“I am vengeance.
I am the night…
I. AM. BATMAN!”
“Also… do you have any Snickers bars? Thanks.”
My mom (or family/friend) bought me an unlicensed “Batman” costume which included a mask that was the shape of an actual animal bat, rather than a mask that looked like Batman’s head.
I always thought the bat mask was a bit odd, but young me thought there must’ve been something special about that costume, seeing as only a super-scary version of Batman would wear an animal bat on his face. If I were a criminal and some guy in a cape wearing an animal bat on his face, declaring he was the embodiment of justice, vengeance, and the night – yeah, I’d shit my pants and opt to go to jail.
So then it was in agreement – at least with myself – that I was pretty threatening and to be taken seriously as a crime fighter.
Then there was a Halloween a few years prior, where I asked my mom to make me a “Sonic the Hedgehog” costume. She was beyond pure excitement that her son had asked her – voluntarily – to make a costume for him. “Sonic” was a new and very popular video game character for the Sega Genesis home entertainment system. A character I highly regarded at the time.
“A hedgehog? You sure, honey?” my mom asked, a little confused. “Yeah! With spikes on the back and everything!” I replied hurriedly with a little bit of gusto, expecting my mom to have the same current working knowledge of video game characters and their attributes as I did.
I was so excited going to bed that night. Me, the only kid at school in a Sonic the Hedgehog costume. I’d run circles around the kids during recess. They’d all be jealous of me. They’d wish they had a mother like mine, who was savvy about video games and Sonic. I could hear my mother using the sewing machine in the other room. I think I might have been so excited, I could’ve peed a little if I wasn’t careful.
The next morning I woke up and ran into a dining area. My mother had sewn a vest, with what looked like thousands of curly hairs from a wig sewn on the back and a face mask that was altered to look like some kind of animal’s face.
“What do you think, sweetie?” my mom asked. “What is this?” I replied. “It’s the hedgehog costume you wanted! Doesn’t it look adorable?”
Adorable. That’s the word my mom used when /she/ thought something looked very cute and she wanted to sell me on the same feeling by using such a charged and grotesque word to a young little boy.
“Uh. I don’t know. This wasn’t exactly…” I stopped. I could see my mom’s face start to waiver. As if I was about to drive a dagger straight through her heart.
“It looks great, mom.” I said, as she hurriedly started assembling the pieces over my body and applying makeup to my face, so that you couldn’t see the skin around my eyes when you put the mask on.
I did not end up running circles around the kids at school. I ended up telling them over and over “I’m a hedgehog. No, not the video game character. An actual hedgehog.” All of the teachers loved that my mother made something, rather than buying some knock-off item at a Halloween costume shop.
This is what I get for not knowing a hedgehog was an actual animal and looked nothing like the character I had grown to love.
Either way, I was a really great bat-faced Batman.