Some seven years later, I rolled down Tombstone Canyon, once again, in a custom-made BRAT cart receiving applause and cheers. I posed for slow-mo foto ops, offering not the lofty sign of Jesus but the gloved hand of the Caped Crusader. My customized one-seater that had no room for the Boy Wonder but it did have enough room for my portable amp from which I looped the Batman Theme. That was the best! Blasting down the hill to the music of my childhood in a ride I constructed with Masonite and my daughter’s Walmart trampoline parts, I had the crowd and the crowd had me. I also had a $20 online Batman costume, a foam affair of surprising high quality that slimmed me down some for my superhero debut. The bat ears weren’t much nor was the utility belt-that’s how they get your cash. They lure you in with the cheap suit then tempt you with the expensive add-ons like a high-end mask and authentic cincture. I didn’t bite. Nope. I got by on cheap childhood box costumes, I could live with the basics.
I did the whole thing on the cheap as a matter of fact. Some folks have some extra cash to spend large on their BRATS creation, but I didn’t. Most everything I used I had in the mess which is my back yard and my own Bat Cave. That was the fun part, successfully fashioning the Batmobile from scrap metal, forgotten Plexiglas collecting dusty mouse poop in the Batcave loft, and assorted donations and finds. I told a friend the process was rather spiritual. I said that I had everything necessary if I could just calm down long enough to notice that what I had was what I needed. I put the Bat Brat together wondering about our future as a nation and how we might weather the coming storms by being more locally interdependent and re-purposing all the crap we have everywhere. Lots of people all over the world do such a thing because they don’t have a strong enough economy that allows them to throw away anything that doesn’t have immediate value.
Unlike Superman who was highborn or Spider Man who got bit by a radioactive arachnid, Batman is a superhero with no innate super powers. Batman had to work hard to get where he is today. Those other two, they don’t’ have to work hard, they have to manage themselves and their dual identities. The only problems they have are sticky paws and metal allergies. Batman has to be clever, committed, confident, and compassionate-maybe a little cocky too. Granted, he has some financial resources most of us don’t enjoy, but he doesn’t have any more smarts or aerodynamics than the rest of us. He’s more nocturnal than most and sleeps better upside down, but he’s just like me and you and that’s why I bought a book about the sanity of Batman written by real live ‘superheroist’ with a Ph.D. in psychology.
I’m obsessed with myself and my capabilities. I keep looking for the right archetype, spirit animal, or rock n’ roll song to give me some direction. I have some growing talents in the creative department and I want very much to know where all this education, ability to communicate, and clever sense of humor will lead me. I was not unhappy as a priest and I’m not unhappy as a teacher, but I’m not content living a mortal life. I want Bruce Wayne’s options. I don’t need his problems with the ladies, I’ve got my own Cat Woman, but I’m ready to fight for and save Gotham City and I need some resources to do it goddammit. Anybody reading this knows that the Bat signal has been aglow and bouncing off the nighttime clouds for a while now. Our archenemies conspire against us. Mr. Freeze is running the country and it’s getting chilly. I don’t want to scramble around the metropolis looking for a place to hide. I want to join up with other heroes, kick some ass, and get Gotham back on track.