Holy Heifer, Batman!

Is it only me, or have some of you noticed that you never see Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Batman in the same room? I am not saying, of course, that the senator and the Dark Knight are the same person or that they may even be twins who were separated at birth. But the news last month that our six-term U.S. senator (and longtime Batman fan) filmed a scene for next summer’s Batman flick, “The Dark Knight,” can’t help but fuel speculation that the man who helped bring down former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales does indeed double at night as the Caped Crusader.
Just for the record, I do not believe that Gonzales is either the Riddler or the Joker, despite testimony earlier this year that would have been hilarious had it been on a “Saturday Night Live” sketch and not, alas, before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And though earlier this summer President Bush called Gonzales the Eternal General, it became clear last week that this was just a bizarre bit of wishful thinking.
I should also note that I do not think Gonzales is Mr. Freeze, either. Mr. Freeze is really Lonnie Rafferty, a friend of mine growing up — and the reason I jumped out a second story window when I was 6 years old. My buddies Lonnie and Mark Leland and I were playing Batman one afternoon, and I was actually getting to be Batman instead of Robin for a change. Why? Lonnie, who usually played Batman, had broken his leg and one of his crutches made the perfect ice gun for Mr. Freeze. So, Lonnie was Mr. Freeze, I was promoted to Batman, and Mark became Robin. Unfortunately, I managed to leave my utility belt in the living room of the Rafferty’s house, and now Robin and I were upstairs and we could hear Mr. Freeze hopping on one leg up the steps. Thump-pause. Thump-pause. Thump-pause. It was jump or be frozen. I jumped. Mark didn’t. He was the wiser lad.
Interestingly, while that was the first time an eventual Vermonter would confront Mr. Freeze, it was not the last. Years later, Sen. Leahy would be an extra in the 1997 film, “Batman and Robin,” a movie which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger (now Gov. Schwarzenegger) as Mr. Freeze.
In any case, I first began to ponder seriously the idea that Sen. Leahy — who has honorary doctorates from Georgetown and Norwich, among other schools — and the superhero might be one and the same when I discovered that Batman is 6 feet, 2 inches tall. (Where did I discover this? The source of all indisputably accurate, categorically true information: The Internet.) That’s pretty tall — like, I thought, our senior senator. It’s actually, I have since learned, not quite as tall as Sen. Leahy, but Batman has been around since 1939, and we all shrink a little with age.
And then, of course, there is the small matter of those two letters: DC. Is it just a coincidence that Sen. Leahy works in a town with that moniker and the Dark Knight is published by a comic empire that uses them, too?
Finally, there is the Kellogg-Hubbard Library connection. Whatever money Sen. Leahy makes from his work on Batman movies (and comics), he donates to the K-H library in Montpelier, where he had his very first library card. What does this prove?
Well, take these simple words: “Pat’s library card? Name it K-H.”
If you rearrange the letters, it reveals a long hidden truth about the secret identity of the Dark Knight — and you will see it’s not really Bruce Wayne: “Dr. Patrick Leahy is ‘r Batman.”
Holy heifer, Senator. I rest my case.
(This column originally appeared in the Burlington Free Press on September 2.)

Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is the author of nineteen books, including his forthcoming novel, The Sleepwalker. His other novels include the New York Times bestsellers Midwives, The Sandcastle Girls, The Guest Room, and The Double Bind.

One thought on “Holy Heifer, Batman!

  1. Batman As Nice Guy says:

    Holy Confusion! That loveably goofy Batman character I used to watch on TV as a kid, and the brooding “dark night” Batman I saw in the most recent movie are Quite at variance with each other. I think I like goofy Batman the best, even if dark, brooding Batman is more factual to the original character. Of course, I Love Robin from the TV series, for all his boy-wonderish, over-the-top, creative exclamations. (Holy Woeful Ignorance! I am abysmal at following politics – even the well-publicized Gonzales debacle – so I can’t say anything relevant about *that*).

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