I’m going to a Halloween party. My wife, Deborah, says we will dress as silent movie stars. I am supposed to shave my beard and wax my mustache into points. She will put a thick layer of white makeup on my face, like the old movie stars used to do. I will wear a black suit.
The hope is that I will look like the kind of silent movie villain who enjoyed foreclosing on family farms and orphanages. In reality, I will look like an aging newspaperman who is being booted into having fun.
Deborah will dress more as the flapper/vamp kind of silent movie star. That is exactly what she’ll look like, too. If you dress her in cowboy clothes, she looks like a pretty cowgirl. If you dress her up like a vampire, she looks like a pretty vampire. If you put her in a dinosaur suit, she looks like a pretty dinosaur.
I’m not pretty, and the “me” shines through every kind of costume I wear. If you get me sufficiently dirty, I can pass for homeless, but that’s about my best shot at assuming a different look.
I’m not yet happy to go to the party, but I am getting through it by focusing on the fact that I’ll be drinking someone else’s beer.
The people throwing the party are friends of ours, and I intend to ask about the food situation today. I don’t mind it if there’s nothing available except for a bowl of nuts, but I’ll be happier if I think there’s going to be chili or a plate of meat and cheese. Also, if I know there won’t be much food, I’ll eat a ham sandwich before I go. Nothing is worse than trying to soak up free beer on an empty stomach. It gives me heartburn.
I considered going as Donald Trump, but there are things I won’t do for free beer. In this freewheeling year, I could have gone as Hillary Clinton, but my hips are too big for a pantsuit. And, if I went as Clinton, I’d know that people were only talking to me to avoid talking to the guy dressed as Trump.
I decided to avoid the political costumes for the same reason I’m avoiding the “creepy clown” costume. You have an obligation not to cut too close to the bone at a Halloween party.
Oh, sure, if I dressed as Trump, people would come up to me and make jokes, and the young girl dressed as a cat would say, “Oooh, Mr. Trump, don’t grab ME.” But the jokes wouldn’t be very funny, and the girl would be too young, and I’m married, and I’d have brought into the house something I should have left in the street.
We should have left Trump in the street. A thing like that doesn’t belong in any good man’s or woman’s house.
But we have lost any idea of the fitness of things in this century, at least in America. We cover the sin of intolerance with the mask of Jesus. We dress racism up like a cop. We dress fear up as a soldier with a gun. We are shrill and wild and hateful. We’re strung out on every damn thing from talk radio to Oxycontin. We babble and froth and bite about “wanting our country back” without realizing that we ARE America. We can’t stay married, and we think sending a check every month makes us a good parent, and we think buying a gun is the same thing as being tough.
It’s a good year for a Halloween party, and it’s good to go as something goofy and harmless, like a silent movie star or a burrito or Dora the Explorer. There is no need for artificial fear this year.
We have the real thing.