January 16, 2010
Robin and me
I would have been too young to have watched the 1960's version of Batman during its original run. But fortunately for me, it was shown almost constantly in re-runs throughout my formative years. And I loved it. I loved the comic book flavour. The over-the-top villains. The action-packed fight sequences with their Bam! Pow! commentary.
I'm surprised that, given my love for the television show, I never chose to dress up as either Batman or Robin for Halloween. The costumes must have been available. But I was always something generic. Like a clown or a cat. Perhaps it was just as well. It would have been almost impossible to fit a warm jacket under one of those costumes and remain a proud superhero. Wherever Gotham City was, it clearly wasn't northerly. So I may have been discouraged for reasons of climate.
But it wasn't only on Halloween night that I embraced the joy of dressing up. No, I would create costumes and assume new personalities in all seasons. And one summer, likely after part of a school vacation marked by daily episodes of Batman, I decided to become one of my favourite superheroes. My memory is fuzzy on why I opted for Robin. Maybe I identified with him as a character closer to my own age. Maybe I simply recognized it as an easier costume to create. Batman's costume would be a challenge to assemble using whatever I could find around the house. But Robin's costume seemed possible. So Robin I would become.
I'm grateful that no photographs were taken. I have to rely on my memory to fill in the details. And that's painful enough. I recall wearing shorts and a t-shirt (likely as colourful as my clothes in the above photograph). And a towel as my cape. And an eye mask made from paper and string. But the greatest difficulty would prove to be the "R" emblem - Robin's signature accessory. It had to be impressive. Instantly noticeable. Ordinary paper simply would not do. Finally, the solution presented itself. In the form of a leftover piece of vinyl flooring. Cutting the letter "R" from the stiff plastic was no easy feat. It was a task worthy of a superhero. But eventually, it was done. And mounted on a painted cardboard disc. And pinned to my t-shirt. And off I ventured into the yard to fight nefarious villains. Where I promptly attracted the attention of my cousin and his friend. And not in a good way.
Sure they snickered. But they immediately recognized me as Robin. Thanks to that impressive vinyl emblem. Instantly noticeable. And despite their mockery, I felt an immense pride. My costume had obviously been a success.