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Thursday, 02 November
To Live And Die In Elevator

Another Halloween has come and gone, and I'm pleased to report that, as I grow older, Halloween is becoming less and less relevant every year. Don't get me wrong: Halloween is a lot of fun. For children. For adults? It's just kind of a big pain in the ass, and more and more, people are just ignoring it.

For instance, work. A few years ago, better than 50% of my coworkers would come in some sort of costume, even if it was half-assed, like the guy who always shows up in sweats and says, "Hey, I'm a sports fan!" Jesus. A more troubling example was the since-departed female supervisor of mine who, every year, showed up as Sexy Witch, with fishnets and plunging cleavage and alarming hat and all. Now, the thing is, there all sorts of supervisors: there are shitty supervisors (that's me!); there are great supervisors; there are hands-on supervisors and I'm-staying-home-all-week supervisors; there are insane supervisors and there are supervisors who wear visors, and who themselves might be insane, since, God, visors? But what there are not are sexy supervisors, and this always created all kinds of cognitive dissonance for me that I'd have to go hide under my desk whenever Halloween rolled around, reaching occasionally for my trusty whisky bottle.

But as I and my co-workers age, we are more and more blowing off the dressing-up conventions; we're all much less likely now to go out to some dance club costumed in revealing outfits. We're more likely turning into the kind of old cranks that go home and watch television, waiting for someone unpleasant to show up onscreen so we can scamper over to the screen to press our ass against it. (I assume everyone does this. I personally ass-pressed both Sean Salisbury and the Verizon guy on Halloween.) So hardly anyone dressed up.

A couple people did, of course, but they were pretty half-hearted. For some reason, they were all women: I saw one lazy pirate in a sort of pirate hat and an eyepatch; she said "ARRR!" to me and waved a little plastic sword commonly found in tropical drinks. Terrifying! And another woman dressed up as a construction worker. I wouldn't have noticed her, except she happened to walk by my office window. The only reason I really took notice is that she is under five feet tall, so all I saw through my window was her hard hat crawling by, and it startled me, because I thought a turtle was crawling along my window sill. I like turtles, so I quelled the impulse to press my ass against the glass as a startle response.

The wife, of course, working as she does at a day care/sweatshop, had plenty of tales to tell of kids who dressed up. A pair of twins came dressed as cops, complete with little pads to write people tickets for bad behavior, which they gleefully did all day long. They also arrived carrying donuts and coffee. (The wife herself borrowed my pajamas and arrived at work dressed as something called "Corduroy Bear," whatever the fuck that is.) But for some reason, I was most tickled by the tale of one particular child who, unable to master the pronunciation of "Miss Jeanette"--the convention is that the children address the teachers as Mr. Whatever or Miss Whodat--decided to simply call her "Mister Net." Mister Net sounds like a lazy month for the writers at Marvel Comics. Let's team up Mister Net with Stilt-Man! They're the Circus of Evil! We can work in Kraven the Hunter and the Rhinosceros!

Anyway. Halloween has come and gone again. The only other remarkable thing that happened that day was when I left work. As usual, I waited for the elevator to take me down the 20 floors to freedom. Part of the way down, the car stopped, and more people stepped on; one woman was dressed as some sort of . . . you know, I have no idea, really. A gangster? She had a black jacket on, and a dingy baseball cap. I paid her no attention. At least until about floor 11. Then she stabbed me.

"I'm sorry," she suddenly said to me, blinking rapidly. She laughed a little bit in nervous tones. I had no idea what the fuck was going on. "What?" I was about to say, but then she plunged a knife into my arm. A fake knife, of course, one of those cheap retractable jobs. "She dared me!" she cried, pointing at an uncostumed woman who had boarded the car with her. "She dared me to stab a stranger!" The other woman offered a sheepish smile. I stared at them both for a moment, and then did the only thing that made sense. I rolled my eyes into the back of my head and moaned "Oh my God." Then I let myself fall to the elevator floor in the most bone-jarring possible fashion. Nobody screamed, but there were an assortment of harsh gasps.

The poor woman had simply picked exactly the wrong person to sport with. I've faked passing out in the office for years, so much so that I've had co-workers step uninterestedly over my collapsed form after being burned one too many times. And I'm really pretty good at falling down in the most awkward, jarring way possible without doing me too much harm--no mean feat on thinly-carpeted concrete. God help me if I really ever do gork out at work--I'll probably die on the floor, since I've pulled it so often. People will continue to say "Har har, Skot" and continue clacking away while fluids leak out of my brain onto the floor. I'd certainly deserve it.

After a short moment, I sensed people crouching, leaning down over me solicitously. I opened my eyes then and said "Happy Halloween!" Uproar and clamor.

I guess I'm not so old yet.

Confess | Skot | 02 Nov, 2006 |

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Comments

It's going to take months of therapy to get the notion of you wearing courduroy pajamas out of my brain....

Comment number: 008786   Posted by: Broadsheet on November 3, 2006 08:37 AM from IP: 199.253.178.254

I used to ass-press the TV, but I did it once to Dick Cheney and got a nasty-ass shock. So now I just wave my genitalia at the VP instead and shout in my best Joe Pesci impression, "I've got your 'dick' right HERE!"

Comment number: 008788   Posted by: Andrew on November 3, 2006 09:53 AM from IP: 70.98.240.174

Your wife works in day care? Even though I'm sure you have no contact with the kids, your one-degree distance from them frightens me. Which is a nice Halloween trick on your part.

Comment number: 008789   Posted by: Amanda on November 3, 2006 10:43 AM from IP: 12.171.13.130

why don't more people appreciate fake fainting?

people falling over is always funny. always. especially in a crowded elevator.

Comment number: 008790   Posted by: Lola on November 3, 2006 12:41 PM from IP: 167.102.229.10

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