The real Little Green Man from Mars is alive and well and living in Appalachia.

The Truth Is a Lone Assassin by Jonco Bugos

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Holiday from Hell

As a boy growing up in Appalachia in the mid-20th Century, I naturally loved Halloween. Every October I'd pretend that I'd never previously lived on Mars, where worship of the dead was punishable by two years of community service, usually as a street sweeper or a garbage collector, or something that would make most offenders feel like they'd been slapped in the face. Even on Mars no one stopped to think that the people who did these undignified jobs probably didn't like it that their life's work was considered punitive work by the rest of the planet. But that's life all over the Milky Way Galaxy. The most important things in life are the everyday things and the best people are those who do all the undignified and necessary jobs and nobody anywhere seems to get the picture.

Oh, boy, it's so easy for me to get off track whenever I think about Halloween. Let's face it, Halloween is a holiday for kids. I mean, it's a real blast for children to go door-to-door, begging for candy, when they absolutely know that they'll get it. And it used to be fun back in the 1950s and 1960s when you could soap somebody's car windows or rattle their living room windows with a handful of corn thrown way too hard or drop a pile of cow manure on someone's front porch and then set it on fire with lighter fluid just to watch the sorry homeowner race out of the house and stomp the flaming shit out with his best bedroom slippers. In the 21st Century that kind of tomfoolery will land you in juvenile hall. But, back in the 20th Century, that kind of stuff was considered to be nothing more than a bunch of "boys being boys". What stupid crap. A misdemeanor is a misdemeanor.

And now that the new millennium is here and kids, dressed up in expensive, store-bought costumes that make them feel like their favorite TV, movie and cartoon characters, are escorted by their parents and grandparents to pre-screened neighborhood houses for sugar-free treats, grown ups have taken over the real Halloween. They do this by over-decorating their front lawns with inflatable do-dads that vaguely resemble ghosts and goblins and witches. Then they dress themselves up like Mardi Gras fools and go to Halloween parties, where they forget that they're moms and dads, and act like rebellious souls who never heard of parenthood or responsibility. Nowadays it's the adults who show off their expensive, store-bought costumes in their never-ending quest for the attention they think they never got as kids. Then they get drunk and overeat and drive back home drunk and pay the sitter and then mezz out in front of the tube until three in the morning. What a day.

But nobody throws a Halloween party like a Latin Third-World country, where "the Church" really runs the show. Hell, the Day of the Dead celebration in even the tiniest, most obscure village in Central America beats Halloween hands down anywhere, any time.

But, still, no matter how you slice that piece of pumpkin pie, Halloween is still a creepy, nasty, dark-force-worshiping "anti-holiday" against which there ought to be a law.

Trust me. I'm from Mars.