DEJA BOO

I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. I love watching cute little kiddies running around in costumes. But I hate having to think up a costume for myself. I go to a Halloween store to buy a couple things and the total is two hundred dollars. And there’s usually only one piece of candy per trick-or-treater, or the candy turns out to be a penny. Years ago, one young costumed cowboy used some of his quick drawing logic by pointing his toy pistol at a penny giving homeowner demanding, “Your candy or your life,” thus prompting several squirts of water into the candy givers face from his spraying weapon. No one got the gunslinger for possession of a concealed squirt gun, although he was mighty susceptible to parental criticism. He attempted to wipe the homeowners face with his red bandana and spent the next five minutes searching the candy bowl for every single Tootsie Roll. Those were going to be my breakfast, lunch, and dinner the following day.

Designer Donatelli Versace believes that the best things in life happen as a result of following your intuition. That’s why for one Halloween party, I dressed as Dolly Farton. I had the perfect blonde wig, stuffed my shirt with inflated balloons, and packed a whoopee cushion inside my pants, which totally added new dimension to a rather boring outfit. They were attention getters alright. It was the only time I let party guests fondle my boobs. And all night people were asking, “Who cut one?” They say it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. In preparation for that party, mine kept coming in clawing at my blown up blimps and windy fanny blaster. It’s a good thing I wasn’t going as Minnie Mouse. And I couldn’t get the wig to look right. My daughter chimed in, “Trust me Mom. No one is going to notice your hair.”

Another year I went to a party as brash housewife LaVerne, the most colorful gum chewing character who I resurrected from The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. I was impeccably coifed in a tight fitting leopard skin jumpsuit. It was the gum chewing and lingo I had to perfect. Again, my cat sat staring at me while I practiced getting into character in front of the mirror. It was an opportune time to impersonate others as well. I spend forty-five fun filled minutes entertaining myself and my cat. Daffy Duck was a no brainer. But Elvis was a bit harder to achieve. I couldn’t sing I’m all Shook Up and pivot my pelvis at the same time. With all the fur my cat was leaving on my bedspread, I could have wrapped the thing around me and gone as a fur hide draped cavewoman. It turned out to be a rather ho hum party till I got there. I take that back. Carmen Miranda’s exotic fruity headdress hit the spinning ceiling fan.

Trick-or-treating with my kids was always memorable. There I was walking my small daughters through oddball suburbia wondering what else I would come across besides goblins and severed bloody heads. One year we walked up to a guy’s house who had dressed up geckos on his lawn, which pretty much convinced me that he had a reptile dysfunction. Another man came to the door with Gummy Snakes in his beard. One neighbor couldn’t be bothered with Halloween. He was putting out his Christmas decorations. Old lady Ferguson figured she could save about twenty dollars a year on Halloween candy, or keep children away period by lining her doorstep with vegetables. And a teen dressed as a pregnant Mother Hubbard started barfing up Smirnoff all over someone’s lawn. What a spooktacular event that was. I had to explain to my innocent youngsters that she might be experiencing morning sickness. They said, “But Mom, it’s nighttime.” The exhausted homeowner cleaned up her mess and called her parents. I was willing to keep all her candy, and call a cab to transport her to a detox treatment center.

We came across an individual dressed as Frankenstein, who was sitting beside his front door holding his head in his hand when we approached to ring the doorbell. It was by far, the single most traumatizing decoration ever. What looked like a dummy sitting in a chair turned totally real and began to move, scaring me to no end. At first, I thought maybe it was just a side effect from the new deodorant I was using. Jeepers creepers. Always be prepared for strange and spine-chilling human beings on Halloween. An exhumed corpse may come alive and tell you all the reasons why they love gutting little children. I suppose that stopping hearts was his way of reducing the overpopulation problem. He was passing out gumballs, which could get lodged in our windpipes and keep oxygen from getting to the brain. I wondered, what the devil are they breeding here? He must have referred his every decision to the tribunal of Transylvania. There’s a fine line between monster and normal neighbor, and I wasn’t willing to cross it. So I grabbed my girls and ran. I was frightened as frightened could be while my kids were yelling, “Wait Mom, we didn’t get our candy!”

Halloween isn’t the same without a haunted house. Most of those cursed establishments show a trickle of light here and there that provides a sufficient pathway throughout the deep dark horrific structures. One was so blindingly black that I had a death grip on my girl’s coat collars so I wouldn’t lose them. My youngest daughter complained that I was choking her, and I had this nerve-racking notion that someone was going to kill me at the same time I was killing my kid. A hand touched me and I asked, “C’mon whoever you are, lead me through this thing won’t you?” I just hate it when I smile at strangers and they don’t smile back, or I ask questions and don’t get good answers. All I heard was a baleful BOOOOOOOO. I felt as though I had entered Alfred Hitchcock’s residence and some psychos were never going to let me leave. Based on the cast of characters, I was pretty sure some celebrities were there. Like Adam Handler, Drew Scary, Charlie Scream, and Leonardo DeCapitation. Quentin Tarantulatino was there providing his satirical humor by dropping spiders onto the heads of all the tourers. I walked into that house fairly normal and came out with the need to be cast into an insane asylum. In light of those dim circumstances, the next year I sewed noisy little bells to my girl’s coats, carried a flashlight, and dressed up as Jack the Ripper. I probably should have hired a bodyguard.

OH SWEET DAIRIES OF LIFE, I’M GLAD I FOUND YOU

I am so thankful for Richard Dreyfuss. I just found out he eats at the same ice cream parlor as I do and eats the very same ice cream that I love. And since product availability varies at each location during different times of the year, he called their corporate headquarters asking that they not remove the luscious chocolaty flavor from our locale. They probably wouldn’t have complied if the begging had come from little old me.

Ice cream satisfaction goes way back to the days of the Good Humor truck. I had a hard time avoiding the daily siren call of Creamsicles, snow cones, or anything with a chocolate coating compatible with ice cream. We could hear the ringing bells a quarter of a mile away. That gave us time to hunt our mother down and have her go through her wallet to find enough money to satisfy our every need. I really wanted twenty dollar bills, since I had a hankering for about fifteen other needs on their menu. I figured the best way to bypass any conflict with my parents or siblings was to consume as much creamy goodness as I could, starting right after breakfast. But I was confronted with a strange paradox. Mom was a church going conservative who owned a beautiful home in the burb plus a colored TV, but never kept huge amounts of currency in her wallet. Life would have been so much better if she’d kept tons more cash on hand, so I could eat ice cream every hour on the hour.

One day I developed an ice cream headache, followed by digestive issues. My mother probably thought that broccoli and Brussels sprouts wouldn’t have done that to me. But ice cream cured a lot of other things like episodic migraines, sibling infarctions, and persistent schoolitis. My manifestations weren’t going to damper my chances of chasing the Good Humor man down the street. I figured ice cream a day kept the doctor away. But not in my case. Mom planned on taking me the next morning to see our family physician. Meanwhile, she assumed I was simply lactose intolerant and banned me from all dairy. She told me to eat fruit without whipped cream. It was like telling me I could have pizza, without the cheese. She might just as well have offered me a slab of tofu or a pile of pickled beets. I couldn’t watch Popeye for God’s sake, the way he scarfed spinach straight from the can. Yet neither my angry expression nor my confidently spoken demands caused her to give in. My needs were simple. I didn’t need anything else inside my system other than dairy products. Nothing increased the number of meals together unless my mother was making milkshakes or served us sundaes. I’m surprised I didn’t ask for cartons of ice cream for Christmas and my birthdays.

After Mom cut me off cold turkey that night, I went through major withdrawals. I went from being Good Humor’s biggest fan and top purchaser to watching my siblings eat creamy confections right in front of me. Mom said she would save the last of the ice cream for me once the doctor gave me the okay to eat it. But I was compelled to perform the complicated maneuver of sneaking into the kitchen, releasing the frosty ice milk from the freezer into the trembling hands of this tortured vessel. The kitchen adjoined the family room where my mother sat intently engulfed in the scandals that Peyton Place provided. Even if the house had been burning down, she was not going to get up to call the fire department. So I figured I had the chance at ice cream retrieval. I made several failed attempts, since my siblings were intermittently traipsing in and out of the kitchen and would surely snitch on me. The freezer was a pulsating aorta of dairy products and there were salivating brothers and sisters who anticipated it as well. Come to find out, one of them snatched my frozen dessert. I thought I would go insane. Every resident in our pagoda of rapscallion inhabitants had absolutely no idea where that ice cream went. Had my parents dusted for fingerprints, someone would have been sent to the gallows. And if I found out it was a several sibling thievery, I was prepared to boil the culprits in a bubbly cauldron and keep every future carton to myself. Someone also stole my favorite pair of socks. My mother found me lying awake late that night and asked me, “Must you sleep with one eye open?” I would rather she wake everyone up and announce that she was having a two hour seminar the next day on how not to steal stuff from each other.

The doctor confirmed my diagnosis. I didn’t have mad cow disease. Although everything about me was irritable except my stomach, and I missed out on a whole night of bliss. I just couldn’t believe I was doing it wrong all those years. I should have bought Good Humor treats and resold them to the highest bidding siblings, kept the cash for my own stash, and buried a metal container outside to keep my goodies in those long cold winters. Come spring, summer, and fall, it would have been a free-for-all those who didn’t cross me.

I have currently adopted the Nike slogan, slightly revised. I say, Just do it…later. What’s the rush to do anything else when eating ice cream should come first. It’s become the appetizer to my every meal. Besides, at this stage of my life, I can do anything I want.