This week I bid adieu to my favorite month. It’s a very sad time for me and I don’t know how I’m going to handle it…thanks, thanks you guys. You can send the checks directly to me.
It is a small comfort to me, the knowledge that the month after this one is also pretty awesome, and the month after that is gaaaaaaah I love the holidays so much I take it back this isn’t my favorite month they’re all my favorites sooooo much good stuff to look forward to!
Unless you have Ebola (there it is). Which I’m to understand is now in NYC, so for sure John has it.
If he doesn’t, why does it smell so bad in here? Anyway, I promised you Halloweeny stuff all month and the problem is, my mind has skipped forward to Christmas. Must. Focus.
I spent a lot of time at the library when I was a kid. It was right across the street from our little school, and it was the perfect place to kill an hour before whatever sports or vaudevillian type-show practice was happening back at the gym (there were always vaudevillian type shows being put on, and the adults of the parish always got all the good parts. I’m not bitter about it, though, it’s fine that now that I am an adult, they don’t do it anymore. I said it’s fine).
It was the most awesome library–right out of a movie. Looked like a mini-Hogwarts, had a children’s floor and a grown-up floor, both with fireplaces and deep leather furniture. It’s still there, and it’s still adorable–the problem is, it no longer has any books in it.
Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration–if you’re a fan of David Baldacci or Elizabeth Berg (no judgement! I admire and envy them both and someday hope to be the only offering at the local library) you’re in luck, but if you want anything other than those, you have to go elsewhere.
My ritual was, go over to the drugstore and charge a candy bar to my parent’s account, then go to the library and sneak After Darks (see: last week) into the bathroom while I ate it.**the candy-bar portion of this ritual was short-lived; it ended the day my dad got the bill. But at least I wasn’t shoplifting them, as my friend Tara and I had one packet of peanut m&m’s from the grocery store in first grade. We felt so terrible about it we buried them in the snow instead of eating them, and we had to wait an entire year to confess that sin at our first reconciliation. That’s some heavy baggage for two little girls to carry for that long, folks. We were seven, and by the time we knelt before that priest we could’ve easily passed for nine.
In October, I always rounded up the absolute limit of Halloween books I was allowed to check out and hogged them for as long as possible. My favorite was called, simply, Halloween., with a period like that, and if I’m remembering correctly, the cover was plain except for that word, with a spooky owl behind it. I don’t know who wrote it, and over the years, I have looked high and low for that book with no luck.
No, not because I want it–I have it. Still. I just don’t know where it is, and I never returned it. What do you suppose the fine is on a library book that is 36 years overdue?
That’s not even my record, kids. I checked this book:
out in kindergarten, and it is sitting on the ottoman in front of me, right now. For the first, I don’t know, five years or so that I had it, the sight of it would fill me with guilt and dread. It’s like when you don’t know a person’s name that you know you should know, and then so much time passes that you can’t possibly ask anymore, you know? This book is 40 years overdue.
You: Hang on…you waited a year to confess stealing some m&m’s you didn’t even eat, but you not only never copped to the stolen book, you still have it??
What can I say? People are complicated.
But the best Halloween book of all time is this one:
and it wasn’t stolen from any library, we owned it, and I loved it. I think this book is what got me interested in pen-and-ink art. A few years ago, my sister found a copy of it on a vintage book site and sent it to me. I never give her anything. Well, I gave her quite a few robust scrubbings with a hairbrush while she was trying to sleep over the years, but I doubt she’d thank me for that.
Here’s another old favorite:
Watched this on Netflix last weekend. Fantastic. If you were a fan of Calvin and Hobbes, and you were because how could you not have been, you must watch it. If you are a fan of cartoon art, which I am (and the movie addresses the misconception of cartooning and comic art as “low art”, an attitude that has chapped my hide since my black-turtleneck wearin’ art school days) you are in for an extra treat–this movie made me want to go visit this place.
2. Boyish Girl Interrupted
That is the name of Tig Notaro’s touring comedy show, which I had the great pleasure of seeing last Wednesday night. I came out an even bigger fan than I was going in, and I was a pretty big fan. I love her. Watching her live was honestly like hanging out with your super funny friend in your living room, and she doesn’t work blue–not that I mind that, I don’t–but I do kind of think it takes an extra dollop of talent and chutzpa not to, these days. Watch her videos and buy her cd’s, because she deserves your devotion.
The best part is, my gal pals and I got our picture taken with her after the show–and in it, Ms. Notaro has a look on her face that clearly says, “I can’t believe the crap I have to endure to make a buck”, which I love, understand and admire.
That sliver of face next to her is me. I cut myself out because not only does my hair look predictably terrible, I am wearing a sweater that looks like my grandmother’s tablecloth. Why did I not notice its horribleness until I was out in public in it? But at least I have an idiotic, super-fan smile plastered across my wine-soaked face.
You: I knew your grandmother to be a woman of taste and refinement. She would never have had a tablecloth that heinous.
Never mind. Look at Tig! She looks so thrilled. I hope she keeps in touch. Why, why won’t you be my friend, Tig Notaro??
3. Donuts On A String
Deserves to be elevated to the number one Halloween party game, ahead of bobbing for apples. Bobbing for apples is the worst. Not really, I mean I love it because it’s good old-fashioned Halloween fun, but let’s be honest, it’s pretty gross. Once a couple of kids have had their turns, the water is nothing but washed-off clown makeup and snot.
If you’re going to do it with any type of conviction, you have to submerge your entire head in the other participants’ effluvium and trap an apple against the bottom. Oh, sure, some priss always tries to gently nab a stem in their teeth, but that never works. Never. If you have a story of it working, you might as well save it because it is a lie.
My daughter just read what I wrote and said, “You always go off on such tangents. Your tangents have tangents. How do you ever get anything done?”
She has known me 19 years. She knows I don’t ever get anything done. She doesn’t even have a name yet.
Donuts on a string–in case you aren’t hip to it, you play it thusly: Many donuts, preferably powdered sugar because they best lend themselves to comedic shenanigans, are hung on strings, or in our case, one big string which was then secured across the kitchen. The participants get onto their knees, under a donut, with their hands behind their backs–you cannot use your hands. A judge yells “GO” and the first person to completely eat and swallow their donut wins.
It’s a good idea to know the Heimlich maneuver if you are going to play this game. You’re going to need it. It is hilarious.
4. I Hope You People Are Happy
I know you all love sports, and I love sports insofar as sports keep the Imperial Poobah employed and keep you coming back to Medium Happy day after day, but I have not been able to watch New Girl or The Mindy Project for two weeks because of the World Series. I am not whining, I’m simply pointing out the unfairness of the universe and the fact that everyone is against me.
And finally, my very last number five of October (drumroll)….
5. This Ad I Found On Craigslist
Looking for a Midget or two
Looking for a “little person” midget or dwarf to pose with our family for a family photo. All you need to do is show up in nice clothes, and pose with our family in various shots. We will be more than happy to offer fair transportation cost and pay for your time. This will be fun!
Dear Sir or Madam,
It is so heartwarming to know that out there is a family committed to teaching their children about (and delighting their friends with) “midget humor”. I would be honored to be a part of your family photo, and I will sleep well at night knowing that I was part of such a noble cause. Name the time and the date, and I will show up in nice clothes and a fairly priced invoice.
Oh—I’m 5’5”. Will that be OK? I have problematic hair, so that could be funny.