Now that there’s a movie about the origins of Batman, we should recognize our own homegrown superhero, Bouncerman.

Like Batman, Bouncerman’s crime-fighting career was inspired by a childhood calamity: Buddy, as he was called, grew up above the beloved Forest Park tavern owned by his parents, Harry and Penny. The joint was called Package Goods Available until they shortened it to Bottles And Cans.

Buddy’s parents were sweet natured; they hated to see anyone go thirsty. They were also very nearsighted and had trouble distinguishing a patron’s age or spotting a fake ID. A tall Middle Schooler who flashed his report card once fooled them.

One rainy night a grizzled 18-year-old walked into the place. His face had more cracks and potholes than Circle Avenue. Just as Harry was setting the beer in front of him, the police burst in. It was Harry’s third strike and the liquor commissioner shut the place down”for good.

That night Buddy made a promise to his heartbroken mother”a promise he would always live by. The next day he started working out. He also memorized the signs of the Zodiac.

“People with phony ID’s never know their sign,” he once told the Review.

Then he put together his superhero costume: jeans, a tight black t-shirt and wraparound shades. The sunglasses didn’t just conceal his secret identity; they had a built-in scanner for spotting fake driver’s licenses. Bouncerman thought about adding a gold chain but didn’t want to give his opponents anything they could grab.

Bouncerman was soon joined by his faithful sidekick, Busboy. Though short in stature, Busboy had the amazing superpower to clear tables before the bottles could be used as weapons.

Together they faced a trio of arch-villains: Overserved, Underaged and the always-dangerous Ex-Boyfriend.

Bouncerman was tough but only used violence as a last resort. If a dispute broke out during a pool game, Bouncerman would simply lift up one end of the table with his pinkie. After the balls all rolled to one end, he’d inform the players their game was over.

Responding to his secret barroom-brawl detector, Bouncerman would mysteriously appear wherever trouble broke out in Forest Park.

Bar owners would frequently say: “who was that big guy in the black shirt? I wanted to thank him.”

Besides guarding Forest Park, Bouncerman has also been sent on international missions. He has been credited for the recent truce between Israel and the Palestinians”which came after he threatened to throw everybody out of the Middle East.

Homeland Security has him scanning hundreds of ID’s per second at the Mexican border and the State Department may send him to Iran to check the new president’s ID to see if he’s a former hostage taker.

Through it all, Bouncerman has lived up to the speech he gave his mother on that rainy night: “Ma, wherever there’s a drunk beating a guy; or a high school kid trying to slip by”look for me, Ma, I’ll be in disguise.”

Sometimes on a rainy Forest Park night, his mother can hear his famous cry as Bouncerman responds to another brawl, “Hey you two, TAKE IT OUTSIDE!”

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball...