Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Did I just miss Halloween?
by Paul Harrison, ghost
From E.J. Copperman's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED
Did I miss Halloween? What a pity.
For those of us whom you would classify as "ghosts," yesterday brought the annual sigh of relief. It wasn't a real sigh, since none of us actually take air into our lungs anymore, which is chiefly the function of our no longer having lungs.
Relief is the emotion of the day for we Deceased-Americans (although in the interest of full disclosure, I was born in England and raised in Canada). Because we know that we have another 364 days until we have to go off and hide again.
Halloween, after all, is amateur night.
Once a year, the living like to pretend they're going to be "scary" for a day, and dress up in ludicrous costumes depicting themselves as anything from vampires to local political figures, and in the case of women, "sexy" anything (maid, police officer, construction worker). This has the effect of letting loose some inhibitions and allowing everyone to playact in an over-the-top fashion. Adults pretend they're doing this all on behalf of their children, who would probably enjoy the occasion more thoroughly if left alone.
But in any event, the worst offenders in costumes are the ghosts.
For some reason, living people seem to believe that once a person loses his life, he becomes something on the order of a flying bed sheet, invariably a white one. There are holes for eyes and one for a mouth (assuming that a ghost wants to eat), and they generally say things like, "Boo!"
For the record, neither I nor any of the deceased people I know has ever said "Boo!"
It's an irritation, more than anything else. It's demeaning to us because this practice has the effect of dehumanizing the dead, a process that quite frankly does not require any help from the living. Already we are unable to do as we please, we can barely touch physical objects, we are invisible and inaudible to the vast majority of the population, and we are left without any instructions or explanations, including any knowledge of how long our current state of being might last.
On top of that, the idea that we are flying bed linens that say "Boo!" literally adds insult to injury.
So next year, if you want to give children who arrive at your door candy, please do so. Children should have as much fun as they possibly can, and some of the fun for them is pretending to be "scary." And if you personally want to dress up as an alter ego, a "sexy" nurse or a gorilla or Harry Potter, please enjoy yourselves. Savor every second of your life because the one thing I can tell you surely is that it will not last long enough.
But don't throw a sheet (especially a fitted sheet--that's just embarrassing) over your head and pretend to fly around. Don't let your children do it. Consider it an equal rights issue.
You might not hear them, but there will be a great many people who will thank you for it.