Ever watch a superhero movie and go, “man I wish I could be a superhero”? Well you can be in some parts of the world, but I have to warn you. The pay sucks.
Meet Avelino Chavez. The 52-year-old “Superman” doesn’t have any superpowers to speak of, but he sure is busy. He can’t stop speeding bullets, but he’s always present at political rallies and speeches. He doesn’t save damsels in distress, but he makes wedding appearances, like at Peru’s famed opera tenor Juan Diego Florez’s nuptials. He can’t fly, but does work with a travel agency in the central Plaza de Armas.
“Hola Superman!” people shout on the streets. “Hola, Superamigo!” he yells back. I’m not making that up.
Chavez has had the gig as Superman for about 15 years now, and earns $160 a month for his caped-crusader-related appearances. Prior to being Superman, he was a bullfighter, a craftsman, and even a brothel security guard.
“I lost my job but realized that I could be Superman. I went to the store and bought a blue shirt and a cousin of mine who is a seamstress sewed the cape, the boots, the belt and the red tights,” said Chavez.
The gig earns him enough to keep going and support his night-job of “maintain(ing) order in the city.” He doesn’t get many opportunities to save the day while on patrol, unfortunately. He said that he recovered a stolen purse for a woman back in 2002, but didn’t mention any other crime fighting.
But wait, this is straight-up vigilantism. How are we supposed to stop Super Chavez? “My Kryptonite is my security,” said Chavez, hinting at his only weakness.
Chavez is single and childless, living in a poor apartment in Lima, the life of Super Chavez isn’t spectacular, and the super-hombre admits that he is single. “But when I get a girlfriend I would like to make love on the moon,” he says.
Super-Chavez joins the ranks of other real-life superheroes like Maryland’s Batman, who entertains sick kids, and Maine’s “evil Batman” who threatened to blow up a hospital on Facebook, later saying it was a joke.
Cut it out, Maine Batman. You’re making honest, hard-working superheroes look bad.