While not everyone will admit it, we all read and were enthralled by the various comic book superheroes when we were younger. Nowadays, it is crazy how well received all the superhero movies are, chalking up ridiculous box office numbers for characters that were only on paper back in the day. Yet, to this very day, not many have heard about our very own 79er superhero!
Let me take you back to late October 1980, well before the grey hair, the furrowed brows and the retirement certificates, and even before the inter-web and personal computers. In a dark corner, in a dingy hall, in what amounted to a boarding house in Moose Jaw, a “shy and retiring” former basketball great was upstairs rummaging through some of his belongings, hoping to get some inspiration for a costume for a Halloween Party that was happening that very night in that very house. He had spent the better part of an hour looking for that special something without much luck … and then he saw them - “Perfeeecccccttt!” he thought - there, deep in his tickle trunk, lay his green combat long johns and long sleeve shirt!!
That evening, as the witching hour approached, in came “Swash Buckling Pirate”, and “Doctor Kildare'“ in hospital scrubs; and even “Frankenstein’s Monster”, followed by girlfriends dressed as “Cinderella” or “Snow White”. Our “mild mannered” hero hid upstairs in his bedroom, waiting for just the right moment. In the meantime, this was a BYOB party, so the fridge was full of course, but soon nobody remembered who brought what, so everyone just grabbed the nearest beer and sure enough the room started to get louder and louder as more and more wobbly pops were consumed. A short time later, after some deliberation, it was time for the big reveal, so clad top to bottom in his green combat under garments, along with an orange towel cape and a stealthy Zoro black mask, he snuck down the stairs and then suddenly popped up and burst upon the assembled masses, loudly announcing his arrival with a deep-throated “Pummmmmpppkkkkin Maaaannnnn”! He stood there with a huge smile and then proudly displayed his best Superman-imitation pose, with fists clenched on his hips and his stomach sucked way in, and with his head turned at just the right angle so we can see his steel-jawed profile.
Everyone thought it was hilarious, and all laughed out loud and then when everything finally quieted down, “Swash Buckling Pirate” leaned over and said “Good one, Ray, stay up late dreaming that one up?” and so everyone laughed again. Pleased with the very positive reception, “Pumpkin Man” made sure to devote a little attention to each and every one of the “normal human beings”, so a great time was being had by all.
Later that evening, as always seems to happen at these things, the one guy who thought it would be funny to put on make up and dress up as Marilyn Monroe, hairy legs and all, and with a 5 o’clock shadow, is getting quite inebriated. He is over in the corner by himself, with his make up running down his face and his beard literally growing before our very eyes. He is upset that the girl he secretly really likes is not paying attention to him, for some unknown reason that only a mirror might reveal. Meanwhile, we notice some guy who nobody really knows walk over to him and start raising his voice, getting quite upset. It appears that Ms Monroe had the “unmitigated gall” to inadvertently grab one of the beers from the fridge that this guy brought in. The whole room goes really quiet as this guy is seriously angry and moments away from what appears to be a real brouhaha, with cops and everything.
However, before anyone can say anything, there is a rustling in the background, and as the front row parts, there is this very loud yell of “Pummmmmpppkkkkin Maaaannn” as our superhero suddenly jumps forward from the crowd and lands lightly on his feet, then clinches his fists on his hips and juts his chest out as far as it will go. He then holds out one hand, motions everyone to “Wait One” and then sternly wags his finger at the villain, Very Angry Man.
Everyone bursts in to laughter, which combined with Pumpkin Man’s brilliant manoeuvre, completely defuses the whole situation … that and giving the guy a couple of extra beer from the fridge.