Plus, Another Poem based on a notice from my coop:
will be simulated explosion on
private property in Brooklyn please
note there will be two fireballs during
simulated explosion stunt will happen
twice during hours of 5:30 and 8:30
No not the 1976 movie starring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster, although I remember liking that movie when I was young. No, not the 2003 movie featuring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, I never did see that movie. No, not the 1995 TV movie starring Shelley Long and Gaby Hoffmann, I didn’t even know that existed. No, not the book written by Mary Rodgers, I’ll never read that. And no, not Face Off the 1997 movie starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring that up.
Here’s a Halloween themed cartoon rejected from the New Yorker for those who don’t want to read my long winded essay below.
A Night of Mischief And Vandalism
My father told me that when he was a kid, Halloween was very much a night of mischief and vandalism. Youngsters would shoot out streetlights and put outhouses on people’s porches. He said his older brother would often come home on Halloween night with many tales of narrowly escaping the police.
When I was a kid, Halloween was still a night of mischief, but just the basics. Car windows got waxed or soaped, houses got egged and pumpkins were smashed. When I was only five or six my older brother and his friend, both of whom were teens, were given the sad task of taking me and his friend’s younger brother out trick or treating. In hind site it was probably an effort to prevent them from soaping windows or egging houses. I remember getting a Batman costume. The old school kind with a plastic mask that smelled of chemicals, constricted your breath and made it near impossible to see.
I didn’t know the younger brother my brother’s friend, I think he was one year older, and would continuously yank my mask off and laugh the manic laugh of a six year old. I was happy to be able to breath, but annoyed at him just the same. Eventually I gave up trying to keep the mask on and this allowed me to see the only clear memory I have of actual mischief and or vandalism. While walking down a particularly quiet street, a car came to a halt in the road near us as a few people jumped out. I saw two white blurs fly by my face before their shells cracked open on the sidewalk and porch. Not waiting to see if they hit their target, they laughed the manic laugh of teenagers who just got their drivers license and sped away.
The year after that I was in a new school and there was a little red (ish) haired girl in my class. I was enamored with her or wanted to be her best friend or whatever you feel for a girl at age six or seven. On Halloween she told me to come by her house so we could go Trick or Treating together. I was thrilled. I have no memory of what I was dressed as that year. The only thing that mattered was getting one of my brothers to take me out trick or treating. First stop, the house of the little red headed girl so we could beg for candy together! But when I got there, she and her mom told me that they had already done all their Trick or Treating. She didn’t say it in a cruel way, just the way a seven year-old girl who didn’t know she was crushing my heart says things.
I don’t think I dressed up for Halloween again until college. I was at a party at a big house rented by a good number of art students. The only memory I have of any costumes was that of my roommate at the time. He was dressed as a woman, but I remember that mostly because he dressed up as a woman pretty much every weekend and went to bars that the rest of us didn’t go to. At one point, the woman who lived there loudly told us all that her friend from Jamestown was coming to the party and she was bringing her band. They were a newish band called 10,000 Maniacs. Hours past before they apparently called the house again. Seems they were lost or drunk or really drunk. They were out there driving around lost and possibly intoxicated. I could be remembering this all wrong, but it sounded right at the time. They were a rock band, it seems like they should spend Halloween narrowly escaping the police.
Walking home Monday I noticed a few people taking selfies with a white haired older man who looked a lot like Bernie Sanders. Most people walked right past him in a hurry to get wherever they were going without a second glance. It turned out he was Bernie Sanders and he was making an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, which was filming at the nearby BAM theater. He had stopped to get a bagel at La Bagel Delight (73 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217) and was eating it at a sidewalk table. It seemed to have cream cheese. Possibly a poppy seed bagel.
When I first came to NYC, I didn’t think much of spotting celebrities. It was never my thing, but, even if I wasn’t looking they seemed to pop up now and then. One night heading down into the Times Square subway, I passed Henry Winkler who was coming up the steps. The man behind me gave him a “Ayyyyyyy!” doing his best Fonzie. I thought he was being a jerk doing something so stupid, but Henry Wrinkler responded with the same “Ayyyyyy!” and gave him a friendly hello. Next time I see Mr. Winkler, I’m definitely doing my best Fonzie imitation.
Once while walking with a friend who was an aspiring actor and or stand up comedian, she pulled me aside and said, “Oh God! It’s F. Murray Abraham!” We pretended to look in a store window as he walked by. “I took one of his classes.” She said sounding somewhat fearful. “I was an awful student. He hated me.”
Once while running in Manhattan I stopped at a light. Next to me I saw Colin Mochrie hanging out. If I hadn’t been a fan of Who’s Line Is It Anyway, I would have never noticed him. I stared at him a little too long as it took me a minute to figure out who he was. He stared at me, probably wondering if I was going to ask him if he was drew Cary.
My wife and I used to keep a silly little contest going where we kept track of who spotted the most celebrities. I’ve lost that list, But she used to spot Keri Russell at our local farmers Market all the time. I only saw her once. We both ate at a restaurant and sat at a table next to Vera Wang. I watched Eric Bana film scenes for Munich in my neighborhood. We were somewhat even as far as our little contest went.
But then my wife delivered the death blow to our friendly little contest. She used to work on 5th Avenue in the same building CBS has their morning show. One morning a few years ago she was walking through a crowd trying to get to the front door of her building, pushing her way past people like most mornings and ignoring anyone who got in her way like most mornings. Eventually, she noticed that people in the crowd around her seemed to be clapping and cheering. She looked in front of her and noticed that she had ended up accidentally walking behind the cast of Everyone Loves Raymond. They were headed to the Morning show to celebrate the finale of the series.
The building she works in now is also the building that
Hillary Clinton’s office is in, but her encounter with the
secret service and Ms. Clinton is a story for another time.