Veterans of the Newsletter know of my historic (one-sided) feud with Ryan Seacrest. While no one will ever top him as my least favorite celebrity of all time, there is another parasocial relationship I feel I must disclose. Ryan Seacrest is taken at face value as the shrimp of a man that he is, but another rises out of the darkness to vanquish and protect our city like a man with too much money and an affinity towards bats.
If ever a city were to develop a Batman, would it not be Austin? Between the tech startup millionaires, the actual jokers you see roaming around the city keeping it weird, and the Moody skyline view from the Long Center on a stormy night, it’s a marvel, nay, a DC that Austin doesn’t have a brooding vigilante guarding the city from whatever. Unless of course, there is already one amongst our ranks rising to the call.
The first time I ran into Matthew McConaughey he actually ran into me. I was an Innocent, walking towards the Trail of Lights with an M & M bag in hand, minding my own business. Little did I know I was four hours early on the wrong day to my volunteer shift, but it didn’t matter. As I crossed the driveway entrance to JuiceLand, a sliver Lincoln backed into me and slammed on the brakes. Although I have a flair for dramatics, I want to make it clear that it was nothing more than a bump, I left with no injuries and what little pride I have stayed intact.
But who would dare hit a pedestrian? Especially one as innocent as me? I looked up as the driver rolled down the window and nodded apologetically in my direction. It’s also important to understand that I occasionally struggle with faces, and celebrities aren’t real people so why would I ever expect to know what Matthew McConaughey looks like? But there he was, in his golden whiskey owning glory. I stepped out of the way and let him pass, surely never to see him again, right?
Wrong. It became a sick one-sided game of cat and mouse. I worked at the Long Center the year he accepted the Texas Medal of the Arts award. I was unaware the event would be taking place that day, and I was trapped inside the lobby because the security and paparazzi were so thick I could not exit the building. I had to watch him from the other side of the glass doors pose with his posse. I didn’t get home until late that evening, hungry, tired, and knowing that he didn’t spot me, his victim.
And then it picked up. I saw him on a golf cart zooming past me late at night. Matthew McConaughey would sometimes pick up SafeWalk shifts on the UT Campus to encourage students to not walk alone, and I would see his golden mop oh hair breezing past me down the sidewalks. I saw him in close proximity at football games, running up and down the field, but he never saw me. Most recently, I saw his car in traffic, and although the windows were tinted, I knew he was in there, I could feel it.
It’s not a malicious thing, I like the guy (especially now that he decided to not run for governor). Destiny keeps bringing us together in unexpected ways. He doesn’t notice me, but I notice him every single time. So there is only one logical conclusion: we’re doomed to keep meeting until I inevitably hit him with my car. It’s fate, I must return the favor. I am the unwilling Riddler laughing high in the trees as this brooding southern vigilante below me.
But why would this mere actor follow in the steps of Bruce- I mean Batman? Matthew McConaughey is a charitable guy. He spends a lot of his time donating money to assorted noble causes, underprivileged youths, and natural disaster relief. He’s the minister of culture and the most recognizable celebrity who is always in the news. Although he doesn’t have a tragic backstory, his parents are divorced. That’s almost something.
He has three children – which is significantly less than good ‘ol Batty – but they all live together in the same mansion, and besides having a unique and identifiable style, Matthew McConaughey has an iconic catchphrase and honestly, that’s all it takes to be a superhero.
As far as infrastructure goes, Austin has an extensive cave system running under the city, it’s not crazy to assume they act as a headquarters for our very own McConaughey. It’s a matter of hiding in plain sight, and who is better at that than a well known celebrity toting around a pair of bongos?
Maybe one day Austin will realize who is actually keeping our city safe, and maybe that’s why the police budget is so generous. But until this Riddler catches up to her Batman at the end of whatever cosmic waltz we’re doomed to dance, at least he can’t be worse than Ryan Seacrest.