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But I Thought It Looked Cool
by Turtle Jones
Tonight is one of the last in the installments of FTTW Halloween themes. And yes I prolly spelled that wrong and yes, I 'm glad this month is almost over for a few reasons. Right now, I am knee deep in X-14 super spray cleaning my house getting everything packed up, so my idea of what is bad might be something a little different than Michele’s.
I got my bleach buzz on, baby.
But, since that is neither here nor there, let's move on.
Costumes. You know your parents dressed you up in some dumb ones. But this is not like that. This is time for you to come clean. This is what you wanted and your parents just shook their heads as you went out.
What was the crappiest costume you ever wore?
turtle talks trash
I have no idea what the fuck was going on in my head when I did this. I mean, years later I did the black sheet "Invisible Pedestrian" stuff, but this was different. I was a kid. Like 5th grade and I decided I wanted to be one of these guys for Halloween. Screw being a fireman or being a vet. I wanted to be him.
Bob the garbage man.
It sounded cool at the time. My costume included dirty pants and a dirty shirt. See, that's a cool costume. All I have to do is run around for a day and not take a shower and became Bob the garbage man. Put on some rubber gloves and a Tonka hardhat and I had it. If I only had a Union card and a drinking problem the outfit would have been perfect.
But hey. I was young. Those things didn't come till later in life. My dreams of alcoholism and Union dues would not be realized for many years to come. I had to deal with the here and now.
So I strapped on these dirty clothes and walked to school. Firemen and Vets screamed around me. I didn't do anything. I was Bob. I worked for the county. And Bob doesn't care about anything except taking a slug of whiskey and watching you try to hide the bottles of what you drank before as deep in the trash you could. See Bob had a problem. But Bob had the balls to admit he drank on the job. You had to hide your problems. Bob just covered himself in grease and he was cool. No one would smell him. And besides, the cops all knew Bob was drunk. But really, are you going to pull over a drunken garbage man in a 4 ton truck loaded with the bottles from your late night drinking?
I don't think so.
You let Bob go with a warning. Cause Bob knows a secret about you that he found in your trash.
You like to wear housedresses.
Bob had power and Bob controlled you. He knew what was going on in your house. He watched who pulled out the trash at the last minute and he knew about your lesbian porn fetish.
Bob was power.
Plus he smoked cigars! - T
I know I wore a lot of dumb costumes in my time. Most of them when I was old enough to know better. But there was one I wore back in grade school that was dumb more because of the reason I wore it, not because of what it was.
Really, all I wore was a stethoscope. And it wasn't even real. I pulled it out of my little sister's plastic doctor kit.
See, we were collecting for UNICEF. And I was going as one of those medical missionary people who donate their time and presence to help the sick children in third world countries. That's what I told myself, anyhow. A doctor. A doctor with a conscience.
Don't go thinking I was all altruistic back then. I actually grabbed the stethoscope at the last minute. Just a little stroke of ten year old genius there. We were just going to carry the little orange boxes around and knock on doors in our street clothes.
Oh, when I say "collect for UNICEF" I mean "buy stuff for ourselves with the change in the orange box."
I never said I was a good kid. But honestly, I'm going to blame this one on my neighbor. She forced me into it, in much the same way UNICEF forces kids around the country to co-opt Halloween. It's supposed to be a day about grabbing fistfuls of candy and greedily shoving them in your mouth. Not about poor, hungry kids who need their shots. How dare the UN ask us to beg for loose change on this one time a year when we are allowed to beg for candy.
We'll show them.
We'll steal their money.
Now, let it be known that I did have a conscience. Meaning, I felt kind of bad about it. Even as I said on the way out the door "hey, lemme put this stethescope on so they think we are really into doing the UNICEF thing" I was still feeling pangs of guilt. The same kind of guilt I felt when I gave the dog my Brussel sprouts under the table and my mother caught me in the act and reminded me about starving kids in China. Well thanks, mom. I can really enjoy this steak now that I know some kid is dying from hunger tonight. Yea, I still ate the steak. But I thought about hungry kids while doing it. Same with UNICEF. I intended to pocket some of the money. But I thought about sick kids while doing it.
So we took our orange boxes and walked up and down the block and got some candy as well as money for UNICEF. It was pretty easy to get people to donate. Just say "For The Children" at anyone and its like saying "ali baba" at the cave of wonders. The pocketbook opens up. The wallet comes out. "Harvey, it's For The Children! Gimme a ten!" Then Harvey would come to the door and eye my fake stethescope and say something like "you really went all out there with the costume, kid," and I would say "Hey, put up or shut up." No, I didn't really say that. I would just smile and say thank you, pretending I was oblivious to the sarcasm.
By the end of the night we had a bag full of candy and two boxes stuffed with UNICEF money. We were a bit surprised because we thought if people gave to the box, they wouldn't give to the bag. I underestimated my neighbors. They did both.
We spread our candy loot out on Lori's bedroom floor and then opened the UNICEF boxes. $23.42 all together. Don't forget this was about 1972. So that's like 800 dollars with inflation and all. About 2 dollars Canadian.
"So, what are we gonna do with the money, Lori?"
Lori balked. No fucking way. She felt she had earned the right to that money by marching up and down five blocks and pretending to smile at everyone who answered their door.
I told her it was really all my doing that we got that much money in the first place. After all, I was wearing a stethoscope. I added a bit of credibility to our sales pitch. So I should make the decision here.
After a bit of arguing, I convinced her that we should turn our full UNICEF boxes in at school tomorrow, like all the other good kids would be doing.
She convinced me we could take out enough for Slurpees. So we did.
The next day at school, I was feeling all kinds of smug about handing in my box stuffed with poor people money.
Then Mrs. M. called on Jenny. Jenny stood in front of the class and proceeded to tell us how she dressed up in a REAL nurse's uniform borrowed from her mother and spent six hours going from door to door handing out hand drawn pamphlets on why it was important to drop money in the UNICEF box.
And then she told about how she collected over $100.
And how she didn't carry a candy bag at all. Just the UNICEF box.
I thought about this. Thought hard.
Decided that Jenny was a loser. Dreamed about lunch time, when I would get to eat my peanut butter cups and try on my wax lips.
Yea, I missed the point of the whole thing. I figured that out pretty quick.
I never did get my Slurpee, either. Lori stole my half of the money.
Yea, karma is a bitch, I know. -M
So these are the worst costumes we came up with. Remember, these are not the ones your parents came up with, these are ones you screamed to wear.
What was your worst costume ever?
Michele and Turtle write Late Night Typing through a haze of cleaning product fumes.