorities get pushy start talking about space lasers and planets from Star Trek.

With a name and powers that means it's time to start putting together your costume. If your powers involve transforming piles of cloth into superhero costumes then this part should be really easy. If not then trying drafting talented craftsmen like tailors and seamstresses or, failing that, your mother or sister. No self-respecting superhero actually makes his costume, although it's perfectly fine for you to design the costume!

In these hard economic times I hope this piece has provided you with a ray of sunshine beaming in through the broken roof of your life. Good luck out there, and remember, a hero is only really necessary as long as he or she has a villain to defeat repeatedly. Try convincing your friend to menace the city with fake bombs or beam weapons. Or just dress your dog up as a robot and then throw it off the roof of your garage onto a trampoline.

Photoshop Monday!

Livestock has so much amazing Photoshop material on his hands this week that he is actually doubling up on the material! This Monday's theme is a tribute to FARK, the undisputed kings of the Photoshopping jungle.

This is hands down the best installment of Photoshop Phriday ever to appear on a Monday, and I say that without even the slightest hint of sarcasm. Hustle those sweet cheeks of yours on over and check it out!

– Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons (@sexyfacts4u)

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