Booing today’s Halloween
You’ve heard the stories from the ole timers about how hard they had it.
“ Yeah, we had to walk through three feet of snow, up a mountain, with no shoes on, just to get to school... yes, those were the good ole days.”
Usually, I let them recount the “ good ole days” without reminding them that they grew up in South Georgia, where there are no mountains and it’s snowed twice in the last 50 years.
Now that I’m a semi- oletimer, I find myself reliving my past as a child. And like the ole timers I scoffed at, I find that my recollections are tinted by rose- colored nostalgia.
For instance, the Halloweens of my youth seem to shine in comparison to what they have today.
First of all, we celebrated Halloween on Halloween — Oct. 31. It didn’t matter what day of the week the 31st fell on, that’s when we had Halloween.
We also actually went to people’s houses and knocked on their doors — even people we didn’t know. That was part of the fun. You
Obviously, times have changed. But times always change. The Halloween I knew is different from the ones my parents knew, and that my children
didn’t know what you were going to get, or who you were going to see.
Some people you would catch totally unprepared for Halloween. “ Trick or Treat!” Some guy with a “ Welcome Back Kotter” T- shirt and no pants on would answer the door with a Pabst in his hand, oblivious that this was a holiday to little kids throughout the free world. He’d then scurry about, stumble a few times, and come back with an assortment of odd items to place in our waiting bags. My friends got cans of tuna, my sister a bottle of Brut after- shave, and I got a used CB radio.
Then there were always the geeks who would hand out fruit — apples and pears or perhaps a kiwi. The older kids would roll their house later that night for their clueless transgressions.
This past Halloween was the first where our youngest child, our three- year- old son, could somewhat understand what was going on — essentially, he was getting free candy.
I was excited for him, but also for me — another opportunity to relive Halloween vicariously through the kids. But what we’ve found in recent years, and this differs from my youthful remembrances, was that nobody was home. We went to place after place and everyone was gone with their lights out.
When I was a kid, everybody was home. And if they weren’t, we banged on their door until somebody came, or we just took whatever was in their carport.
We went to every house we could. Back then, it wasn’t strangers giving out candy once a year you had to worry about, it was the guy who gave out candy yearround.
Obviously, times have changed. But times always change. The Halloween I knew is different from the ones my parents knew, and that my children know now.
Thirty years from now, they’ll probably be talking wistfully about how their childhood was more innocent, more fun, even better, than the present.
The days they’ll recount will still be the “ good ole days.” They’ll just be different from mine.
I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to long, hot showers.
It’s hard for me not to be addicted. I own a condominium. It’s one of 40 units in our condo association.
As it goes, each condo owner contributes toward a common fee that is used to maintain the grounds and buildings. The common fee also covers gas and water. The association absorbs the cost of my addiction.
The reason I’m addicted to long, hot showers traces back to my childhood. My father had to pay the water bill. Unfortunately for him, his five daughters came of age during the Farrah Fawcett era.
Their hair was long and full. It required special shampoos and conditioners. They spent hours in the shower waiting for the conditioner to penetrate. Our water bills were astronomical.
My mother, desperate to cut down water usage, learned how to work the master water valves in the basement. If we went over our allotted time, she’d shut off the water.
At least once a day, one of my sisters went over her time. She’d stand in the shower shrieking, “Mom, I have conditioner in my hair! Mom!”
Every once in a while, I’d attempt to sneak a long, hot shower but mother always shut off the water. It was always a helpless, unpleasant experience, but our water bill sure did go down.
I don’t have to worry about the water bill now.
Because my condo association gets one water bill for all 40 units, I pay for only 1/40th of all water that is used. If I stood in the shower all day seven days a week, I’d have the luxury of splitting my wastefulness with 39 other suckers.
I got to thinking about this concept as I stood in a steaminghot shower this morning. I got to thinking howmy selfishness mirrors what is going on in America.
Here in the midst of a presidential campaign, our Democrat field is making giant promises: “Free” health care for all; a “free” $5,000 investment fund for every newborn in America; special government dough to help people who took on mortgages they can’t afford.
Excessive government spending is hardly the domain of Democrats. Republicans showed a tremendous capacity to waste dough before their spendthrift ways helped get them booted from office.
Our politicians don’t like the word “spend,” but the dough they spend has to come from somewhere. It comes from you and me — it is taken from those who work and earn and is transferred to those who want stuff.
I prefer to call it what it really is: bribery. Our politicians use our own money to promise things to other people who sell their votes to whichever politician promises them the most.
Our politicians long ago began using the public till to bribe voters into voting for them. Long ago they engaged in the concept of promising long, hot showers to every American, content that other Americans would cover the expense .
And now, to fund hundreds of new bribes, taxes will have to go up. To fund the dozens of unsustainable programs we already have, taxes will have to go up more. Economic growth will suffer and, ultimately, everyone will suffer.
But nobody seems to care about that. Too many Americans are more interested in the bribes that politicians are promising than the fiscal train wreck that is heading our way.
The whole concept makes me so worried and depressed, I feel the need to take longer, hotter showers. Thank goodness 39 other suckers will be paying for them.