GateHouse — So obviously everyone wishes that Batman was real, that both our valuable streets, as well as those in Detroit, could be kept safe by some crazypants vigilante with a black-metal baritone and a wellspring of dark psychological horrors he took out on Antarctic-themed umbrella-packing supervillains, SURE, I mean who WOULDN’T want that? I can’t think of a town in the world that couldn’t use more justice distributors in capes, except for Cape Town, South Africa, which is frankly overdoing it a little bit.
But you all TALK a big game, in your plush fluffy recliners watching the same four teams win NCAA games (aw, good for you plucky underdogs of Kentucky) eating made-up foods like “Triscuits” and “queso,” the latter of which isn’t even a THING, I checked with Siri. Who among you is man enough to actually make this fantasy happen, to slough off the shell of your hellish quotidian existence and bring Batman to reality? Aside from all those weird roving gangs of self-appointed Batmans who put on black sweatpants and childish face masks, get their mom’s permission and hit up the go patrol the brutal streets of Park City, Utah, or whatever? (Also, it’s Batmans. Batmen looks sillypants. If anyone from the AP Stylebook would like to debate this point, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
No, for Real Amateur Batman Action you have to go to — wait for it — OH YES THIS SAYS SLOVAKIA.
Regular readers of this column, which is basically the SEO crawlers from Bing who think I sell real estate for some reason, will remember that, as I’ve written many times before in an attempt to snag free entrance to Whiting’s annual Pierogi Festival, my family hails from Slovakia, or whatever country Slovakia was when my family came over, that was like three or four names ago.
For Slovakia is a cold land, a flinty land, a land that my great-grandfather Andras (Slovak for “gruff callous-handed butcher who traveled to America in steerage on a future World War I destroyer so his great-grandson could make fun of former countrymen while drinking flavored coffee that has whipped cream all of it”), left to work in the steel mills in pre-Depression America because he realized that such a life would basically be Margaritaville by comparison (and not just because of the mills’ delicious sponge cake).
Short version: Slovakians get things done, like achieving marginal success in Olympic hockey, making pierogies out of other, better foods and dressing up at Batman to clean up the mean, probably potato-heavy streets of Dunajska Streda, which translated into English as “Gesundheit.” There in Dunajska Streda lives Zoltan Kohari, a local man who patrols the streets as a self-made Batman, which is sort of unnecessary since if there was ever a real name that lent itself to superhero repurposing it’s Zoltan Kohari. I’m actually really sad I’ve produced two children without realizing “Zoltan” was an acceptable option.
Related, sort of
Anyway, true story: Kohari, in a makeshift Batman costume, which according to this picture is a black leather jacket, black leather pants, bootleg Batman t-shirt and black mask that I’m gonna go ahead and guess he sewed himself, fights crime, helps the elderly across streets, rescues kittens from trees and calls the police if some serious yang is going down. (Ha! Just kidding, he doesn’t rescue kittens from trees as Slovakia’s climate is much too cold for kittens to survive.)
“I have decided to do good for the people. I take care of order and help clean up the environment so we can keep living on this planet,” Kohari told the Reuters news agency.
See? ONE SLOVAK GUY is out there trying to get things done on his street, keep the order, and other things to let us, uh, keep living on this planet. Where are you at, American Batmans? (You got something to say, AP Stylebook? Thought so. Punk.)