Scary World

31 October 2001

Guess who wins the Good Timprov Award for the week? Hmm. Maybe I should make these questions harder. It's Timprov! But do you want to know why? Because he managed to come home from his walk to the video store with "Barenaked in America!" Yay!

This is a documentary about the Barenaked Ladies. Not porn. In case you were wondering.

The Rolling Stones are gearing up for their fortieth anniversary tour. You have to respect that, in a way -- most people these days don't work the same normal day job for forty years straight. And I don't intend to retire, so I don't know why I'd expect Jagger and Richards to do so.

Oh wait, yes I do: because they look three days dead. I recall Denis Leary's line about Keith Richards' anti-drug commercials: "We can't do drugs, Keith! You already did them all!" I respect the Stones for still going out there and playing, but, well, when I'm still writing 40 years later, nobody is going to be worried that I'm going to keel over at the keyboard.

At least, no more worried than they are now.

Other tidbits from the newspaper: "Anthrax kills 21 cows, bulls." And the sub-headline was, "Outbreak unrelated to tainted letters." I would like to point out that very few people send cows letters. Or vice versa.

But the TV is also informative. They printed this statement: "One out of two pregnancies was unplanned in California last year." That had to be stressful, having all of the people from other states and countries flying in and getting unexpectedly pregnant. It also makes me wonder what percentage was planned in California but then accomplished elsewhere. Just move a clause. Add a comma. Then everything will be clear as day.

Commas are evidently scary.

I am quite, quite disgusted with people who don't want their kids to trick-or-treat this year because "the world is so unsafe these days." Do they think that terrorists will be stationed in every neighborhood...doing what? What could possibly happen related to terrorism? Halloween is just about as distributed a holiday as you can get. Everybody is wandering around. There's nowhere to bomb. And it would still be pretty inefficient to put anthrax in kids' Halloween candy. Honestly. And the people who just think the world has always been too unsafe (or at least since the Good Old Days ended) -- if your neighborhood is too unsafe for your kid to walk from house to house with an adult, while other adults are frequently looking out at the street to hand out candy -- well, I sincerely hope you're looking for another place to live. Because if it's too unsafe for your kid to trick-or-treat where you are, I believe it's too unsafe for your kid to live there, too.

I hope we get trick-or-treaters. Last year we got four of them. Three were in the same family. Depressing. But that may be the hazard of living in an apartment complex like this. On the other hand, we have lots of kids in this complex, so if they trick-or-treat here, all for the best.

You can tell we're old married people here because the best choice to put the Halloween candy in is this crystal bowl, with a smaller, matching crystal bowl for the candy corn. (Let it be known that the candy corn is none of my doing.) We could have used a big plastic bowl, but we might want to use that for something functional. But people gave us crystal, so we might as well use it.

Timprov came up with a scary costume for me to wear while I hand out treats tonight. I will be a M'rissa Who Has Had No Ice Cream. Yes, I see you shuddering at the very notion. It is indeed frightening. But I will have some after the trick-or-treaters leave; worry not.

Ten years ago in the Midwest, we had the big Halloween snowstorm. My friend Kristy was going to spend the night and ended up spending the weekend because her folks didn't want her on the road in all the snow and ice. (My parents are from Minnesota. She would have been fine. But we didn't mind having her; it was fun.) There were icy Halloweens in my childhood before that one, but that's the big one people remember. Many, many inches of snow. The icy Halloweens before that, most kids still went trick-or-treating. That one, they stayed home. You know, I have no idea what it must be like to be able to pick out your Halloween costume by what you want to be, not by what you want to be that will go over or under your warm clothing and probably your parka, or will be warm in itself. Several of my costumes were modified -- one year I was a gypsy with a turtleneck under my dress and a parka over the top. Quite authentic.

I taught first grade Sunday School when I was a senior in high school, and I asked my kids what they were going to be for Halloween. And they said, "The red one!" "The yellow one!" Etc. I was baffled. Mallory, my favorite little girl, said scornfully, "They're going to be Power Rangers. I'm going to be an elf."

See why this child was my favorite? Also, she understood sarcasm. And used it. Wonderful six-year-old. I wish I was around more often to see how she's grown up.

So, well, I'm not coughing nearly so often, so I've stopped taking the Cough Medicine of Death. I think Scott thought I was joking when I said it might cause sudden death if you bit down on it. Then I mentioned having to read that on the packaging because the pharmacist didn't mention it, and there was this silence, and then he just freaked out. I don't know why he thought I was kidding -- I don't usually make up things like "may cause sudden death." I don't have a long history of this kind of thing. Anyway, I'm not coughing as much, my ribs still hurt a lot, and that's how I'm doing.

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