Comfortable and Furious

Reflections on Halloween and other essential holidays

It isn’t important to celebrate Halloween, that’s what’s so good about it.

Have you ever tried to blow off Thanksgiving? It’s like spitting on your mother.

How about Christmas? Mid-November they start ramming Santa Claus up your ass and it keeps up for a month and a half. It’s Christmas, bitch—happiness is mandatory. So, stretch a smile across your exhausted face and buy, buy, buy. I’m already worried about what to get who, and with what money.

On New Year’s Eve it’s hard not to re-evaluate your life, and many of us don’t want to do that. So, we drink, screech at the passing of time, and pass out. Funsies.

At some point, fall began to signal the coming of a string of holidays I wouldn’t mind skipping, along with the dramatic shut down of the growing world.

What does a gardener like me do all winter? I look at seed catalogues, order bulbs and tubers I have no room for, and fantasize about the sun coaxing the world back to life until depression knocks me beyond hope and I bury myself under a frost line of quilts. I spent last February in a fetal position, huffing a mason jar terrarium, because if I didn’t smell soil I’d die. And it all begins with a yellow maple leaf. But there’s a caveat and it’s a big one: Halloween.

You can do Halloween or not, nobody cares. Ignore it or make it everything, either way it’s yours, you own it, you don’t owe anybody a damn thing. Some people actually hate Halloween. Well, good for you. Your religion is all about HATE, so I’m not surprised.

If you’ve stuck with me this far, It may surprise you to know I’m a depressive fuck, bringing the party down and keeping there as long as possible. Mankind is tedious and I’m not one to shut up about it. But the truth is kids can be interesting. I tend to like them even though I’m skeptical about where they’re heading. Never mind. People seem to shine when they’re moving through the single digits. Ten is shaky, by twelve it’s over.

It’s easy to make Halloween memorable for kids. Slather on some makeup, put on a soundtrack of howling wolves, dim the lights and hand out Reese’s cups (the big ones, don’t be a hole) and you’re bound to win most of them over. Or at least they’ll remember you.

In return, you’ll meet humanity in miniature, minus the really dark shit. The shy one in tears, the greedy grabber, the archetypical ballerina, Superman, a bum, the Eternal Footman, Casper: kids making noise, fingers clawing, hands shoving, teeth chomping, smiles and screams.

And, if you’re lucky, out of a herd of action figures, sports figures, and ghosts, there’ll be an original, like the one I saw last year; a robot marching across the lawn, reflecting light, whirling and blinking –

“So, this is wonderful. How did you do it?”

From deep inside a rectangular opening, I could see her eyes widen, she’s so glad I’m interested! She said,

“Well, I got a few boxes and put them together with tape. I cut holes and glued aluminum foil all over everything. I cut these tubes for eyes and ears and sprayed at lot of stuff silver. I covered my arms with this tinsley Christmas garland. Then I got a bunch of LED lights at the dollar store, and that’s about it.”

“Well, it’s beautiful. Very impressive.” And I take a picture, shoving candy at her like a fool, because really, isn’t this what Halloween is all about, creativity, originality and the chance to reach inside of yourself and be Other? As she marches off looking like a receding Christmas ornament, I relax. Maybe there’s hope for us after all. If a nine-year-old kid can put together something like this, what can’t we do?

Nothing is pure, even misanthropy has loopholes. As I watch my self-involved, grasping, dirty-fingered species destroy the planet, I stand in awe in front of a Van Gogh, the swirling paint collecting itself into willful stems, exploding blooms, the joy and pain of living so adeptly translated in the astonished faces of flowers that the painting serves as a reminder of why we endure.

Life’s a bitch, but read a simple poem, drink a beer and just deflect or endure the holidays. Halloween is the best, as it makes no demand of you.



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One response to “Reflections on Halloween and other essential holidays”

  1. Goat Avatar

    Thanks for a great Halloween rant!

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