Thursday, October 25, 2007

Non-conformist or Just Plain Lazy?

"This is Halloween, everybody make a scene, trick or treat 'till the neighbors gonna die of fright." - From Nightmare Before Christmas

The question starts toward the end of September, usually after someone remarks just how quickly the year seems to be flying by.

Guy: (trying to make small talk with his lovely co-worker) "Yeah, can you believe it's almost October?"

Girl: (thinking Guy would make a great match for her roommate) "Oh, you're right. And after Halloween its just a blink of an eye to Christmas. I can hardly believe it."

Guy: "Yeah." (Awkward pause as Guy wonders if this is the opportune moment to "make his move" and then chickens out because ... well, come on, that's just the way it happens)

Guy (trying to salvage his dignity): "So what are you gonna be for Halloween?"

And it never lets up. From the moment those word are first uttered until they roll the last pudgy, sugar-soaked kid or slutty witch/nurse/pumpkin into bed (Why do typically nice, mild-mannered girls feel free to go wild and slutty on Halloween? And why don't they feel that free more of the time?), you will be barraged with this inquiry by friends, co-workers, and folk you never wanted to lay eyes on.

But after last year's failed attempt to portray a realistic-looking Hershey's chocolate bar, I decided I wasn't gonna play that game. So yesterday when one of my friends asked me what I was dressing up as for the law school Halloween party (which - find the logic here - is going down on October 25), I said, "Not a blessed thing."

So here I sit - dressed in my regular blue jeans, button-up shirt, top-siders and a "Wrist Strong" wrist band on my left wrist (Go Colbert Nation!) and I got to thinking. See, in reality we're a nation of conformists. With a few exceptions - notable only for how silly they appear as they try to fight the "system" and stick it to "the man" - we drink what we're given, work when we should, and do our best not to stand-out more than necessary to get a date on Friday night.

And Halloween is no exception. Even though we get to wear something bizarre, funny, or sexy that we wouldn't dream of wearing the rest of the live-long year, so does everybody else. It's an odd conundrum, but as they say in Pixar's most amazing movie The Incredibles, "When everyone's special, no one is."

Does that mean that the non-costume wearers are really the non-conformists come Halloween? (I mean, we're fighting the "system" by NOT being falsely unique). Or does that mean the non-wearers are just lazy?

Perhaps we'll never know; but at least we'll have candy corn. And that's something to bring every lazy Halloween hater, posing non-conformist, or excitable "princess" together.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"All We Like Raptors Have Gone Astray"

Sometimes, even though you probably shouldn't, you just can't help but laugh. A lot. And the best part? The pterodactyl and volcano in the background.

Three cheers for photo shop and a hearty thanks to Mark Davis for sending this my way.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Conversations with Alice ...

"Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

Actually, though, I didn't choose that road. Not yet, anyway. Frost may have jumped on the "I'm gonna be the most famous American poet in recent memory" boat, but I'm still undecided. Both roads lie ahead and I'm here, sitting at the crossroads, eating an apple (beef jerky perhaps?) and seriously trying to decide which one to take. Of course you'll say it's just gainful employment for a summer, how bad could it be? I mean, it's not like its the rest of my life.

But what if it is? A small, but supremely-wise hobbit was fond of saying that the road goes ever on and on. So it may be a little path now, but that same small road may soon join something grander and larger and longer until I find myself, years from now, somewhere down the line wondering what the !@^#& happened to take me there.

New York ... California ... Seattle ... Salt Lake City ... China ... I might as well throw darts at a spinning globe. Maybe then at least I'd have some explanation for my choice.

"So Matt, how'd you end up in Kyrgyzstan?"

"Well, it was a mix of hard deliberation, serious thought, a twelve-pack of Mr. Pibb and an oddly-thrown dart."

I've never liked that freakish Cheshire cat - metaphorically or literally (or even literarily). He always sits above, pawing around in a tree waiting to tease and tickle the imagination with those blasted words.

"Which one should I take," I ask.

"Well, that depends on where you want to go," he replies.

"But I don't know where I want to go," I say.

"Then it probably doesn't matter, does it," he finishes.

At the end of this whole process, I may not know why I picked the place I'm going to work, but I will know at least one thing - I sure do hate that cat.