29 October 2006
it's the most wonderful time of the year...
i love telling people that when i was a child, i used to play in the graveyard behind our house. i occasionally gathered up bouquets of flowers (including those plastic ones that people leave when they can't visit very often) from the graves and bring them home to my mother. i love telling this story because it's so apt that people don't believe that it's true. (it's much more effective when my mother is around to add a chorus of "no, really, she did".) it's as if an author with a great sense of foresight and irony was actually writing my life for me. (although, if that were the case, i'd like to have a few words with him about some of the plotting.)
when i was a kid, i also loved halloween. it was a big deal for me, deciding what to dress up as. i never found it frightening, although the attendant magic of the season did tend to give me little chills. my grandmother was always surprised that i would get more excited about halloween than i did about christmas. but that was what i enjoyed and there was no convincing me that there was any holiday more enjoyable than all hallows.
this preference, established early, is one that has stayed with me well beyond the years when i foraged door to door in search of sugar. it helps that the holiday happens in the autumn, which is already my favourite time of the year. but more importantly, the whole concept for the holiday seems based on mystery and hedonism, things that are normally bleached from the surface of everyday life, meaning that it's the one period where the weird rule the world. even the varnish of pop culture camp that has been layered over the holiday for the last thirty years doesn't detract from its appeal. (in fact, a little camp only seems to add to the experience.)
so if, like me, you're one of those people who tends to feel more than a little alienated from "the normals", kick back, drink some of the punch with the eyeballs in it, tell ghost stories by flashlight and rejoice. in a short time, the orgy of mass consumerism known as the holiday season starts, and we will be inundated by sentiments more sickening than anything you ever collected going door to door on halloween. but no matter how hard they try to make everyone think that christmas is an enjoyable experience, we know what the cool holiday is.