Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sleeping with the Enemy

ID: It’s been a while since we talked about Harvey. I know it’s still a young relationship; this isn’t Clark and Lois, so I think putting it under a microscope could hurt it, and that’s not what I want. But I’ve been thinking of calling this segment, “Sleeping with the Enemy.”

B: He has a hard enough time without people focusing in on his past.

ID: Or maybe Bi-Curious.

B: You’re just going to keep being an ass until I start dishing, aren’t you?

ID: I’ll probably be an ass even after.

B: Well, I appreciate your candor.

ID: But you don’t cotton to him being called “the Enemy.”

B: Because he isn’t. Every crime he’s been convicted of, he’s paid his debt for.

ID: To be fair, most of those debts included the insanity defense, which basically meant that the moment he wasn’t crazy he could walk away free and clear.

B: With the caveat that if he stayed crazy, he stayed locked up. But as far as the courts are concerned, Harvey’s a free man.

And that’s why I balk at your characterization. Because what Harvey needs now, more than anything, is normalization. Getting his life back into a place where he can feel safe, and secure, sane, and just normal.

ID: Um, I hate to play to type and be an ass, but is living with a Bat man normal?

B: Relationships complicate things. That’s why we’re taking ours slow. And we aren’t living together.

ID: Okay, so screwing… around with a Bat man, then.

B: I’ll try not to take umbrage at that. I think overall I’m pretty normal, actually. Harvey and I have, colorful, pasts, but I think that brings us closer. We’ve both seen things that are different, and would be different, for other, perhaps more ‘normal’ people to understand.

And so far he’s been good for me. I’m not going into the office every day, not going to the League meetings. My normal routine has been pretty much disrupted, too. So I think it helps, having someone to experience the odd cabin fever of costumed retirement with.

ID: But you’re not Walter Mathau, and he’s no Jack Lemon; this isn’t Grumpy Old Men… We’re talking about a supervillain and a superhero knocking their garish boots together.

B: Few points. Neither of us were all that super, unless you count trauma as a superpower. And, um, whatever you might think of any of the, and I’ll stress this, functional footwear I wore over the years, Harvey had pretty impeccable taste, very nice Italian loafers, most of the time. Certainly not garish.

But Harvey hasn’t been that person for a long time. It’s been a while, so I think people have forgotten, but I left Gotham for several months with Robin and Nightwing. I left Harvey in charge of protecting the city, and he did an exceptional job of keeping it in one piece. I think he was subtler than me in doing it- he never set up a Harvey signal- and maybe that’s why he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. But he had my every confidence, then, and he’s shown himself worthy of it since.

I think Harvey’s braver than I am. I’ve tried to dissociate him from his past; you might have even recognized it, but when I’ve talked about the bad he did, I’ve emphasized Two Face, and the Two Face persona. But he corrects me. He can’t blame it all on psychosis. Because he wasn’t paralyzed. He wasn’t helpless. Weak, maybe, but he was always there, always aware and able to influence their behavior. So the things that Two Face did, he feels the guilt of that. He told me, “Bruce, I need to be honest with myself about the depth of what I owe, how out of kilter the karmic balance is because of me.”

I think, as part of trying to get away from looking at life in black and white, he’s been trying to take a more holistic approach to things, and his doctors have encouraged that. Karma, being an example; he’s become quite interested in the yin yang, the concept of complementary opposites.

He’s still compelled by duality, and pairs. You know, I can tell when he’s having a bad morning, because instead of fixing himself a bowl of cereal, he’ll pour two.

ID: And what cereal keeps a former sociopath going through the morning.

B: Frosted Mini-Wheats.

ID: I should have known.

B: But the other morning, over cereal, we were talking. For a while he was hanging around with two ‘henchwomen,’ and I’m putting that in air quotes because I don’t think either actually did any henching, and they may have in fact been prostitutes. I don’t know how it came up, but we were talking about being with two women at the same time. And he said he didn’t do that, because that would make it a threesome. Then he gave me this sly smile, and said, “Of course, it’s only a threesome if they’re allowed to touch each other,” and punctuated it by taking a bite of his cereal.

ID: So you’re in the domestic bliss phase of the relationship, then.

B: I guess so.

I think it helps, that we’ve both had real, long-standing relationships with women. It puts us on even footing, and I think makes it easier for us to relate to each other.

The other day. He said he was glad he was my 2nd choice. I couldn’t get him to elaborate, but he’s been happy. And so am I. I think that’s all I really need right now.

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