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Batman Like Me: The Things We Do For Friends…(Part 1)

May 9, 2011
Aaron as Batman

Me as Batman. I look good.

They say if you want to truly understand someone, you need to walk a mile in their shoes. Well, I recently got to walk about half an hour in Batman’s, and let me tell you one thing: Batman is a sweaty dude. Granted, my understanding is that Gotham is a bit more frigid than New Orleans, but still, bearing the mantle of the bat is not for the faint of heart. And while I know that all crime fighters have their own obstacles to overcome, let’s just say that some superheroes earn their paychecks a little more than others. For reals. While Superman is busy flying around trying to pretend it’s a tough gig being invincible and Aquaman is off doing whatever it is that Aquaman does in a nice pool somewhere, Batman is busy doing work. Superpowers? Nope. Just a few toys, some anger issues and a whole lot of badass.

So why was I dressed up as the caped crusader, you ask. Latex fetish? No, I’m afraid it’s nothing that interesting. It all started like any other Sunday where I don’t have to go to church: I woke up at noon. That’s right, noon. And, no, I wasn’t being lazy. It was the Sabbath and I was honoring the heck out of it.  You’re welcome, God. Anyway, waiting for me on my phone when I woke up was a text from my friend, Jon, requesting my services, which if you think about it, is kind of like a low-tech Bat Signal. A Bat Signal that drops too many calls and doesn’t get great reception in my own house, but a Bat Signal, nonetheless. Maybe one day when I’m rolling around in Bruce Wayne scratch, I’ll upgrade to something more suitable.  For now, I’ll just have to deal. Whatever. Anyway, Jon is a friend from church who has managed to overcome a misspelled first name to marry a pretty girl and start a family. Good for Jon. And this particular Sunday, Jon’s son, Ayden, was turning six and having a Batman themed party, and everything was in place for a killer celebration except for one thing: Batman.

Now, Jon is a resourceful guy and had managed to procure a Batman costume and was curious if I would be willing to make an appearance as the Dark Knight and entertain the kids at the party for about half an hour. This presented me with something of a dilemma. While, on the one hand, I’m not afraid of public speaking and I wanted to help my friend, on the other, kids are scary. I saw Kindergarten Cop. Those kids almost took down the Terminator; what shot do I have? I don’t even have a ferret to distract them with.  And if the six-year olds in that movie had the lowdown on male and female naughty bits pre-internet, I can’t even begin to imagine what this group of computer programmers is going to throw at me.  I’m screwed.  But while I’m busy trying to thumb out an elaborate text that politely declines, I see the newly tattooed Claddagh on my arm and remember my commitment to developing and strengthening the relationships in my life. Boy, it didn’t take long for that to come back and bite me on the butt (See previous post, Praying In Ink, if you’re confused). I mean, if you’re going to make yourself more open, you’ve got to start somewhere, right? I was just hoping to not start this far out of my comfort zone.  But while I’m busy bemoaning my plight, I realize that I still have a good chance of dodging this bullet.  It occurs to me that his text came a couple hours ago, while I was still in bed. Chances are he’s found someone else by now (fingers crossed). Holding my breath, I text back and see if he still needs me. He does. BAT CRAP!! There’s no turning back now; I’m Batman. Resigned to my fate, I agree.

Not long after that, there is a suitcase in my living room containing one Batsuit….well, half a Batsuit.  I had to complete the ensemble with a pair of my black dress pants and my father-in-law’s black cowboy boots.  I knew that my old pair of Dockers wasn’t the most authentic choice, but since they were the only black pants I had and I didn’t figure a pantless Batman would be appropriate, I went ahead with them and hoped no one would notice.  Now, if you’ve never had the pleasure of donning a Batsuit, let me fill you in on a few of the particulars. It’s hot. Really hot. Apparently, not only does it repel bullets, it also repels breezes. I’m in a full on bat-sweat within five minutes…..inside my air conditioned house. And the party is outside. In South Louisiana. At 4:00. In the Spring, or as we call in in South Louisiana, Summer. I’m going to weigh 80 pounds when this is over. Next, while the Batsuit may be bulletproof, it is not flexible. Apparently, Bruce Wayne thinks the ability to turn your head is overrated. But I guess when you have your bat-senses in full effect and an arsenal of kick-ass karate moves at your disposal, you don’t need to look to your left. Batman and Chuck Norris have that in common. It’s an exclusive club.  I’m not in it (tear).  Finally, you would think that Batman would have engineered in an earhole or two. Nope. The only thing I can hear is the muffled sound of my dignity as it closes the door behind it on its way out of town.  And I know my wife was busy trying to tell me something while I was feeling my way down the stairs, trying not to plunge to my death, but hell if I know what. (She might also argue that I don’t need the aid of a Batsuit to not pay attention, but that’s a discussion for another day.) Of course, there is the possibility that Alfred and Robin are talkers, and Bruce just wants to drown out the yapping. Solid logic, if you ask me.

Speech BubblesNow, I know I can’t walk into this blind. Kids are like cats: they’re curious and can often be found licking themselves.  I need to have some answers for what is surely coming my way; what they’re putting in their mouths is their parents’ problem.  Are you the real Batman?  Yes. Yes, I am.  And, frankly, I’m offended that you would question my credentials.  Can’t you see that my suit is made from the finest rubber China has to offer. Why are you in New Orleans?  Superhero convention.  The catering in this town is top notch.  Why aren’t you in the Batmobile?   Have you seen the price of gas lately?  Who is the lady (my wife) driving you in the Nissan?  My traveling secretary.  Batman’s coffee isn’t going to make itself.  I may have over-thought it a bit.  But at the end of the day, I only have two goals: 1. Make the birthday boy happy.  2. Get one kid — just one — to believe that I’m the real Batman.  Anything more than that is gravy.  And to hedge my bets with the birthday boy, I brought him a present (a Nerf gun) as an ace in the hole.  If things start to go downhill, whip out the present.  Kids love free stuff.  Hell, I love free stuff.  I will gladly forgive you for being super boring if you start throwing presents at me.  I’m superficial like that.  And I’m betting that six-year-olds are, too.

I’ve got to admit, this plan sounds pretty solid from the comfort of my living room couch, but how it’s going to play out in reality is anyone’s guess.  Either way, the amount of time I have to prepare is growing shorter and shorter.  And, as with many things in life that you’re nervous about going through with, time flies by like a runaway train.  Next thing I know, I’m sitting in my wife’s car in the parking lot of a local park, sweating bullets and taking in the last precious seconds of air conditioning I would get for a while.  Through my wife’s open door, I hear a girl arriving for the other birthday party in the park tell her mother, “Hey, that’s Batman in that car!”  Well, at least one girl thinks I’m believable.  Too bad she won’t be at the party I’m going to; I could use a good hype man.  Oh, well.  My wife laughs and shuts off the engine.  The moment of truth had come and it was time to bring the pain or have the whole thing blow up in my face and get heckled out of the park by a bunch of mini-me’s.  With a million thoughts running through my head of the various ways I could screw this up and make a six-year-old cry on his birthday, I open the door and step out into the parking lot.  I’ve heard it said that heroes are made, not born.  I’m guessing that applies to superheroes, too.  The countdown is over.  I’m about to find out how super, or not, I am….

So how does it end?  Does Batman complete his mission of putting smiles on the kids’ faces?  Does he collapse of dehydration and get taken away in an ambulance, thus scarring a group of children for life?  You’ll have to tune back in next week to find out.  Same bat time.  Same bat channel.  Da na na na na na na na Da na na na na na na na……

To be continued...

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2011 10:37 am

    Sweet writing. I can also understand cutting it short before the supervillian conquers batman with a puny mere stick

    • Aaron permalink*
      May 9, 2011 10:59 am

      Don’t worry, you get yours in part two. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go comb the hair I still have on my head.

  2. May 9, 2011 10:47 am

    I knew 930am was way too early to be texting the caped crusader. But hey, we had word that the Riddler and Poison Ivy were going to be there… I don’t want to spoil the ending so I’ll leave it at that. Can’t thank you enough.

    • Aaron permalink*
      May 9, 2011 11:23 am

      No problem. I needed to sweat off that muffaletta I had the night before, anyway.

  3. Angie permalink
    May 9, 2011 11:05 am

    My favorite part is the answers to the kids’ questions. 🙂

  4. Ashmasterflash permalink
    May 12, 2011 6:43 pm

    My favorite part is the kids licking themselves.

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