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Trick or treat!

October 24, 2012
By Jerry Nelson , Marshall Independent

They're ba-ack!

We are once again under siege by an army of the undead. Legions of brain-eating zombies are lurching across this great land of ours, spreading terror and revulsion everywhere they go, from our major metropolises to our humble hamlets.

Yes, the election season is here once again.

"I never vote, it only encourages them," is a sentiment often expressed nowadays by disgusted citizens. This is especially true this year, when the political campaigns most closely resemble a food fight amongst a gaggle of screeching monkeys.

There are those who believe that the ever-increasing divisiveness we have seen has engendered a coarsening of our political discourse. Things were much more civil in the olden days, they say. They are wrong.

Our Founding Fathers conducted campaigns that were often downright nasty. They publicly hurled scurrilous accusations. Recent ancestries were called into question; allegations were made regarding blood pacts with Beelzebub. In short, they behaved like a herd of dyspeptic badgers.

And that's just the guys who were running for dogcatcher! The higher the office, the more acidic the acrimony.

For instance - I read this somewhere on the Internet, so it has to be true - an early 19th century candidate once charged his opponent with possessing a collection of lace-enhanced shirts and of being "a wig-wearing Whig." The trouble is, both these things were true and the accused was actually quite proud of it.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. These days, we are routinely bombarded with ads wherein the words "hell in a hand basket" are never actually used, but that message is strongly implied. Other ads might feature such things as an old photo of a very young pol incinerating ants with a magnifying glass.

I have found that televised political ads are much more enjoyable with the sound muted. As the candidate silently mouths his message, ask yourself: "Would I buy a used car from this person? Or do I find him or her so loathsome that I am about two seconds away from putting my foot through the TV?"

The best way to watch televised political ads is with the sound off and the picture blacked out. Only then can I sit back and truly enjoy that type of advert.

Conventional wisdom holds that these annoying commercials will end once the voting is done. Well, conventional wisdom is full of hooey! My wife and I voted early yet continue to be pelted by political ads! Where does one go to lodge a complaint about this? We want our money back!

We have another set of roving imps to deal with this time of the year. But these scalawags are actually less scoundrelish than those running for office.

At least when a bunch of kids appears at your door and yells "trick or treat!" you know what you're in for. Give the little scamps some candy and off they go. They won't afflict you later by passing a law that's as welcome as an overturned outhouse.

When our kids were young, we, like many parents, ignored the dire warnings from dentists. We took our offspring trick-or-treating and they would come home with enough calories, in the form of refined sugar, to power a diesel locomotive.

Our kids generally made their own Halloween costumes. This wasn't because our family is particularly creative, but mainly because we were particularly poor.

Say that one of our sons decided to trick-or-treat as a hobo. He would simply put on some of my ragged and stained jeans and a similar shirt, slap on a little grime to give the illusion needing a shave and ta-da! Hobo! The next day, as the kids struggled to recover from their sugar stupor, I would reclaim the erstwhile hobo costume and resume wearing it for chores.

One Halloween our youngest son opted to go as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Constructing this costume involved wearing his green sweater and pants along with the repurposing of a pillowcase. Sadly, the pillowcase didn't survive the process. I miss it still.

Then there was the year when winter decided to arrive on the same night as Halloween. The wind howled and the air was choked with snow. Visibility dropped to near zero and no travel was advised.

Despite this, our kids insisted on going trick-or-treating. I argued against it, telling my wife that it would be safer and easier if she simply bought each child a bag of candy once the storm passed.

"But the kids have been looking forward to this for a long time!" she said. "They would be really disappointed."

"They should get used to it," I replied. "After all, someday they'll both be voters!"

 
 

 

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