Skip to content

Batman Like Me: The Things We Do For Friends…(Part 2)

May 16, 2011


When last we saw our hero, he was leaving the relative safety of his wife’s Xterra and making his way towards the feeding frenzy that is a six-year-old’s birthday party. Armed with only a utility belt containing no utilities to speak of and a birthday present, he is about to step into annals of birthday history. Whether it’s as a hero or as a complete idiot remains to be seen…

Closing the car door behind me, I take a deep breath and make a mental note to get Jon’s costume size.  I don’t care if my son or daughter is born in December, we’re having the party…..outside… South Louisiana… 1:00… Summer, or as we say in South Louisiana, “Please shoot me in the face. I’m melting.” Payback, I would argue, is a dish best served in sauna-like conditions and wrapped in rubber or some kind of thick foam. And for those of you wondering, the answer is yes, revenge is a great motive to have a child. Mwahahaha!!! OK, back to hero mode….

Now, as any good crime fighter knows, it’s always best to do a little surveillance before you move in, so I poke my head around the back of the truck to get the layout of the party. The kids are all gathered together in an open area to the left. The adults are where adults always are at these things: by the trees, in the shade. Veteran move.  I decide that my best option is to head for the trees. Hopefully, I can make it there unnoticed and then announce my presence. If this thing is going to go down, it might as well go down in the shade, right? I make it about halfway. Any thoughts I had about the kids being scared or stand-offish are quickly shattered as now there is a herd of kindergarteners rushing toward me at a full sprint, the ground trembling beneath their Velcro-shoed feet. I’ve seen this movie before. It did not work out well for Mufasa.

Shaking off that image, I drop to one knee, open my arms wide and prepare to receive what I’ve got coming…….which, much to my relief, was about twelve simultaneous hugs. My plan had worked. I figured you can’t trample a dude just trying to hug it out. That’s just the way it is. Lucky for me, these kids seem to abide by the same code. Looking up, I notice that my “assistant” has made her way to the shade. Thanks, “assistant,” for all your “assistance.” I’m on my own now. And just like I had thought, the questions started to roll in. “Are you the real Batman? ”  Thus begins Operation: Lie, Lie, and Lie Some More. But while I’m in the middle of assuring him that I am, in fact, the real Batman, another kid shouts out “He’s not the real Batman. He’s just a guy in a suit.” I fight the urge to tell him that Santa Clause isn’t real but the monsters under his bed are, and instead make a mental note to trip him later when the adults aren’t looking. BATMAN DOESN’T TAKE LIP FROM ANYBODY!!!

Seeing how this could quickly spiral out of control, I quickly refocus on my first goal of the day: make the birthday boy happy. I find Ayden, pick him up, wish him happy birthday and begin to wade through the sea of children towards the shade — the sweet, sweet shade. It’s then that I see him: The Riddler (a.k.a. Jon). Now, the superhero/villain relationship being what it is, I’m under a moral imperative to open a can on Jon. However, since Jon is Ayden’s dad, I’m not sure of the exact protocol. Thinking on my feet, I remember that all Superman needed was a pair of glasses to conceal his identity. Maybe Ayden doesn’t know that it’s his dad. It’s worth a shot. “Ayden, who is that?” “That’s my dad.” Swing and a miss. People in Metropolis are stupid. Only one thing left to do: put Jon’s fate in the hands of the public, Gladiator style. “Kids, you know The Riddler is my enemy. Should I take him out or let him be?” The answer comes back with a resounding “Take him down.” I’m liking these kids more and more. Sorry, Jon, the people have spoken. It’s go time.

Batman taking out The Riddler

The Riddler has had better days. Eat it, fool!!

I set Ayden down and walk to the grass. If this is happening, it’s going down on something softer than concrete. The kids gather around as I size up my opponent — all 5’6″ of him. Advantage: me. I tell the birthday boy to say when, and with a smile on his face, Ayden yells, “Go.” (This is just pure speculation on my part, but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Ayden’s new family nickname is “Judas.”) Having received my cue, I rush Jon, lift him up and put him on the ground. A few elbow drops later, I invite the kids to join in for good measure. You said to entertain, right, Jon? Well….ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!!

Once the battle is over and justice has been dispensed, Jon retreats to the adult area while Batman picture time begins, at the conclusion of which I decide to up the ante and start a wrestling war with the kids. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. However, I failed to consider the small detail of 12:1, otherwise known as the odds. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Before I can say, “I immediately regret this decision,” I’m buried beneath Mount Kindergarten. Now, don’t get me wrong, in between flashes of my life passing before my eyes, I got in a couple of solid moves, but it was a losing proposition from the beginning.

Once the pile had been cleared and we’d all had a chance to catch our breath, round two of question and answer kicked into high gear. “Why are you sweating so much?” The answer in my head: “BECAUSE I’M WEARING A #$%&ING RUBBER SUIT!!!” The answer that comes out of my mouth: “It’s not this humid in Gotham.” “Do you have any bombs?” “Of course I have bombs. I’ve got a whole drawer full of bombs. However, you’re parents asked that I not bring them to the party. Buzzkill, I know.” “Can you break a stick?” “Show me the stick first.” I am then handed a small stick that was lying on the ground nearby. Oh, I’ve got this. P90X is about to pay off. I snap the stick to the “oohs” and “aahs” of the kids. Yep, I’m pretty awesome.

It is here that an unforeseen villain emerges. From the crowd of parents, a certain follicly challenged associate pastor who shall remain nameless <cough> Brian Jeansonne <cough> chunks what can only be described as a small stump at my feet and says to break that one. Note to self: Brian must die. Summoning up all my Bat strength, I give it my best shot….nothing. I cannot break that stick. Seeing disappoint starting to break across the kids’ faces, I try the old “Hey, what’s that over there?” trick. When they all turn to look, I toss the stick behind me….only it catches the side of the bat ear on my mask and falls right by my feet. Excellent. The kids, however, all laugh. I seize the momentum and quickly change the subject. I set Ayden on my knee and call over my assistant with the present (a Nerf gun). I deputize him and give him the gift to unwrap, telling him to only use it on bad guys and Brian. His face lights up and the rest of kids gape in wonder as he heads off to open his present from Batman. Goal No. 1: check. Free stuff works every time.

Batman and Ayden

Batman and Ayden.  We’re boys.

Poison Ivy (a.k.a. Leslie, Ayden’s mom) makes the announcement that it’s game time. Sweet. The kids can play while Batman gets himself a drinky-drink from cooler. But before I can turn to head towards the refreshments, I feel a little hand on my wrist. It’s a kid dressed in his own Batman getup, and he wants me to come play the game with them. The drinky-drink will have to wait. Duty is still calling. Duty is long-winded today. On the way over to the game, he informs me that he is my biggest fan and that he has several of my action figures. This kid thinks I’m the real deal. Goal No. 2: check. Now, I just have to maintain until I make my exit.

The game involves throwing water balloons at a Catwoman target. The objective is to hit her hands, where some pins have been inserted from the back to pop the balloons. The kids are hurling balloons at the target like it stole something from them, and I am enjoying the splashes of water I get when the balloons bust on the target. It’s a win-win. When the artillery cooler is down to it’s last two balloons, Poison Ivy calls me over for the last two throws. But….but….I didn’t stretch….what about warm ups?….I don’t think those balloons are regulation size….Have we forgotten the stick fiasco already? There is a surprising amount of pressure involved in being a superhero.

Nevertheless, I take a deep breath, walk over and take my position. It then occurs to me that one chance to embarrass myself is better than two chances to embarrass myself. I call Ayden over and give him one of the balloons. I kneel beside him and we get ready to launch a dual airstrike on Catwoman. He went first. I can’t really tell you where his balloon went, as I was busy repeating “aim high” to myself in my head. My turn. I launch the balloon from my knees. I could tell you I hit the bulls-eye, but that would be lie. I was must have been a little too focused on aiming high because the balloon sailed over the target. Awesome. I knew those balloons weren’t regulation. Plus, I didn’t want to show up the kid on his birthday…….anyone believe that?…….anyone?……anyone? No? Okay. Just checking. I congratulate Ayden on his throw and give him a Bat-Five. It’s like a hi-five, but one participant is dressed up like Batman.

I’m then approached by the kid in the Batman costume again wanting to know if I can break the stick in his hand. What is it with these kids and breaking sticks? But seeing that this stick is much more reasonable than the steel beam I was asked to break last time, I take it and snap it in half. There is a collective “whoa” from the crowd. SWEET REDEMPTION!!! I’M AWESOME!!!

With my superhero dominance restored, it’s time to start thinking of an exit strategy, as the time allotted for me at the party is drawing to a close. After the birthday song is sung, the announcement is made that the Bat Signal has been spotted and that I have to go fight some crime. The kids all say that they don’t want me to go. Hey, maybe I don’t suck so bad after all. I tell them that I wish I could stay, but that I’m needed elsewhere. As a consolation, I start dispensing out Bat Hugs, which much like the Bat-Five, is a regular hug, only one person is dressed like Batman. After telling Ayden happy birthday one more time, I kneel down and call all the kids in for one more group hug as a grande finale…..and am subsequently gang tackled by every last kid at the party. I can feel the love. The love is heavy. I think one kid even got airborn.

Batman hug

This Bat Hug has gone horribly wrong.

Upon emerging from the dogpile this time, I notice that something seems amiss. Looking down, I see that the piece of rubber covering the Bat groin is only attached on one side now, with the other hanging down. Batman is having a wardrobe malfunction. It’s time to go. Holding the costume together with one hand, I give out a few more Bat Hugs to the clamoring kids and make my way towards the parking lot. I’ve got a few new bruises to my body and ego, but I’m making it out intact. Batman will live to fight another day. The Riddler walks my assistant and me back to the car and slips me a cold bottle of water. DRINKY-DRINK!!! He thanks us for coming and we shake hands. With my mission now complete, I climb back in the Batmobile and we speed off to the Batcave, where Batman will take a long Bat shower. Justice has been upheld and a good time has been had by all.  The Dark Knight is going to sleep well tonight.

Thank you note from Ayden with a picture of him and Batman.

Thank you note from Ayden with a picture of him and Batman.  It’s currently proudly displayed on the Batfridge.

Remember that song Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)?  I don’t care what anybody says, there’s some good advice in that song.  One line that has always stuck with me is “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  I don’t always follow through on that and it would have been easy to sit out this time.  But the reality is that few things are gained in this life from the comfort of our couches.  Growth requires stretching, and that stretching is often uncomfortable.  This is not good news for introverts like myself.  I really like my couch.  It’s green.  But I know that if my life revolves around it, I’m going to miss out on a lot of the beautiful people and experiences this life has to offer and end up somehow less than complete.  And the last thing I want to be thinking about when I’m at the end of my journey is a list of regrets.

It’s with that thought in mind that I pray for the strength, when opportunities present themselves, to strap on my cape, step outside myself and find…  I doubt it’s ever easy, but as my walk in Batman’s shoes has reminded me, it’s worth it.  My time as the Caped Crusader also reminded me that heroes, even superheroes, aren’t perfect.  We can’t break every stick or hit every target, but if we’re willing to put ourselves out there, the transformations in hearts, lives and relationships that occur are bigger than all our shortcomings. That transformation is worth every step we take out of our comfort zones, and it’s worth every drop of sweat…..even when that sweat involves a rubber suit.  But regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in, we should always try to remain open because, who knows, we might just find ourselves, however briefly, walking in the shoes of heroes. So while I’ve never danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight, I have been gang tackled by a bunch of six-year-olds while wearing a Batsuit in the South Louisiana humidity. Your move, Superman.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2011 5:58 pm

    Batman makes me laugh.

  2. Angie permalink
    May 16, 2011 11:05 pm

    Babe, while I’m really proud of you on your Batman role, don’t be calling out Superman like that. It’ll get real, real quick.

  3. Jon permalink
    May 31, 2011 1:54 pm

    Nice. Thanks again…I know Aidyn really appreciated it. And so did we. Next year I think it’ll be Darth Vader. Are you up for it?

  4. June 7, 2011 6:54 pm

    Hello Pot!

    I loved this post. It was a very fun read. Especially the part about the follicly challenged friend! Great post.

    Yours Truly,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: