Friday night I carved pumpkins at Dianne's house. My children would gasp in amazement that I took part in such an elaborate and pointless ceremony, (that doesn't end in a new step-dad) which in their pumpkin carving years was simplified to:
"We just need to get these things open and scoop out the seeds. Use the big knives, its faster."
"But our friends make Jack O'Lanterns," they'd whine.
"Your friends go to bed at eight and aren't allowed to call eachother 'Shitheal'." I would remind them,
"Anyway, it's scarier to have a pumpkin full of stab wounds, orange entrails spilling out of harsh shapes cut in desperation to get at the insides….That is the point, right? And its scary especially when you tell your friends tomorrow that the seeds are all you had for dinner. Dressing in that hokey pirate costume Grandma bought won't frighten your teacher nearly as much as this polaroid of you and your sister foraging through roasted orange muck for sustenance at a table that clearly hasn't seen 'dinner' since the 40's…make sure to hold up your bloody hand wrapped in the sock-bandage, Cienna…"
Other families would watch The Peanuts Halloween special, but we'd watch Forensic Files or flip through my dad's old Homicide Investigation text books.
"You want scary? Take a look at this family from Michigan and how they spent Halloween – hacked up and stuffed in a freezer! Next to POPCICLES! God, who'd want their head to be found and photographed next to a really cheap confection?"
I love my children and their happiness, of course, means everything to me. Most people want their kids to be happy, and that is defined, often, by some monetarally-scaled equivalent of successful. For me it's always been most important that they can laugh. I want my children to be funny. And Funny is the youngest, prettiest, best loved child of Fucked Up. You don't get to be funny watching cartoons and living the middle class dream in your two-parent household with lots of rules and an emotional flat line that sort of peaks around prime time. I'm probably just justifying how I like to live though. BUT, goddamn, my kids are funny. AND they can both COOK, thank god.
Carving pumpkins at Dianne's was actually fun. Her son is funny. He said, at one point,
"I didn't think I'd ever meet someone who was worse at this than me!"
Too bad he hasn't met Carlos and Cienna yet. They really suck.