Tuesday, July 7, 2015

1978: The Year Batman Saved Me From The Aliens

When I was five years old, there was a routine around my house when I came home from a long day of being in my kindergarten class. First, I would grab the small flashlight my mother had bought me which came with a detachable "Bat Signal" faceplate that would allow me to cast the signal on the wall. Then I would find the nearest towel and wrap it around my neck because I couldn't fight bad guys without my cape. Last, but certainly not least, I would tune in the varnished wooden console television in our living room to the correct Bat-Channel. I knew exactly when it was the correct Bat-Time because Mickey Mouse's long hand was pointing at his feet on the watch my grandmother had given me for Christmas.

As the Batman theme song would blare through the house, I would jump from couch to couch belting out at the top of my lungs "Na, Na, Na, Na, Batman" with a super fast cadence. To say that it was my favorite part of the day, after every single school day, was an understatement.

But that wasn't the only school day routine that I had to abide with. Growing up in Lake Village, Arkansas had brought me up in a relatively safe area. We were living right next to the railroad tracks on Lakeside Street right across from the school bus mechanic shop. Catty corner from our house was the elementary school that I attended. Behind the school along Lakeside street was the high school football field and finally Lakeside High School overlooking the lake. There was a lot of traffic in the area especially before and after school.

One of my sisters, either Deborah or Lisa, would help me get dressed each morning and feed me breakfast. They would make sure that I had my "homework" which usually consisted of cutting out pictures in magazines that started with a certain letter, "A is for Apple" and I would have fifty apples glued to the assignment. Back then, I did not think apples were rubbish. Once it was time to go, I would grab my Batman backpack and one of my sisters would walk me across the street, straight into Ms. Karen Broggin's kindergarten classroom.

The day in class was usually a blur because there was only one part of the day that I looked forward to:  naptime.  Not because I especially cared for naps, but Ms. Broggin had a special friend and time for us near sleepy time. His name was Orco. He was a friendly alien.  Ms. Broggin would read to us a story with this skinny green and yellow Teletubby looking puppet (without a tv in its belly) sitting in a chair beside her. She told us that of course it was only a puppet, but by having the puppet representation of Orco out during naptime it would let the affable alien know that we were all good kids and he would teleport in and bring us a treat. Usually, naptime didn't go so well for my oldest friend, Darlene, and I because we constantly plotted to catch Orco delivering candy into the goody bag.

On one particular day, as Darlene and I laid down listening to Ms. Broggin tell us Orco's story of the day, I had overdone it.  My eyes were heavy and before I knew it, I was out cold, dreaming of an alien invasion. When I awoke, I grabbed my treat and gave my sweet teacher a big hug. Once I had my Batman backpack on, the clock was ticking, so I ran out the door of the classroom.

The second part of my daily school routine was to wait beside to cypress tree at the corner of the schoolyard and wait for either Deborah or Lisa to walk down from Lakeside High School and help me across the street.  On that particular day of the alien invasion dream, they were both suspiciously late and I began to worry about the real possibility they had been abducted. Looking down at my watch, Mickey's long arm was getting very close to the tip of his big shoe and I knew that if something didn't happen soon, I would miss my show.

That was when I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I knew that my sisters were always telling me to look both ways before crossing the street and I had convinced myself that it sounded easy enough to me, even if I didn't know for certain exactly what I was suppose to look for.  Aliens I presumed in this instance, so I looked both ways and off I went.

After panting for breath on the other side of the road in the corner of our yard, I was relieved. It didn't register to me what the loud screeching noise was that I had heard crossing the road. My mind was on walking through the unlocked door, grabbing my Bat-signal and cape so that I could tune into Batman.

A booming, ominous voice behind me cried out, "LITTLE WILLIAM!"

I turned to see my older sister, Deborah standing across the street by the cypress tree in her denim bell-bottom jeans and silver polyester shirt with a very large collar.  She was trembling all over. She waved to a 60's style turquoise painted car letting the driver know it was ok to pass.  I did not understand why it was stopped on the road.

As Deborah moved with a determined pace across the street, her eyes burned through me and it looked like at any second she would blow steam from her ears like in a Looney Tunes cartoon. Her long, black hair bounced high into the air with each step of her approach.  I knew that I had to think fast and explain what happened. After all, I couldn't miss Batman.  I knew that I wasn't suppose to cross the road by myself, but I had to explain it to her so that she would understand because I knew she would want to know. She was seventeen which basically made her a grown-up. In an instant, the answer was crystal clear to me as Deborah dropped to her knees in front of me, grabbed me by my biceps and screamed, "Why did you do that?"

"Well, you see, aliens were attacking people from out of the sky and I knew that they had already gotten you and Lisa, so I was scared. But then, Batman and Robin showed up and started fighting the aliens," I explained with a flurry of words. "They knew that I was trying to get home to watch their show, so Robin checked the road both ways and he told Batman it was ok to cross the road.  Batman swooped down out of the sky and scooped me up and dropped me off on the other side of the road and that's how you found me here,"

Nonchalantly, Deborah spun me around and positioned me on her knee and delivered four or five stunning blows to my derriere. As I looked up to see my other sister Lisa standing over us, I was just as shocked as the expression on her face indicated that she was. It was nothing for Lisa to give me two or more spankings a day because being my younger sister at thirteen, she reminded me constantly that I "was a turd", but Deborah had never spanked me before. Ever.

Deborah spun me back around and looked me right into the eyes. I could feel the salty tears streaming down my freckled cheeks. I didn't understand.  I didn't lie or anything.  I was 100% convinced that I was telling the absolute truth. As my big sister wiped the tears from my cheeks, she pleaded, "I'm sorry, please don't cry," as her watery eyes fought back tears of her own.

She quickly scooped me up into her arms and held me tight as she carried me into the house and sat me down on the couch. She found my Bat Signal and my towel and handed them both to me. Deborah then turned the tv on and Batman was just beginning, but I didn't get a chance to jump around on the furniture.  Instead, my loving sister sat down beside me and wrapped her arms around me as she gave me a kiss on the top of my head.

Years later, my dad recounted a story to me how when Deborah was just beginning school, she had gotten off the bus one afternoon and a drunk driver had ran over her, breaking her leg. It was at that moment that I realized why she was really upset about that day. That had been the one and only time in my life that Deborah had ever spanked me and then I knew why.

So when I look back on my life on all of the times that I had gotten myself into trouble or punished (and there are many, many times that I can recount), I look back on the day that I was spanked because Batman had saved me from the aliens and it is the spanking I am prouder of than any other.

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