Happy Halloween, you creatures! Though some may cry foul over Halloween falling on a Wednesday this year, at least it helps make the impenetrable hump of the workweek a little more palatable. Even people who don’t give a shit about Halloween know enough to only work at half-speed today, and that in of itself is enough for me to toss aside all previous misgivings and shout, “I LURV HALLO.”
Of course I watched It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown last night. It’s just incredible to think that I’ve been watching that special for 25 Halloweens straight, give or take. I don’t know when I started the tradition, and I’m sure I’ve missed a year here and there, but it’s just so odd to realize that I watched that very same cartoon, probably at the same exact time of year on the same exact channel, decades ago.
When you’ve seen anything that many times, it’s tough to avoid being on autopilot. When I view this special (and others in a similar vain), it’s kind of like being at church: You know you’re supposed to be paying attention and soaking it all in, but truth be told, your shoelaces suddenly became extremely interesting.
Throughout most of the special, I had a cat in my lap. We have five cats, and through some Halloween-inspired horrible luck of the draw, I got…”Kitten.” Kitten’s proper name is “Saturn,” but we never call her that, because a generic, ironically nice-sounding moniker seemed to be a more natural fit the cat from hell. Don’t get me wrong — I’d fight off a Doberman if it picked on Kitten, but she is definitely the meanest cat in the history of cats.
You know how some animals have “hot spots?” Parts of their body that may result in offbeat vicious behavior when touched? Well, every part of Kitten’s body is a hot spot. Since she’s the smallest of our cats and kind of cute in her own little ugly way, Kitten is the first feline visitors want to approach when they’re in our apartment for the first time. They never believe us when we tell them that this is a grave, grave mistake. This is a cat capable of simultaneously striking with her teeth and all four claws in less than a second, a talent that she truly enjoys showing off. Everyone loves scratching a cat right above their tail, but if you do this to Kitten, five parts of you will bleed.
And yet, she manages these rare bouts of total and complete affection, always at the oddest times — like, for example, when I’m trying to take pictures of Charlie Brown television specials. Digging into my soft pink flesh with her hard eggshell claws, I could only hope that she’d grow bored quickly. It’s one thing to touch Kitten’s hot spots when she’s just roaming around, but if you bug her when she’s trying to be cute, the pain you’ll face is positively legendary. I’m not sure if any of this has anything to do with Halloween, but it’s helped make this appear to be fairly large for a blog post. Thanks, evil Kitten!
They stretched the Charlie Brown stuff into a hourlong broadcast by showing You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown right after the pumpkin show. I guess we have to accept this as part of the tradition, as they’ve been doing it for a few years now. It feels wrong to get up or change the channel when Charlie Freakin’ Brown is on prime time network television, but man, that special sucks. I used the time to peruse the new and gigantic Toys ‘R’ Us catalog, which had just enough errant snowflake graphics to remind me of happy Christmas decorations and log fires and all of that other junk that will help take the sting out of a Halloween season that just never seemed to pork my soul like a pro this year.
You guys are great. You let me off the hook for this year’s Halloween Countdown, and I appreciate that. You probably read plenty of websites, and…how can I put this? I’m sure you can tell when the people running them are “gunning for class president,” so to speak. Clearly, I’m not. There’s a freedom in that for me, to be honest. It’s about trading some bravado and momentum to just do what I want to do, when I want to do it. I do feel bad about broken promises, but I won’t make a habit out of it. This site’s Christmas season will rock, and if it doesn’t, I will personally stage an event where every reader is invited to bring along a bag of rocks and stone me to death.
Haven’t seen a single trick-or-treater today. I guess nobody wants tiny Twix bars or Jolly Rancher lollipops shaped like Dracula. More for me. It’s really calm out, and kind of chilly, and kind of darker than it should be at this hour. Pretty perfect, and I’ve got just enough gusto to drink something Halloweeny and watch something Halloweeny and be happy with that.
Better days are ahead, but this one isn’t so bad.