Treating others with respect should be the Halloween spirit
Halloween is a fun time for most folks. I enjoy the occasion, anyway, and sometimes dress up in the spirit of the season. This year, I wore an old, ratty robe and house shoes and put curlers in my hair. If I’d been a little more brave, I would have just thrown on the robe and come to work straight out of bed, but I figured that would be a little too scary.
It’s a hoot to see the costumes my oddball coworkers devise. Weekend Editor Steve Wildsmith is always entertaining. This year, his getup was a more elaborate version on the zombie he created last year. The wounds on his arms, the rotting flesh of his face and the intestines and stomach hanging outside his body — consisting of bubble wrap wrapped in clear plastic as well as a plastic bag full of red-tinged water and body parts from a dismembered doll — were gruesome enough to earn him first place in the annual office Halloween contest. It was quite remarkable, most deserving of first place. Biker Babe took second place, and three friends who coordinated as Rock, Paper, Scissors brought up third. It was interesting, to say the least.
Seeing the grandchildren and the other children I have “adopted” stop by for tricks or treats is always a treat for me, but this year, they didn’t get treats from Mamaw. Last Halloween, I bought candy to have on hand at work for the little ghouls and ghosts but ended up eating most of it myself and then having to buy more. This year, I decided the temptation was too great and bought none at all. The little ones were very understanding. Spaceman Evan said that was OK, he was going to get candy after dark. My sweet little honey bee Ezra said the same. My grandchildren by birth, Smokey Dog Seth and Little Mermaid Ellie, plus adopted grandchildren, Dead Princess Aryanna and A.J. the Ninja, were also understanding. That they were on the way to a Halloween party where lots of candy had been promised certainly helped.
Unfortunately, there have been some tricks played on friends recently, hurtful tricks. For example, one friend who is disabled with a disease that affects his muscles and robs him of the use of his legs posted on Facebook last week about a Sunday trip to buy groceries with his wife. He can occasionally maneuver without crutches, but the cooler weather makes his condition worse and even the crutches are not adequate when he must be out and about. Taking the wheelchair was too cumbersome, so he decided to use one of the motorized scooters at the store.
Here is what he said: “It could have been me, or maybe even the weather, but talk about some people with a bad attitude. There was only one person that returned my smile, and that was a young lady that worked at the store. It was bad enough that at one point I was coming to the end of an aisle at the same time an older man came around the corner. He was wearing a suit so I am just guessing where he just came from. I stopped and smiled and hit the reverse lever. He looked at me like I was nothing more than a yesterday’s newspaper. Not even a hint of a smile. At that point (my wife) told me that she thought that they were looking at me like I was just a lazy guy wanting to play around on the scooter. She was just a tad ticked off. But it was bad enough for her to notice. But I think I have it figured out. If I have to use one of the carts again, I will look like I am really depressed, twitch every now and again. That way they will know I am not playing.”
This is probably the scariest post-Halloween story I can share today. That people would show such a lack of compassion, a lack of common human decency to another human being, makes me ill. Would it hurt to smile at someone? To say hi? To ask if they might need a hand to reach something?
Halloween is over. The candy has likely been consumed and forgotten by now. The “trick,” on the other hand — that’s something not so easily forgotten. And perhaps it shouldn’t be.
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times. Her column runs every Sunday in the Life section. You may contact her at 981-1168 or (email@example.com)