(How wearing a costume in public turns you into a superhero)
The night before Thanksgiving this year I participated in a little social experiment. That is, if by “participated” I really mean “was dropped into,” and by “social experiment” I mean “getting trashed, molested, screamed at, and generally having an insane time.” Instead of my standard behavior of traveling to visit family, my boss (who believes slapping people in the face with his balls is the national pastime) cancelled my plans with a karate chop so decisive that even Chuck Norris would consider it epic. But I am no stranger to watching as Happenstance chokes the ever-loving life out of my dreams and desires. These things happen. So what could I do but carry on and persevere? And by “persevere” I mean “dress up like a turkey and hang out in bars on the holidays.”
Luckily, this all turned out magnificently well. For two whole days I felt as good as Superman getting to whoop the shit out of Aquaman. This got me thinking that maybe I had become a superhero for a day or two. But how can a person be sure of a statement this bold? You can’t just say you’re a superhero with nothing to back it up. In fact, every year or so there’s a news story of some punk-bitch who dresses up to be a masked vigilante and he usually gets his face shot off. And I don’t want to be that guy. So I’ve decided to address a few principles, some ground rules of basic hero-dom if you will, that will hopefully substantiate my claim of becoming a caped crusader.
1) A superhero must have a tragic and/or mysterious origin story:
Uh, yeah, I’ve got the tragic part covered here. I already mentioned how my holiday plans got denied as quickly and harshly as I did on Prom Night. Except my boss used less mace than Suzy Larsen… but not much less. Now as far as mysterious goes, let’s review some events regarding my origin becoming the Turkey Dude. It all began when I got an email from a guy (Aaron) I had only met a handful of times. A few days later, a strange package arrived at my apartment door. Then, on the day of my miraculous (ridiculous) transformation, I met Aaron (who works for the government) at a compound with restricted access before being whisked away in his sportscar to an undisclosed location. Now how’s that for some secret spy shit? Then, after an unorthodox rite of passage involving The Tibetan Book of the Dead and several beers, we had each become more turkey than man.
2) Got to have some superpower(s):
More or less, my superpowers consisted of: Make anybody dance, Convince anyone to drink more, and Get anyone to shout “YEAH” on command just by pointing at them. Now I know this isn’t laser eye rays, invisibility, the ability to commune with animals, control electricity, or super strength. It might appear like I only had the powers of any generic fraternity president. But it was cooler than that. And unlike the frat dude, I only used my powers for good, not douchey evil.
The ability to get anybody dancing was my favorite power of the night. When we went to a half-filled bar and crushed the empty space in the middle of the building, suddenly no one could resist the temptation to groove and the bar was filled to the brim with festive partiers. At one point, I was dancing clumsily with a beer in my hand and had been performing some variation of the awkward dance by that kid from the Charlie Brown cartoons who bobs his head while kicking his legs out. When I was truly rocking solid to “Too Much Bass Club Music #7863,” there was a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to find three Asian people smiling at me. The guy in the middle was a sixty year old man – Jesus only knows what he was doing at a nightclub at midnight. When he saw he had my attention, he began replicating my dance with twice the vigor I had been using. Needless to say, I started to dance as hard as I could, which is about the time some wasted dude shouted, “Hey! This guy’s doing the turkey dance! This old guy’s doing the turkey dance with a turkey!” This was immediately followed by everyone in the room cheering and doing shots. I believe that’s pretty much the story of how Ghost Rider got his start, unless I’m misremembering that one.
3) Superheroes must have some source for their amazing powers:
Wild Turkey 101 shots. Obvious, I know. But did you also know that a man-turkey-hybrid supercreature also thrives on cheap Chinese food? To get the ball rolling, Agent Aaron and I met up with the rest of our turkey brethren at a bar that doesn’t have a name which is attached to a Chinese restaurant. This was our Batcave from which we could keep tabs on our city, suit up, make battle plans, and park our Batmoblie (which happened to be a Ford Focus. Don’t hate). The drinks were beyond cheap and you can order restaurant food from the confines of the bar and the wait staff will bring it back to your own dingy little corner. Even though this was all beautifully convenient, we naturally still went out into the restaurant because…
4) Superheroes create media spectacles:
Everywhere we went became photo-bomb central. I don’t have a Facebook account, but I ended up on a hundred or so people’s Facebook pagey-wall things. We didn’t have to be like sad, vain Peter Parker taking pictures of himself. It was already something huge and unstoppable. This was taken to another level when we walked into a dimly lit wine bar. The owner of the establishment came out to take pictures of us sipping on our wine. That’s right, we were helping small shop owners. For the record, the wine we selected was in fact one that pairs well with turkey, and if you think that I sound like a wuss for saying that then bear in mind that I had already taken several shots of whisky to the face along with a couple of brews, with the night only being halfway over at this point. I was going 100% professional. Plus, I loves me some Pinot Noir. Mixing alcohol never felt so right as it did while marinating this turkey fellow.
Chillin' in the wine bar.
6) Weakness or Flaw:
One of the most important aspects of a superhero’s character is some sort of inherent weakness or flaw. No one’s perfect, including the comic book/movie beings we have grown up idolizing. Kryptonite rocked Superman’s house. Continued mutations in Peter Parker’s DNA eventually transformed him into an uncontrollable and monstrous spider-creature leading him to nearly kill and eat enemies and loved ones alike. Wolverine could be tossed around like some ragdoll by Magneto because of his adamantine bones. And Batman had that annoying voice telling him NOT to kill for some reason. What made me and my fellow turkeys interesting is that our weakness happened to be our catchphrase. It turns out that when you get a group of turkey people together and get them liquored up, if anyone shouts “Gobble” then the turkeys can’t help but all yell “Gobble Gobble” in response. This happened. All. The. Time.
Hustlin' Tom Turkey says, "Gobble Gobble, y'all."
In fact, at one point, when we were leaving the wine bar, there was a twelve year old girl across the street who kept chanting “Here we go turkeys!” We would always respond with a group Gobble. This happened no fewer than nine times. And the whole time we were trying to decide what to do next, but whenever we heard her yell, we would Gobble in unison. I’d also like to note that this twelve year old was out shouting on the street corner at 11pm, mind you. Where were your parents, I ask?
And I couldn’t claim to be a superhero if I didn’t
7) Have a doomed love interest:
Let’s face it, comic book heroes have about the same record in the romance department as Hollywood A-listers. That is, they’re beautiful and powerful so they hook up with each other faster than The Flash runs a forty-yard dash, but their relationships blow up like supernovas.
Friends attempt to console Bruce Banner after a recent breakup.
For my part, my giant turkey heart fell for the cunning wiles of Drunk Belligerent Woman. I met her early in the night before she had revealed her secret identity to me, and we had the typical and meaningless bar small talk that drunk people have any old day of the week. My friends – my SUPERFRIENDS – and I left to go to a few other bars, but ended up returning to this particular establishment. Then, in the midst of the dance floor under the assault of heavy bass, there occurred an exchange that later had to be explained to me by one of my turkey brothers who witnessed the ordeal. What follows is an exact transcript of the event in question:
Drunk Belligerent Woman: Can I grab your giblets?!?
DBW: My friends!
DBW: They’re over there. (points) They say I should!
DBW: My friends! We want your giblets!
DBW: So it’s okay?
At which point this lady grabbed and vigorously scrubbed my crotch like she was trying to get the rust off the Titanic. I mean, she really went for it. As this was going down, her little posse of drunk wing-girls hooted and hollered and raised their Cosmos high in celebration. I believe Drunk Belligerent Woman had super strength and the ability to wield flames because she simultaneously crushed my testicles and then nearly set them on fire with friction. She apparently also had super hearing since she heard me consent when all I thought I was saying was “what” over and over. She had it all, let me tell you. But then she disappeared into the crowd without a trace. For the rest of the night, no matter how hard I searched, I never heard her drunk cackling laugh again.
Throughout all of this, we managed to do what all superheroes are supposed to do: we helped people. Even though by the end of the night we had the mental prowess of The Hulk, we still managed to keep it together and be good little turkeys. Sometimes we were helping people boogey down. Other times we fished drunk girls out of the gutter who had fallen due to their incredibly tall and slutty stilettos. And of course there were the hoards of people in town for the holidays who desperately wanted to forget how much they hated being with their stupid relatives. We helped these people too with our booze powers.
"Wonder Triplet powers activate! Form of: a Hangover!"
The next day, I woke up on Aaron’s couch with a half full beer still upright in my hand. I bet The Silver Surfer wishes he had the ability to do that! Aaron and I had to go back to being human again, so we needed another ceremony to undo the power of the first one. Turkey outfits off, we performed a ritual sacrifice by deep frying a turkey in the backyard and drinking Champagne together. Okay, so that’s not very “super” or anything, but it was delicious. Now if only I could figure out what superpowers I would need to combat my boss’s Asshole Abilities. Seriously, I’d rather work for Darkside…