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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Boo, Whom!

I do not understand why, once a year, I am expected to feed every kid in the neighborhood. And just try offering these vagabonds real food, some sliced ham or some ‘buffalo wings’ or, God forbid, a little rice pilaf, and see just how quickly your house gets egged. What this ‘Kinder Mafia” demand is pure extravagance; candy – mere empty calories. Their obsession with processed sugar is neither healthy nor logical. Oh, sure, they dress it up in fairy costumes and monster masks but as they go door to door they don’t chant, “Treat or trick”, oh no, because it isn’t about the treat. It’s about the trick, and it’s about the shakedown. This isn’t a holiday. It is income redistribution, socialism out of the barrel of a gummy bear.
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The roots of Halloween were planted long before Christians had enough saints to celebrate the night before All Hallowed Saint’s Day. The Aztecs were celebrating Dia de los Muertos even before they were speaking Spanish., maybe 3,000 years ago, and the Druids in Ireland were celebrating “Samhain” by carving turnip Jack-o-lanterns 2,500 years before they saw their first pumpkin. ‘And how’, you may ask, ‘did offerings to Mictecacihuatl, the Aztec Goddess who was still born, become individually packaged bags of M&Ms’ left out for a skeleton named Catrina? And I will answer you, ‘Only in a world where the child of Salvador Dali and Ma Barker designs the holidays, that’s where.’
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This is the night when the line between the dead and the not-yet-dead (also known as The Living) is supposed to become fuzzy, and everyone is concerned about ghosts, spooks and ghouls. But its common knowledge that ghosts can’t manipulate physical objects, so they can only harm you psychologically, meaning Scientologists are safe since they don’t believe in psychology. And nobody should be afraid of “spooks” because once you speak a spook’s name they are “spooken for” and rendered harmless; which is what happened to the spook Valerie Plame. Now Robert Novak, he’s a ghoul and every time you think they’re dead they come back to life again on Fox News. That whole network is staffed by zombies, and is a perfect example of how we are terrified of all the wrong things in this life and the afterlife.
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But on October 31st, I too will be answering my door bearing a bowl filled with tribute, because I don’t want to spend half of November pulling toilet paper out of my rain gutters. Besides, this is also Reformation Day, when, in 1546, Martin Luther supposedly allegedly nailed his “95 Things I Hate About The Pope” to the front door of the Wittenberg Castle Church and was later arrested for deformation of church property. So, logically, children could be going door to door, calling, “Treat or I’ll nail your ass, you papist bastard, and have you got any Jews hiding in here?” So I guess we’re lucky we got the screwed up holiday we did get. It could have been far worse.
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The truth (as if that ever mattered about holidays) is that Martin Luther defiantly nailing his arguments to the church door was probably as real as the legend of George Washington chopping down a cheery tree; not. And that may be yet another reason why you never see Martin Luther costumes. I did see a George Washington once, but that was so long ago the costume was probably made in the United States.
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This year Americans will spend over $6 billion on this mish-mash of a holiday. Almost all of our black and orange fix, like cocaine, is provided by overseas suppliers who have no other connection to us, and although that kind of chump change would barely support the occupation of Iraq for a month it does work out to about $65 per family this year. About 4 million Americans will even be buying costumes for their dog, like PetSmart’s spider web dog collar for $12, or PetCo’s doggie Pumpkin dress up for $16. This canine costume capitalism is surprising considering that dogs and skeletons would seem to be a natural costume combo, popular with dogs as well as the humans, and with the advantage that once the holiday was over you wouldn’t have to store the costume, you just let Rover bury it!
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But we seem determined to spend as much as possible, to prove the depth of our emotional commitment to this “dead holiday thing”, putting 2 million pirates (mostly boys) on the streets Wednesday night, along with 4 million princesses (mostly girls) to look cute and threaten and harass adults, cowering in our homes with only a bowl of bite sized Three Musketeers for protection. It’s the sound that fills the night with horror and chills the bones; “Trick or treat, trick or treat, give us something good to eat, or else.”

- 30 –

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