Halloween isn't just a holiday, it's a bloody knife stuck in the back of autumn. Once it passes, things die off fast.
It's only a week later, but I feel winter lurking behind every miserable tree. The kids in my neighborhood were pretty good about dressing up this year, and all were very polite, probably because I stopped answering the door at 8pm, when the older kids began rising from the dead. But now it's all over and forgotten, except for my pot belly sponsored by Hershey's, and my annual costume rant.
That's me, in the photo. Is it really all that hard to figure out who I am? Three out of four kids asked, "Who are you supposed to be?" One mom explained, "He's from the Simpsons." Lady, have you not learned anything from your four hours a night in front of the television?
My record for scaring kids into a dead run is five, set three years ago. This year I scored three. That record year, I was costumed as a seven-foot-tall, bloody, flesh-eating zombie. This year I was dressed Beaker from The Muppet Show.
Okay, so maybe I'm not brilliant at costumes. I looked it up: Beaker has not been seen on TV by any kid under fifteen. I don't want to know what kids today would recognize, because they day I design my costume to impress five-year-olds is they day I'll hand you my brain on a plate.
I've forgiven you all for not getting my Jackson Pollock costume two years ago, because I realize he's not on TV, what with being dead since 1956. My Rorschach Inkblot costume was a dud too, except for the fight it started between one guy who thought I was a spider and another who thought I was his mother.
A few Halloweens ago, when I opened the door in full bloody zombie regalia, Little Jack froze. "Go on," his mom coaxed, "It's only Michael. Don't be scared."
"I'm not scared," he replied as he backed away into the shadows. "I just think I have enough candy."
This year Jack knocked bravely at my door, and when I opened it as Beaker he paused in disbelief, having psyched himself up to face me, then said derisively, "Why did you have to be . . . this?"
Okay, kid, have it your way. Picture me as Hannah Montana. Is that scary enough?