Saturday, October 31, 2009

A lame-ass Halloween memory

While other bloggers are regaling Interwebbers today with thrilling tales of Halloweens of yore, I must admit with great sadness that I don't really have any of those. You would think that, given my horror fandom, and with a theatrical background to boot, I would slap on the ghoulish glamor and glitz once a year with total abandon, but no. I am woefully conservative in that respect (hell, probably only in that respect), but when Halloween is a state of mind that you live in for the other 364 days of the year, I take a pass on the costumes, make-up and masks.

Except for one year.

Twenty-one years ago this week, there was a college house party for the staffers of WWSP-90FM, the modern rock station where I was then serving as music director and film critic. I wasn't a student at the time; I was pulled from the community to handle the post when the previous MD was deemed to have overstayed his welcome and was outsted in a coup. I was still seen as a bit of an outsider, a few years older than most of the other staffers, so when I was invited to a station costume party...well, I had to represent - and this was well before anyone knew what the hell "represent" meant. But what to go as? My wardrobe at the time ran to muted blues, grays, browns and black, and I didn't really have world enough or time to attempt anything extravagant.

Then I looked at the bookshelf next to the closet. Then I looked at the closet again. Thunder clapped, angels sang, Jesus wept, and I had my idea.

I copied this. Perfectly.

From what I had in my wardrobe, you would have suspected that Roger and I shopped at the same store. I dyed my dishwater hair black (it was comparatively so full and luxurious then...sigh), then added gray highlights, and applied the Ben Nye to age me a couple of decades. Add the gray herringbone tweed, a dark blue sweater vest with a light blue dress shirt, a thin red tie (as a New Waver, I had those up the ying yang), and, to complete the effect, I tucked the book under my arm. So I walked around the party with Roger's new volume (it's a BIG book) in one hand, and an upraised thumb on the other...which probably explains why I didn't get a lot to drink that night. But I did get quite a few compliments, and the fact that I was also 90FM's film critic at the time added a sly, puckish note to the ensemble, if I do say so myself. (I don't have a picture from the night, but I know some were taken. Maybe if a friend who reads this has one and can send one to me....? I'll add it to the post.)

There you have it. Underwhelming, huh? Far more dramatic was the moment at the party when our Station Manager, in a drunken frenzy, crucified a plastic figure of Grimace upon a kitchen cabinet door with some Chicago Cutlery. Many were appalled, but if you ask me, the purple bastard had it coming.

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