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|I recently went to Portland, OR on a quest for a birthday present for Maria’s 36th birthday. I wound up at an ultra-hip trinket store on Mississippi staring at a rectangular purple and yellow stained glass pendant. Although Maria was on my mind, I knew I had to buy this one for myself.
When I was a kid, I could tell whether it would be a good or bad weekday at 4:00 p.m. After I got off the school bus and survived the horror of being called queer-bait and dick-weed all day, I came home, had a bowl of vanilla ice cream and planted myself in front of the T.V. for BATMAN.
It was a good day if BATGIRL came flying across the screen in the opening cartoon and kicked the bad guy in the face. It was a bad day if she didn’t.
There are many others that I loved and wanted in some way to emulate: Wonder Woman (but somehow, although Lynda Carter looked great, I felt the skimpiness, glitter and patriotism of the outfit really wasn’t “me”), Catwoman (who was always sexy but somewhat desperate and unhappy; Who would want to be a villain all the time, always scheming and running from the law? And the constant purring…even for a 10-year old, it was a little too much.), and Isis (cool pendant, light, summery dress, my weekend substitute for BATGIRL…but who had time to recite those mythological rhymes to enable their power in a time of crisis?).
I loved them all, but BATGIRL was my queen. First, she was a regular chick; No super powers. A little button under her vanity led her to the secret brick room that housed the red wig, form fitting costume and spiral door to the BATGIRLCYCLE. It was all so real as opposed to Batman and Robin’s set-up. How the fuck did they build a nuclear powered cave under Wayne Mansion, and who and how many had the fortunate jobs of standing somewhere between the two, stripping the ever-so-dashing suits off of Bruce and Dick, then putting their leotards on as they swooshed past on those slippery poles? BATGIRL dressed herself, and I like that in a super hero.
Second, BATGIRL always saved Batman and Robin’s ass. Always. To the point where you have to wonder: How did they do it in Seasons I and II without her? She helped so much that they didn’t even have to stretch the episodes to two parts in Season III, and that really appealed to me, being a pioneer of the instant gratification generation. It was also great to see her paired with Robin and be thrown around like a dancer in high-heeled boots, confusing, kicking, and subduing villains and criminals as part of the choreographed Bat-samble.
There are few things today that give me the unbridled joy and sheer excitement that I used to feel on the days when BATGIRL made her guest appearances. How could I pass up the chance to buy the purple and yellow pendant that reminded me of BATGIRL’s costume on that unusually sunny day in Portland? It symbolizes the happiness I should always seek in my life and, although the silver embossing will peel even before I’m able to type this essay, it’s extra-special because Oregon has no sales tax.