Better than Batman

When I was at university, I would schedule my classes to allow for long breaks in between in order to have time to do homework, read ahead, or (more times than not) go for bike ride. UTSA’s 1604 campus was on the edge of some of the best riding outside of the Texas Hill Country, and, at the time, the development now virtually decimating the area had yet to commence.

My time on the bike was not all fun and play. Sure, it was that, but I’d find I did some of my best thinking while just riding along. One time that stands out was following a literature class, where I mulled over the writing prompt in my head, and, by the time I made it back to campus and in the rec center for a shower, had the outline of a first draft completed in my head.

Fast forward fifteen years, and I’m still doing the same thing: Thinking (sometimes too much) while on my bike. I’m not one to wear earbuds outside (too much traffic to listen for) and inside…well, the music seldom does much to quell what comes to mind. Such was the case a week or so ago while working through a Sufferfest workout titled “Batman Intervals.”

Sometime around the fourth or fifth round, I got to thinking about the sundry iterations of Batman filmgoers have been subjected to over the years, most recently Ben Affleck’s take. While Affleck is purported to have been the bomb in Phantoms, yo, I have a hard time seeing him as a superhero the likes of Batman—or Daredevil, but we’ll not go knocking on that door tonight. Bruce Wayne, sure, but the Dark Knight?

Still, it was an exchange of “dialogue” in 2017’s Justice League between Affleck’s Batman and Ezra Miller’s The Flash regarding superpowers, and…

…that got me to thinking how Batman can always retreat into his money, much in the same way the Tom Buchanans could, would: They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made*.

Bruce Wayne is under no obligation to be Batman. It’s what rich people can do if they get bored with being rich or making their own space companies or raising polo ponies or whatever it is that rich people genuinely do these days. Batman is, for all intents and purposes, a volunteer—an overzealous Citizen On Patrol. If he’s not feeling terribly super on any given day (er, night) he can just not show up. No one holds him accountable for what he does or doesn’t do.

And that’s where I’m better than Batman.

I don’t have his gadgets or cape & cowl—and certainly not his trust fund—but I do have the accountability to be my best self all the time for the people who genuinely need and depend on me. And if you, too, are a caregiver for a spouse, a child, another family member, or even a friend, you, too, are better than Batman.

There is more to say, but it’s late, and it’s been a tough day saving the world in some form or fashion. And I get to do it all over again tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

* – OK, sure, Wayne Industries set up the pay account for the guy who got his leg crushed at the beginning of Batman v. Superman (or ending of what Superman movie that was where Superman uncharacteristically kills Zod), but that’s likely the exception not the rule—and turned out to be little more than a plot device.

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