For the past five nights, I’ve had a recurring nightmare that every trick or treater coming to my house was either dressed as Kate Gosselin or was actually Kate Gosselin herself.
She moves in with me. She brings her eight kids. Jon starts showing up to go through my drawers looking for money he can claim is his.
Worst of all, instead of having to ride herd over just two children through the week-long Mardi Gras of tooth decay that is what Halloween has become, I now have her brood and they’re asking if I’m going to be their new daddy.
I wake up in cold sweat.
I wonder if tonight any of the Gosselin children will dress up as the Gosselin parents. And I wonder if Gosselin neighbors had the puckish audacity to trick or treat at the Gosselin home dressed as the Gosselins themselves.
I’d do it myself but I’ve been consumed with trying to keep pace with just the latest example of what I’ve been calling the Sprawlidays.
Halloween used to be just one night. Now it consumes a full week even for those of us who are resistant to its pressures.
It’s everywhere. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing some juvenile talk show host or news caster dressed up to salute yet another holiday we’re determined to wrench from the kids.
It’s oppressive. We’ve already had about six kiddie costume functions in the community, at school and at church (the last has me for the first time wishing I belonged to one of those uptight fundamentalist sects that disdains the celebration because it prudishly considers it “too pagan”).
I’m sure I’d be a whole lot less curmudgeonly about Halloween and the other hollerdays if we could condense the crap out of them.
That’s not going to happen.
But because I don’t want my daughters to know I’m a mean, hate-filled misanthrope until they start dating boys, I’m going to try and focus on the positive. Here’s a short list key dates that’ll help me get through this annual unwelcome spread of enforced good cheer when mostly everyday I’ll feel like telling the good-will-toward-men crowd to just buzz the hell off.
• Nov. 1 -- Happy April Fool’s Day in November! I invented this holiday and I’m already looking forward to the malicious fun I can spread on Sunday. If we can have Christmas in July -- we do and it’s superior -- there’s nothing that say we can’t have April Fool’s Day in November. Enjoy!
• Nov. 25 -- It’s the night before Thanksgiving and that can only mean one thing: “3rd Rock From The Sun’s” Thanksgiving episode. I have the DVD for every episode of this hilarious show. Every night before Thanksgiving we watch the episode about how the aliens learn about Thanksgiving. It’s pure genius.
• Nov. 26. -- This day starts with the traditional playing of Ray Davies’s 2006 song, “Thanksgiving Day.” It tries hard to be cynical, but gives in to the sentiment of the one holiday that doesn’t have something infuriating about it (if you can avoid all the in-laws).
• Dec. 9 -- It’s Val’s birthday. Yes, it’s inconvenient for me having it smack dab in the middle of the sprawlidays -- and I suspect her parents planned it that way to add diabolical havoc to my already frantic calendar. But we always enjoy a nice meal out and it’s fun to give her the special treatment of which she is so deserving. Plus she usually goes to spend one day with her dad and takes the kids, an event I’m excused from attending that was addressed in numerous negotiated peace treaties.
• Dec. 18 -- I turn off the computer for the week and turn my office above the bar into a community wrapping station. Anyone can come in and we can wrap gifts together, drink beer and swap complaints about the holidays. This is the third year I’ll give my friends this option. If this year just one of them accepts my hospitality, he’ll be the first.
• Dec. 19 -- My Mom’s birthday. See what I have to go through? But she, too, is deserving of special treatment. Happily, her idea of a special day is us dumping the kids on her while we go out to dinner and movie. A Christmas miracle.
• Jan. 2. -- The day when we can all look forward to a string of pressure-free holidays like President’s Day and Groundhog Day. My friend/bartender/office landlord Dave and I invented this one. We celebrate it by not acknowledging it even exists.
Until then, I’m going to scrape by each day relishing the daily barrage of news involving Jon & Kate. God help me, I still can’t get enough of it. I read every word.
Now, that’s scary.