Give a Little, Get a Little
Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. A couple weeks ago, I was standing in the roadway median with an empty Burger King cup, asking motorists stopped at the traffic light if they could "spare a little change." For the most part they just pretended they didn't see me, which I found hard to believe considering I was wearing a full Batman costume (rental). One fellow remarked that he found it hard to believe that a fellow who could afford to rent such a professional looking Batman costume would need any "spare change," to which I responded, "Hey Buddy, if you had any idea what this costume cost to rent, you would understand EXACTLY why I need the extra cash!"
(By the way, the costume cost two hundred and fifty dollars for the day, but I wasn't about to tell HIM that.)
A few people laughed at me, which I expected, and one elderly woman asked if I could help her out of a jam. I'm paraphrasing here, of course. Old women don't say "jam," unless they are talking about jelly. For some reason, they never say "jelly," and just to clarify, she didn't ask me to "help her out of a jelly," which wouldn't make any sense, although if she had asked me to "help her out of SOME jelly," that would make sense, although I can no more imagine why anybody would be stuck in jelly in a roadway median than they could probably imagine why a wealthy and well-known comedian would be begging for spare change while wearing a very professional looking Batman costume.
Anyway, as I said, this lady was in some trouble. It seems her no good son was freeloading at her home, not paying rent, not helping buy groceries, not doing much of anything except sitting on his fat ass in front of the TV, and mooching off his mama. She asked if I would help with the situation. Traffic had kind of slowed down at that point, so I agreed. I got into her Corolla and we drove back to her house, which was a cute little Dutch Colonial on the end of a cul-de-sac in some town that seemed a little on the Jewy side to me.
When we got there, she led the way into the house screaming, "Arnold, Batman's here to kick your ass!" At this point, I started to get nervous because the truth is, I wasn't really planning on kicking anybody's ass, not even the ass of a free loader. There were two reasons for this. The first was that I have limited (non-existent) combat skills. The second was that I was afraid of losing my deposit on the costume if it ripped or got stained (another two hundred and fifty dollars). In my head, I was thinking more along the lines of giving Arnold a stern talking to in my best Batman voice. In fact, I had been practicing on the car ride over: "Arnold, you need to get a job. So sayeth Batman." I know that Batman never says "sayeth," but I always figured if you're "The Dark Knight," you should occasionally say things like "sayeth." That's what I was planning on doing, anyway.
Like all battle plans, however, this one was immediately discarded upon confronting the enemy. First of all, I felt like the old lady had misled me somewhat about Arnold. Yes, it was obvious that Arnold wasn't contributing to the household in any way. He was morbidly obese and dressed in soiled clothes that looked as though they hadn't been changed in weeks or maybe even months. He was about forty or forty five years old, unshaven, and plopped directly in front of the television, just as she described. What she had neglected to mention was that Arnold was obviously severely retarded. And it wasn't just his helmet that gave his condition away. It was the drool and the fact that when I entered the living room he looked at me and starting yelling "BA-MA! BA-MA!," which I was told was the way Arnold said "Batman."
(To be honest I kind of figured that out on my own, but I thought there was a long shot possibility that he was yelling "Badminton! Badminton!" which would have been very strange considering the circumstances, but honestly, what do you expect from a retard?)
The old woman started yelling at Arnold, telling him Batman was there to straighten him out and that I was going to kick his ass and that if he thought he could get away with "this," he had another think coming. Well, I just kind of stood there, completely unsure what to do. On one hand, I was beginning to feel sort of foolish about the whole situation. I mean, here I was, in this strange woman's living room in my Batman costume when I could be out there in the roadway median asking strangers for change. On the other hand, I did agree to help her out of a jam (paraphrasing), although it was becoming less and less clear to me exactly what the jam was, and what she expected me to do about it.
Grudgingly, and more as an attempt to extricate myself from this incredibly awkward situation than anything else, I went over to Arnold and said, "Arnold, get your act together. So sayeth Batman." Then I kicked him in the stomach.
It wasn't a very hard kick, just enough to startle him, but it pleased the old woman enormously. She started clapping her hands and saying, "See? See that?" After a few tears, Arnold turned his attention back to the television ("Days of Our Lives,"). She seemed satisfied with my performance. Then she opened her purse and handed me a five dollar bill. I briefly considered turning down the money on the assumption that Batman would have turned it down, but then I reflected on the fact that Batman didn't have to rent his own costume. So I took the money and put it in my Burger King cup, which at this point was crumpled up in my jeans pocket (underneath the costume.) Then she gave me some lemonade and drove me back to the median, where I didn't make another dime.
The next day I returned the costume and on my way out, the guy asked if I would be renting it again the following week, as I had indicated I might. I told him I would not.