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Friday, October 29, 2010

A Bizarre Halloween Memory

We have spent the year in front of society's stage pretending to be something that we are not fully, only to, on Halloween, to try to hearken back to some less appealing shade of our ourselves and put it to light. That is why, traditionally, the specter nightmares that inhabit our thoughts and lives need an outlet once a year, and are given sleeves, cloaks, and a ghastly face. A sort of masked catharsis of what is hidden. But something in our society has recently shifted. Now kids go about thinking themselves to be vampires and pirates, and even werewolves, the whole year round...and so the outlet must also shift to what is repressed. Perhaps, that is a good reason why one of my costumes for this year is a Mormon. And how a few years ago amidst the phantom-lurking New Orleans, I dressed as an angel. Not as a statement for me, but a cultural statement of something of the solid right vs wrong ideology that in our current society has been repressed. This is not something planned out. No, it is mostly unconscious. And I've just made the connections now. We are all letting out ghosts that we can't really kill off in our pantomimes and play.

Years and years ago, back when I was 19. I got wind of a contest that was going on. Up to $3000 to the winner. This was a direct invitation to my mind to whirl about and think of something astoundingly clever. It was always a gift of mine to be able to walk into a room and conjure up costumes. Perhaps, deep down I was always looking for this catharsis. -And so wear a mask that revealed more that it was pretending to hide. Then, the idea struck and I knew that it had immaculate potential. This was back when the idea of cloning had really taken off. The big result was a cloned sheep which had been all over the media. And many people were fearing something catastrophic. So why not, be a doctor gone through this experiment with a horrific result. A doctor that had reached towards the heights of science and came toppling down and morphed himself like a pair of siamese twins, along side a laboratory sheep. It was clever, thoughftul, and a cultural statement. But yes, like most of my life's themes, the idea was far easier than the execution.
Nerd Triva: I was basically retelling the story of Frankenstein. For galvanism was a cutting edge idea during the 1820s, where the idea of sparking the essence of life back into the bodily dead was much deliberated on. Almost 200 years later, here we are again, Science's probing, plastic-gloved hand grappling for that mystery, the essence of life. But this time doing it again, in a capitalistic way, by multiplication of numbers....cloning.

I needed certain ingredients for me to cook up this idea. 1 medical dummy. 1 lab coat. 1 sign, and a bunch of cotton, or something or other that would look like wool.
My strategy involved "borrowing" a medical dummy from a nearby community college. Easily executed and brow-raising enough, it wasn't the first time I had done such a thing. I think this was the time, one afternoon, that I just popped my trunk of my car open right next to the biology department. Ran in and grabbed the dummy and slung it over my shoulder like a caveman hauling off his cavewoman. Threw the dummy in the back of the trunk and then wheeled off. No one noticed. This was all before risk assessment had developed in my brain. (In many ways, I'm still waiting for this development to fully ripen.) I also had to "borrow" a medical lab coat from a hospital. I walked in some doors I wasn't supposed to be behind, saw this white coat hanging on a peg down the long, waxed hall. I could hear doctor's voices behind a wall around the corner. Didn't care. My heart was pounding with every step. The hall with its shiny, reflecting floor tiles seem to be the longest hall in the history of the world. Right when I got to the lab coat on the peg, what little risk assessment I had slowly peeped up, as I saw some doctor's name on the coat. I think that I actually was back in the ER and I shuddered at the thought that I may rob someone's life because some poor doctor was missing his lab coat and couldn't fully focus on a crucial open heart surgery. I would return the coat the next day, but still you never know. So, I spun around on my heels and exited the way that I had come in without being seen, but also without the much needed lab coat.

My costume idea was falling into problems, this act of creation was being stifled by all kinds of dilemmas. Also, I realized that I was a year over the age to qualify for the contest. I think 18 was the cut off point. So, I had to turn to my friend Nathan who was young enough to compete and who, most importantly, also would be willing to wear the most ridiculous outfit there. I had another friend who was to come along also. Rocky, who was older and supposedly was trained in military combat was sort of our bouncer if things got hairy. If my idea won the $3000 then we would all split it. So this meant that I had to come up with 3 costumes in the space of a day. Rocky, a shady creature of seedy proportions, to this day I do not know where he is. He always struck me as some sort of con artist. My mother, who is a good people detector, did not like Rocky. And all my other friends were wary of him. But, there was some shared madness in us, so I put up with him and he put up with me. I decided the irony of his character was for him to go as the Pope. I constructed his outfit in no time. As for myself, I was left against the ropes. But went as a Mad Hatter (and this was before mad hatters were popular; originality was something I always strived for.) I had this burgundy leisure suit that I wore for all occassions this being one of them, along with a baby blue ruffled shirt.
Nathan, was cheated the most, for his outfit was incomplete, the essential idea didn't come to full fruition. I couldn't get the lab coat, I couldn't get the wool in time, and I didn't even bother to make the sign that read, "Cloning Experiment Gone Wrong". But I did have one medical dummy. So Nathan who was probably the same size and weight of the dummy placed it in his clothes, which made him look like a pair of inseparable Siamese Twins with 2 heads, 4 arms, and so forth. Very, very weird. Now, it was all a shot in the dark of whether or not we'd win any prize at all.

Then we descended upon the club that was hosting this costume party, and realized that we were all fish out of water. Except maybe Rocky, who probably frequented strange, seedy places in his spare time. The rap music was pouring through the walls, while the cigarette smoke was pouring through the doors. Everyone there was probably much too young to be smoking, much less drinking, much less dancing, half-mating like they were. I was appalled at what was a 14 year old girl or two booty dancing on the main dancefloor. Hardly not a soul had a costume on. They were of that age and that mentality that to dress up was lame. But some difficulties arose, mainly because Rocky's costume.

As the Pope, he was decked out in a white robe, and the majority of the party-goers were African American and the only thing that they associated with white robes, and I don't blame them, is something to incite vehement hatred and outrage. As we walked through the throng of sagging pants, neon raving sticks, and the haze of Black N Milds, I was frantically assuring myself in Rocky's self-proclaimed expertise in judo and street brawling. He had at one time, fought in the Mighty Man Contest where the roughnecks of Dothan get together and knock each other's nose cavities loose. Nathan, they just stared at, for in the dark lights, it really looked like another real person was in his clothes with him. The way the couples were latched together in this joint, though, it might have been seen as normal. With me, on the other hand, they completely missed the reference. I don't think too many of them were into Lewis Carroll. They thought I was trying to be some sort of pimp. And they booed and laughed at this. Its remarkably funny how cultural icons are distorted in a entirely different social context.
Those entering the costume contest were called up on stage, much to our mounting uncomfortableness. All 7 of us. And they would call our numbers out and we'd parade on something that resembled a catwalk to the mob of bumping, grinding teenagers. Our costumes got the most boos, mockery, and jeers than any of the others. I think if they would have had fruit, they would have pelted us with it. They guy who won was some urchin that just placed a store-bought Hellraiser mask over his head. Lame. But as it turns out, he didn't win $3000. The wording in the contest is crucial. For it said "Up to $3000." He merely got a chance to draw for that $3000 bucks, which probably wasn't actually in the raffle bin. I think the US Army uses the same tactics to get people to join. All he won were free passes inside the club and maybe a T-shirt. Double Lame. Some how we all managed to get out of there without a fight and without any tears or rips in our unappreciated costumes.


Anonymous JamesBrett said...

"Perhaps, that is a good reason why one of my costumes for this year is a Mormon."

ONE of your costumes? what are the others, and why do you need more than one?

this year i'm dressing up as a tanzanian missionary with a cold.

10:42 PM  

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