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Part-Time Superhero


The world needs saving. Climate change, natural disasters, wars. A frightened populace cowers in fear. But look—up in the sky! … No, don’t. Look down there, on the sidewalk.

You mean that guy, there, the dude shoveling the driveway?

That’s not just any dude shoveling. That’s Boulder County’s own Superhero. His pants are sagging a little bit. I can see his boxers. Nevermind about that. This is James “Tiberius,” who spends much of his leisure time as a small-time philanthropist. He hands out sandwiches to bums. He helps homeowners move couches. When he sees a little girl on one of those mechanical horses that is not moving, he slides in two quarters.

Swell. Does he have any superpowers?

Is shoveling a superpower?


Then no. But he does have a tremendous work ethic, and an endearingly quirky way of going about things.

His ad titled “Spare time superhero!” appears on Boulder’s craigslist nearly every day. He offers to build things, give car rides and, at a Thor-ish 6-foot-9, he’ll get things off high shelves. The ad reads: “I rarely ever wear spandex. I’m experienced with wrestling bears, criminals, and generalized vagrants to submission and will not hesitate to lay my free time down for you at a moments notice to engage in mortal combat with your everyday super villains.”

He sounds like a nutter.

If caring about justice and kindness makes you a nutter, then James is nuttier than Jimmy Carter’s farm.”

How much of a nutter is he?

A guy who calls himself the Wall Creeper, who used to prowl Denver’s Civic Center Park in a superhero outfit, says of James, “I think this guy is a little off the map … Please be careful meeting him if you haven’t already, you never know with those craigslist ads.” (I know, I know, safety advice given from a former costumed street prowler).

Do people ever write to James?

Less than you’d think. Dude is offering free services of any kind, and only twice have folks asked for his help. And both basically involved moving couches. So he’s just going out on his own volition. “Problems present themselves,” he says. “I see an old lady crossing the street, I swoop in and change that old lady’s life for the better.”

What superhero does Tiberius resemble?

Hancock. James is friendly, energetic and talkative, but he has trouble keeping his phone charged, has trouble returning phone calls and showing up on time. A very Gen Y superhero.

Uh-huh. And where do you come in?

As a mild-mannered reporter inclined to be supine, I am always looking to get in shape without the gym, the gym being the real-life torture chamber at the Hall of Doom. So I tag along on one of James’ superhero adventures and try and get in super shape.

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