Posts Tagged ‘Meat Loaf’

Silly Spider’s trunk or treat

November 2, 2010

Andrew Hicks

Last year on Halloween, I made a last-minute trip to ShopKo to put together a costume. The extent of my purchases for self were a $3.99 Afro wig and two-dollar bottle of hair oil to keep the wig well-lubed. I added that drippy wig to the black pants, suspenders and blue ruffled ’70s tux shirt (which I found on eBay by searching for those exact five words) from my Meat Loaf costume. And I was off to our weekly karaoke night.

Who was I? It took me a half-dozen improvised answers before I settled on Jerry Pekin, replacement bass player for Toto on the European leg of the 1979 Hold the Line tour. My Pekin getup won first prize in the costume contest, to the chagrin of people who actually spent time and money on their Halloween rigs. Honestly, I had that contest locked down no matter what. I had a big group of friends with me, and none of them had entered the contest. Their votes were automatically going to me.

That same ShopKo trip, I bought a Silly Spider costume for Sarah, who was not quite 1 and not quite walking yet. She wore Silly Spider at home for a couple pictures but didn’t leave the house in it until this year, when it was less a full-body costume than an above-the-waist costume. Tiffany coordinated a noteworthy effort, though, dressing Sarah in purple jacket and socks, long-sleeved black shirt and gray pants. Those three colors perfectly matched the palate of the Silly Spider. Let no one say my wife’s religious viewing of all eight seasons of “Project Runway” has been for naught*.

My Silly Spider

I’ve been back home with the babies for four days now. We go to the park and hang out in the backyard, but Dad remains pretty stationary in his play efforts. Taking Silly Spider Sarah trick or treating in the neighborhood was an awfully involved walking effort for the amount of candy we got. The ratio of houses with candy to houses without candy reminded me of the old Paperboy video game right before you get kicked off the route. Dark house, dark house, dark house, dark house then finally one with the light on.

I put the busted ankle through a hell of a workout** before retreating to our house with only a few flavored mini Tootsie Rolls, some stickers and an oversized Gummie Lifesaver in Sarah’s candy bucket. Tiffany and baby Silas joined us, the latter wearing an adorable orange-and-black sleeper trumpeting the fact that it was baby’s first Halloween.

We decided to bag the neighborhood walkathon and head straight to the Trunk or Treat at a nearby church. Turned out, it was the only place to be. This was my first time doing a Trunk or Treat. I was a single, childless dude up until a couple years ago, but even if I’d had kids, I would have wanted to boycott all Trunk or Treats because of the lame-ass name alone. Little did I know a TOT is like walking among a concentrated cornucopia of stationary, decorated mini-parade floats, all bearing candy.

First Halloween for Silas

In the same amount of steps I’d already walked in my neighborhood, I netted — I mean, Sarah netted — 20 times the treats. All you have to do is walk up and grab. When my toddler reached into the candy cauldrons and had a hard time deciding, I plucked out one of everything for us. The owners of the tricked-out trunks were all too distracted by my super-cute kid to notice me taking triple helpings of Three Musketeers. Even if they did, what were they gonna do? They were church people, and I’m a big dude. You’ve got to let stuff like that go. God says.

On top of it, there was free cotton candy and lemonade and a weenie/marshmallow self-roast campfire. And not a single Methodist in attendance used all this generosity as leverage to invite me to church. That’s a good tactic, too — you end up thinking, Wow, if they’re so confident in their church that they don’t even invite you, it must be a great church. I’m still not gonna go, but I enjoyed the sense of community. Everyone knew everyone except us, and we managed to blend.

Sarah enjoys her spoils

We skipped the “roast your own hot dog” action because we had the two babies with us but also because a dude whose house was right across the street from the church was yelling at the crowds about his free hot dogs and chili. So we wheeled the DuoGlider over to his place and finally got socially worked over in exchange for goodies. Owner of the house was sick of talking to the same old small-town folks he already knew, so while we were eating his super-greasy chili*** over by the garage, this dude was working his talk-show interview magic.

I don’t often invite sober small talk, particularly with strangers. My approach to these situations is to offer as little information as possible, dash off a good one-liner and exit while they’re laughing. We were trapped this time, but I quickly realized, when this guy asked a personal question, it was only so he could listen for the first available tidbit that would prompt him to tell a tangentially related story about himself. That I could live with. Even better, the second we were done eating his food and drinking his Crystal Light or whatever, we used the old “gotta get these precious babies to bed” excuse and darted back to civilization****.

Even that little side trip helped make 2010 the best Halloween in years. Small town, fall weather, free stuff, beautifully delighted toddler, Tiffany and I sneaking little kisses here and there. It was the kind of simple, beautiful family holiday experience I just didn’t get all those Halloweens I spent drinking, getting rowdy and staying out until damn near sunup.

The best part is, Sarah’s too little to know she earned herself a giant stash of candy that her parents are going to eat the lion’s share of while she’s asleep. Stolen Halloween candy tastes even sweeter. Especially when you’re taking church candy from a baby. Muwahahahahaha…

*One of my more reliable standup bits thus far has been mentioning how I love being married but wish someone would’ve told me beforehand that I’d have to watch reality shows on Bravo until death do us part. It’s one of the hidden wedding vows: Better. Worse. Sickness. Health. Project. Runway. Top. Chef. Real. Housewives. HOLY! CRAP!

**Oh yeah, get this — just before leaving to take Sarah out for Halloween, I realized while strapping up my Aircast boot that I’ve been putting that thing on wrong the entire time. Massive cripple fail.

***I overheard him explaining to a rather large lady how his chili meat recipe yielded the ideal combination of 50% beef, 50% grease. Indeed, the top two inches of crock pot product were composed of nothing but oily orange liquid. He had two serving spoons in the chili — one slotted, one solid. He told his oversized lady guest that the solid spoon was for those partygoers who liked their chili grease-only. America is something freaking else, man.

****I always end up chickening out, but one of these days I’m going to let loose with some outlandish, made-up stories at one of these events just to see if the other people challenge me. When I departed for my first weeklong Caribbean cruise, I told all my friends I was going to introduce myself to people as an anesthesiologist. Give them only a vague sense of the basics, then if they pressed harder to learn any details about my professional life, stop them with, “Hey, hey, come on now. I live anesthesiology day in and day out 49 weeks out of the year. I’m sick of talking anesthesiology. I’m on vacation here, I hope you can respect that. Let’s talk about you for awhile.”

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Shaving grace

October 22, 2010

Andrew Hicks

In the immediate aftermath of Ankle Break 2010, while I was under heavy, medically supervised sedation at the hospital, I decided to grow a beard. A friend compared it to an NHL athlete’s playoff beard, but I thought of it more as a strike beard.

I identified with Conan and Letterman, who returned to work with faces unshaved to show solidarity while their writers were on strike. These late-night hosts knew they’d be good in the long run, but a major element of their success was fundamentally missing. For them, it was the word-crafters. For me, it was the ability to walk and work.

The wildly growing hair on my face — an unruly swatch-melange of black, brown, red and gray — was there to state boldly, “This is the amount of time it’s been since I was normal.”

The beard came off last Saturday, in a mundane moment of anticlimax. I decided it was time to look semi-presentable again, and I was tired of my new, annoying habit of pinching and tugging at the tuft of beard right under my ear, where jaw meets neck. I found myself executing the pinch-and-tug move several times per minute. Inexplicably, I’d start to move at double speed whenever Nancy Grace* showed up on the TV.

I never got a picture of my bearded self, and I wish I would have. The odds of me going all wooly bully again are zero unless an Asian prison sentence is involved. Which would be all-around bad for more reasons far more profound than loss of shaving privileges. Note to self: No more felonies in The Phillipines or misdemeanors in Malaysia.

(Also, no more arson in Ankara, assault in Armenia, battery in Bahrain, blackmail in Bhutan, burglary in Bangladesh, embezzlement in India, extortion in Iran, jaywalking in Jakarta, kidnapping in Kazahkstan, larceny in Laos, manslaughter in Myanmar, mayhem in Mongolia, murder in Moscow, perjury in Pyongyang, robbery in Riyadh or vehicular homicide in Vietnam**. I don’t know what I’m going to do for fun anymore. I guess shave. Lots of shaving.)

In a half-assed marriage of odd and tacky, I took my battery-powered trimmer outside with me and did most of the heavy face-hair removal there. Instead of a bathroom sink and floor full of beard particles of varying length, the wind blew it out into the grass, like the personal grooming equivalent of scattering urn-ash.In a matter of minutes, I went from being enshrouded in facial tresses to being completely cleanshaven. It was the first time I was sans goatee since I was Meat Loaf for Halloween in 2006***.

Baby Sarah was confused for a minute, like she had a new big brother. Tiffany, my wife, was seeing me without any form of facial hair for the first time. She basically said what everyone else tells me when I shave off my goatee: You’d better grow that thing back ASAP.

Tiffany was nicer about it than everyone who’s not in love with me has ever been. She marveled over how young and innocent I looked. And she said I could groom myself however I wanted to and she’d still think I was hot. But there was noticeable, instant relief when I told her the facial hair would be coming back. What can I say? I’ve got a freaky chin. And this beautiful grown adult woman likes me better when I don’t look like I’m 12.

*Several years ago, I was involved in a tawdry, one-way Love To Hate relationship with Ms. Grace. I haven’t gotten around to seeing Nancy’s new daytime courtroom show, but I imagine she got the idea from watching Judge Judy and thinking, That woman is way too nice and not nearly condescending enough to her plaintiffs and defendants.

**Hopefully, I cannot be prosecuted for run-on sentences in Russia or killing a joke beyond recognition in the Koreas. I think I’m done now.

***Pretty much all my notable Halloween costumes have required the full shave: Meat Loaf, Elwood Blues, Mama Cass (complete with partially eaten ham sandwich), Sam Kinison, Miss Cleo and this year’s upcoming persona, Big Old Justin Bieber.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Baby Silas and his beautiful mommy.