One fateful October day when I was 7, I was at Walmart with my parents, staring at a Batman costume that’d caught my eye the instant we entered the store. Complete with a mask,cape, and utility belt, the dinky plastic uniform had completely captured my imagination. But, the husky kid that I was, my parents were convinced that the flimsy faux spandex would be too tight.
They were right, of course, but I didn’t know or care. When I made my case, which mostly included how cool the costume was and how good I’d been lately, they miraculously caved with a long sigh and bought the costume off the rack.
If only I’d listened to them.
On the last school day before the Halloween weekend, I donned my one-piece Batman costume, mask and all. I wanted to stay authentic to the character, so all I wore beneath the disguise was a pair of tighty whities.
I headed to my second grade class at Gulf Elementary, excited to show off my awesome outfit in front of the cool fifth graders in the parade we did every year. The event went in shifts, and each class took about 30 minutes to go from classroom to classroom, displaying our Halloween attire.
Early in the day, everybody in the class was writing away on some spelling assignment, when I noticed my pencil was down to a tiny nub. That’s when the trouble started. As I stood up and walked to the sharpener, I felt a small tear rip open in my costume.
I fast-walked over behind the cubbies and surveyed the damage. The cheap pants of the costume had started to rip across the most inconvenient seam possible. It was clear that, without concerted effort, the tear would shred all the way across the seam, from back to front.
But I was nothing if not determined. To my 7-year-old mind, the parade was everything — I wasn’t about to reveal my wardrobe malfunction, but I wasn’t about to give up either. So I resolved to hide the tear at any cost. With my heart beating out of my chest, I penguin-walked with my legs clasped tightly together all the way back to my
desk, sat down, and picked up my pencil. None of the other students had noticed.
The tear got worse as the day went along, and I began to wonder whether I’d made a mistake. When I finally penguin-walked with my class into the classroom of the scary fifth graders, I was sweating bullets, braced at
any moment for someone to point and yell, “Hey, this kid ripped his pants!”
Somehow, that moment never came. When we returned to the classroom and got back to work, I tiptoed up to
my teacher and told her the situation. My mom, the saint that she is, drove all the way out to the school to bring me a change of clothes.
In the end, our hero lived to battle the criminals of Gotham another day, but his costume went straight into the trash. I may have been the hero Gulf Elementary Deserved, but first, I’d need a suit that didn’t come from the bargain bins of Walmart.
I could not find a picture of me in the outfit. Pretty sure I burned the pictures from when I was a kid