February 5th, 2004


I wrote this a while back and thought I would share it with you. Please forgive its rough state.

Let’s talk about superheroes. Everybody likes them and most guys want to be one. Jerry Seinfeld says most men view themselves as low-level superheroes, anyway.

First of all, let’s take a look at Batman. Here’s a guy who dresses up in an outfit and spends his nights beating people up, basically. He doesn’t have special bat-powers, either. Look at your Superman – yeah, he fights the biggest and the baddest guys around, but why shouldn’t he? What’s he got to be afraid of? He’s got invulnerability, X-ray vision, super speed, cold breath, he can fly, and he’s got heat vision! He’s like a superhero convenience store – he’s got a little bit of everything. The Flash can run really fast – hey, Superman’s got that! The Hulk can jump really far – Superman would probably just fly there, but he could jump if he wanted to! Wonder Woman can deflect bullets with her bracelets – Superman doesn’t need bracelets, he can deflect bullets with his eyelids, if need be. So when people in the comics are talking about Superman being “courageous,” I say, “Ha!” What’s he going to be afraid of? Don’t you have to be a little afraid of something and still face it to be called “courageous”? I’ll tell you what he’s got to be afraid of – little green rocks. Kryptonite. Here’s a guy who can fly to different planets because he can hold his breath that long and fly that fast, but you hold up a piece of his home planet, and you can decorate him with tinsel and use him as a Christmas tree, if you want to. His home planet! Talk about not being able to go home again…

Who else we got? Spider-Man was always another one of my favorites, probably because he was a geeky kid who got some really cool powers – proportionate strength of a spider, spider sense, and the ability to stick to things. I gotta tell you, that last one’s no big deal – you ever wear shorts and sit on a leather couch in the middle of summer? You’ve got super powers! Didn’t know it, did you? But here’s a teenager who’s fighting guys like Rhinocerous and The Shocker and Dr. Octopus, all the while he’s trying to get girls to go on dates with him. What a life! I’m here to tell you, guys, if you get bitten by an insect and gain some sort of superpower, don’t bother with girls for a while, okay? You’ve got bigger fish to fry at that point, I’m thinking. Number one, you’ve got to learn how to sew. You think you’re going to find a BugMan suit on the shelf at your local tailor? Ain’t gonna happen. Second, you’ve got to come up with some killer alibis. “Why didn’t you come home until 2 in the morning?” “Why are you always wearing long sleeves even in the middle of summer?” “Where’d you get that cut from your ankle to your forehead?” How are you going to answer those questions if you’re wondering whether your girlfriend likes your hair that day? My advice to you – forget about the girls for a while and focus on the superhero thing. But here’s Spider-Man fighting all these guys and swinging all over New York and making wisecracks the whole time. But I say again, why shouldn’t he? He’s got super-fast reflexes and spider-sense – something’s about to hit him (bullets, even!) and he can not only dodge it, but can probably do something to mess up the guy who tried it in the first place. Somebody drops a wall on him – hey, he’s as strong as a person-sized spider! No problem! Granted, Spider-Man’s a little more nervous than Superman, he can, after all, be shot and beat up pretty bad.

That brings us to Batman. What super power does he have? Well…he’s rich…and that’s about it. If that were enough, we’d be hearing stories about how nobody knows where Bill Gates goes at night. “There’s been another sighting of Greenbacks Man in Redmond, Washington…” No, here’s the quintessential self-motivator. Bruce Wayne’s parents get killed right in front of him so he spends the next 12 years or so of his life training so he can put on a batsuit and beat up criminals. Wow! I can’t even finish taking the whole typing teacher CD-ROM! I got to the letter “T” and gave up. It messed up my typing like you wouldn’t believe. But here’s a goal-oriented fellow – “I need to learn every martial art there ever was, just in case one of these muggers knows the Praying Mantis style of kung fu.” I think all of you who are students can take a lesson from Bruce Wayne. “I need to learn every President’s middle name, just in case…”

So Batman’s got no super powers, but he does have some really cool toys, doesn’t he? Batarangs, the Batmobile, bat-grappling hooks, bat-knockout gas, and bat-everything else. Where’s he getting this stuff? Is there an online store where you can buy all of that? If so, don’t you think the people who work there might catch on, eventually? “Hey, honey, you see this thing on the news about the bank robber who was tied up with some sort of bat-rope in Gotham City? I mailed off a box of bat-rope to a guy there just last week! Say, wait a minute…” And if he’s getting them specially-made for him, I don’t care how rich he is, that’ll bankrupt him in a hurry, and frustrate him besides. How many times have you special-ordered something from Burger King? And of those times, how many times was it right? I can hear the phone conversation now – “Hey, I ordered 2 dozen black batarangs with the stun-tips on them, and you sent me 6 yellow batarangs with some kind of floral scent on them! I needed these tonight! I’m fighting the Riddler, for crying out loud!”

And what about the Batcave? How’d he do that? Did you ever try to build even a tree house? You’d start off with all these plans – “It’s gonna have 4 rooms, a bathroom, a fridge, two stories, and 6 different secret escape routes.” What did you end up with? Two boards, a rope, and an unwillingness to ever set foot in the treehouse. But Batman’s got this whole cave with computers, a garage, a training facility, and maybe even a bathroom. If he had contractors come in a do this for him, did he have to kill them when they were done? Then he wouldn’t be a good guy anymore! Can you imagine Bruce Wayne working with a group of teamsters? “Now, Mr. Wayne, what we got here is a problem – we can do the secret entrance to the cave with some sort of camouflaged cover, but we’re thinking that the rotating parking space is, well, cost-prohibitive, and, frankly, not covered in the original contract. Now, we *could* maybe put in some sort of sign warning you of the edge of the parking space, but we would have to put in some overtime to get that finished…”

So here’s a guy with no super powers and a boatload of cash going out to fight evildoers every night. Talk about fear! What if they overpower him and take his wallet? If he’s keeping his ATM PIN in there, that’s the end of Wayne Enterprises! There’s some motivation to defeat evil, huh?

In my opinion, Batman’s the coolest crimefighter. Coolest outfit, coolest gadgets, coolest butler. Don’t mess with him, okay? If you’re not a bad guy he’s going to defeat, you’re probably an employee at Wayne Enterprises and he can fire you.

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