Friday, July 15, 2005

Bird Botching

Any comic book connoisseur worth his weight in Kryptonite knows the background story of Red Robin. In The Amazing Red Robin: Issue 1: Fowl Play, Robert Crow,a mild-mannered restaurant waiter, is fatefully hit by a radioactive bird dropping (The bird had been feeding on worms near Hanford. You know, the ones with the red eyes and teeth.)

Naturally, before he could clean it off the DNA and RNA and ACL and the Mitosises… all combined and merged and altered Robert Crow… permanently. Now, whenever there was a wiff of injustice in the air, whenever they were children in the need of being entertained, whenever there was a photo-op that needed to be created, Robert could run to the nearest supply closet, and in a matter of fifteen minutes be transformed into RED ROBIN! THE AVIAN AVENGER! He steps out of the closet and utters that heroic catchphrase, “Uh… could somebody help me with this zipper?

Yesterday, I was first called upon to assume the mantle of Red Robin. I slipped into the costume- well, maybe slipped isn’t the right word. I *bungled* into the costume in the 2x3 supply closet. And *yes* the Red Robin Costume does make me look fat.

The bottom of the costume consists of yellow tights. Although I am very secure in my masculinity, I *usually* avoid wearing tights. Except at Ballet lessons, of course. And in emergencies. And on Tuesdays.

It took me the longest time to figure out how to put the gloves on. No matter which way I turned them, they still felt wrong, somehow. Finally, I fingered the problem: The glove only had *four* fingers.

If I had been a comic book fan, I would have known, of course. Red loses his fifth fingers in The Amazing Red Robin issue #348: Red Robin vs. The Sinister Dr. Applebee. I’m sure you’ve read that one.

Finally, I placed Red’s massive decapitated and hollowed-out head onto my own, and stumbled out of the closet. The supply closet, I mean. No more “tights” jokes.

For some reason, little kids seem to love the giant bird with blank glassy eyes and a coy smile that seems to be hiding a darker secret. They hug him and high five him and take pictures with him. Obviously, they weren’t brought up on Hitchcock movies like me.

I had all sorts of plans for my stint as Red Robin. To amuse the children, and would flap my arms as hard as I could and then BAM! run into the glass doors and fall down, twitching on the floor.

The nice thing about wearing the Red Robin suit is that your identity is concealed. I could do anything: Whether it be dancing the Chattanooga Choo Choo or going on a maniacal gun-blazing crime spree… and NOBODY would know it was me. When the witnesses were questioned by police later, they would have to say, well he was about 6’1, had four fingers, was… uh… furry and red… and had a beak attached to his massive head. Oh! And he was doing the hussle!”

Unfortunately, as soon as I came out of the supply closet, one of my coworkers lets out a stifled snicker and yells, “Hey! You’ve got to see this!”

As an experienced expert in the field of humiliating myself, I know, instinctually, that “Hey! You’ve to see this,” is *not* a good phrase to hear.

It turns out that, through the outline of my tights (remember those) one could see the outline of my shorts, my keys, my wallet, my inhaler, and my Duncan Donuts punch card. (It had five punches, witnesses recall.) Curse you, yellow tights! Curse you!

It also happens, that after reading the Red Robin Code, the costume has a maximum height of 5 foot 7. I’m a half a foot too large.

You know how, when you’re growing up, people tell you that you can be anything you want to be? It’s not true. Sometimes, you’re just too tall.

I haven’t given up all hope, however. I hear there’s a place called “Chuck E. Cheese” that’s hiring…

Squeak Squeak.