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Batman Joke Circa 1967

June 16, 2017


I once heard a joke in my fourth grade classroom. The story around this joke, in its entirety, is embarrassing to me, but the amusement factor is such that I’m going to post it anyway.

 

I begin with some background…

 

I have always been a fan of super-hero-related TV shows and movies. It was no surprise that I enjoyed Batman, starring the late, great Adam West. I was too young to understand the campiness of the program. I was annoyed if my father made negative comments. To me, it was high drama, and bringing bad guys to justice was serious business, and I bristled at any disrespect shown towards the caped crusader. Every week, I dutifully tuned in to the same bat-time and the same bat-channel.

 

The other thing I want to say is this: the era in which I attended grammar school was before sex education, yet ironically I got most of my information at school. And details, and by that I mean ”accurate“ details, were sorely lacking in what was disseminated amongst boys on school playgrounds of the 1960s.

 

I was painfully shy, very nearly special-needs-level naive, and at the very bottom of the informational food chain. And the tidbits of data I accumulated were gleaned mostly from dirty jokes. 

 

So, here’s what happened. One day, in fourth grade, while lining up for lunch, a new joke moved through the line of kids like proverbial wildfire. 

 

Here it is:

Batman and Robin are in the batcave.

Batman: ”Robin, Batgirl is pregnant.“

Robin: ”Holy rubbers, Batman!“

Batman: ”Right again, Robin.“

 

Key the uproarious laughter.

 

I joined in, however, I didn’t get it. At all. 

 

What the hell did “rubber” have to do with Batgirl being with child?

 

At the earliest opportunity that presented itself, I asked a friend—who I was fairly certain wouldn’t turn town crier and announce my ignorance to the entire student body of Emerald Foothills Elementary School—what ”a rubber“ was. He matter-of-factly told me that it was a product used to prevent pregnancy.

 

Of course, I knew what the substance ”rubber“ was, for crying out loud, but the only examples I’d ever seen were bicycle inner tubes, tire patches, and the like. My imagination ramped up, trying to figure out how to wrap a hunk of rubber around the business end of the urinary tract. How did that work? Perhaps rubber had some sort of magical/medicinal properties that, nah, I was stumped. 

 

Thus began a quest to understand what this product was in order to understand what must be a truly hilarious joke.

 

And then, after transferring to Saint Genesius’ Parochial School, I came into the sixth grade classroom one day with some buddies and found a crudely drawn illustration on the blackboard. Though primitive, it came complete with labels. Mystery solved. Always a visual learner, I suddenly understood the structure of the product and its function. Armed with my newfound enlightenment, I analyzed the joke. Robin was saying that had the use of this particular product been implemented, Batgirl would not be in her current situation. Thus Batman’s reply, ”Right again, Robin!“ made perfect sense. 

 

So, I thought, I now get the joke; however, disappointedly, it was not very funny. 

 

As the years went by, every once in a while, I’d dust off the old memory and replay that joke in my head. It never got any funnier.

 

Fast forward to about three weeks ago. I was regaling my sons with tales of my youth—you know, “the olden days.” And I told them the Batman joke. Nathan paused a moment, then said, ”Oh, I get it. Holy rubbers! Ha ha ha!“

 

Boom! I got the joke.

 

Fifty years later.

 

All I can figure is that as a boy, I put all the emphasis and effort into understanding what the item in the joke was. That became my sole focus—not plays on words, double entendres, or anything of that nature. And through the years, when I’d think back on the joke, I continued to hear it as a child. But when my son repeated the line out loud, I heard it for the first time as an adult.

 
Or it could be that I’m incredibly slow. And I mean slow to the point where it could be considered a super power.

 

Regardless, the whole thing is wacky.

 

To be more precise…bat-wacky.

 

 

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One Comment
  1. Pam Bothello permalink

    Love that story!

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