When I was younger, I lived in Alaska. Anchorage, Alaska, to be exact.
I had a best friend named Richie and a girlfriend — yes, a girlfriend — named Brandy; each in both the second and third grades.
Brandy was Hawaiian. Hot. Yes, even as a second-grader, I knew what I liked — exotic, good looking, and a good kisser. That’s right, we kissed. Only on the playground, though. It gave me much more credibility with my friends after they saw us kiss. I was King.
Anyway, back then my favorite show was Batman — the television series with Adam West as Batman. I used to love Adam West’s hair in the show. In fact, I loved it so much that I would have my haircut just like him and have to do my hair in the morning before school — that’s right, hogging the mirror and all to perfect the quasi comb-over.
One day we were playing — surprise — Batman at recess in the “cool playground.” It was considered the cool playground because it had two fireman poles, a short 6-8-foot one and a taller 10-15-footer. I was Batman, Richie was Robin, Brandy was Batgirl, some kid that we all hated (Benjamin. Not Ben, Benjamin. No surprise as to why we hated him) was the Riddler. We were all running around. It was basically Batman tag. I am at the higher of the two fireman poles — if you’ve never seen the show, Adam West slid down a pole to get to the Bat Cave and Batmobile — and see Benjamin running nearby and nobody who was on my team near him. So, I did the logical thing — I jumped off the 10-15-foot platform to the hardened snow below in an attempt to tag him.
I did. I also landed kinda funny and my diaphragm kind of did an accordion thing and I was out of breath laying on my back on the snow. (Think Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers when Bradley Cooper crushes him on the blitz in the “touch football” scene.)
I can’t breathe, I am yelling at Benjamin to freeze because I tagged him, I am yelling for Richie to take him to the “bat cave” (which was the GeoDome). All the while struggling to breathe.
Richie — and this is why I loved this kid — took Benjamin to the Bat Cave first and then got help. The teacher, my third-grade assistant teacher Ms. Corey, comes over and tells me to stand up. I do. She then tells me to lean over and open my breathing. I look at her like she has 17 heads — I was just 7- or 8-years-old, I didn’t know how to do that. She shows me, and I do it. My breathing gets easier.
Brandy comes running over after putting Catwoman (her friend, Robin) in the Bat Cave and checks on me, I told her I was fine, and she says I was awesome for jumping down and tagging Benjamin and waits for Ms. Corey to walk away.
Once Ms. Corey walked away, she gave me a quick peck on the lips.
Richie high-fived me. To this day, I am pretty sure it was for the kiss and not jumping down 10-15 feet to tag Benjamin.