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Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Church Lady

Something that I don't think I've discussed here (aside from maybe a few mentions in passing) is the fact that up until about 10 years ago, I used to go to church. Not occasionally or on the traditionally church-y holidays...I'm talking about all the time. Sunday school, Sunday morning service, Sunday evening service, Wednesday evening service, Friday night youth group, daily morning (i.e. before sunrise) prayer meetings and the occasional Bible study. My knowledge of 80s and 90s contemporary Christian rock/pop music is pretty extensive. I'm not kidding about any of this at all. I did volunteer work for my church and even participated in a church-sponsored group that went around OKC doing puppet shows and skits for the children of women living in shelters for victims of domestic violence.

Sometimes people are kind of surprised when they find this out about me. To me, it's somewhat of a vital part that has made me the person that I am today and (for the most part) I look back on those times with fondness. And I mean that in the most non-condescending way possible.

Now, because of my upbringing, we weren't allowed to celebrate Halloween when I was growing up. Witches, wizards, demons, ghosts, etc -- not such a good look for the "Bapticostal" crowd.

To this day, I really don't know all that much about Halloween (aside from what I read in Wikipedia). As far as I recall, I've never even gone trick-or-treating. So I feel like my Halloween memories are somewhat different than most. I only recall two times in my entire life when I dressed in a costume for the holiday. The first time was when I was 15 or 16 when dressed up as Pickles, wearing her Wal-Mart uniform and name tag and a wig. It went over most people's heads because they actually thought that I was her and that I (she) had just gotten off work. The second time was after I'd already graduated from Smith. I wore my senior prom dress and a sash that read "Miss Black Person USA" in homage of my favorite In Living Color sketch (unfortunately, youtube doesn't have a clip, but here is something else from the show).

Anyway, as a kid, whenever Halloween rolled around, I'd get a note from my mom that excused me from class so that I didn't have to participate in the evil activities of coloring black cats and eating cupcakes decorated with candy bats. She would pick me up and take me home. Later we'd go the alternative-to-Halloween carnival organized by my church. They had all sorts of games you could play to get candy or prizes and every kid was guaranteed one of those brown paper lunch sacks full of candy. However, if you timed it right and waited for the various shift changes throughout the evening or stuck around to the very end, then you could walk away with a shitload of candy without having to canvas multiple neighborhoods. Maximum profit for a reduced amount of footwork & no need to wear a costume = not too shabby. I never felt like I was missing out on anything.

In Germany, at least in the last couple of years, celebrating seems to be growing in popularity. It first hit me when I was living in Barmbek and the little neighbor kid rang the doorbell. When I opened (without looking through the eye hole), he said "Süßes, sonst gibt's Saures!" (German for "trick or treat!"). Caught off guard and without a single scrap of candy in the apartment, I gave the kid a Red Bull and promised myself to ignore the doorbell for the rest of the evening.

Last night after work, I had intended to go out and buy some candy for potential trick-or-treaters. As you've read above, I'm not entirely accustomed to Halloween and its celebration in the "traditional" sense. Anyway, after work I did stop by the store...for a six-pack of beer. I completely forgot the candy.

Around 7pm, the doorbell rang for the first time. Schmidt asked, "Who's that?"

I said, "I dunno, maybe your girlfriend."

I went to the door and peeked out of the peep hole. Four kids in costumes.

I closed the cover very carefully and tip-toed back to the living room.

"Shhhh! It's trick-or-treaters," I said.

Schmidt and I looked at our (his) candy tray. There was an open Milka chocolate bar and a half-eaten package of Haribo gummi bears.

"Can we give them anything?" He asked.

"I've only got tampons and condoms...and right now I need the tampons, dude." I replied.

"Well, just don't answer the door."

Happy Halloween!


The Beech said...

I actually bought some candy, but then went to dinner with Heather and my sister, so I wasn't around.
So now I have low quality candy to hand out. I'll bring it to the next party ...

lebrookski said...

you should have just put all of the candy in a bowl outside of your apartment with a sign that said "free not-poisoned candy -- take one"

or you should save up the candy until next year and just give it out then. then you'll be known as the guy in the building with the really shitty candy and they'll never bother you again

The Beech said...

Don't know whether the candy man song is as much fun when you put a shitty in front of it.
And the kids today, don't know whether their tricks are as much fun as in the old days.

lebrookski said...

maybe it's not fun, but it's funnier for sure. perhaps not for you, but i think it is...

also you live in the kids these days in your hood aren't nearly as bad as they could be, i bet