>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 56 – November 2, 2003

Now Playing: “The First Cut is the Deepest” by Sheryl Crow

Happy Halloween! Now that we've dispensed with the formalities, I just wanted to say a few words on the subject of email. I get a lot of it. Maybe you don't believe me, but I do. I read each and every letter that's sent to me, including the kind and wonderful letters from generous Nigerians who have selected me, and only me, to share their fortunes with. But I just can't answer all of it. I appreciate the letters you send, I do, so if you don't get a reply, don't assume it's because I hate you. Assume it's because I don't want to talk to you. Here's what happened:

-Have you ever been put in the extremely awkward situation of having to introduce two people who have the same name? As in: “Vanessa, meet Vanessa” or “Eugene, this is Eugene. Nice to meet you Eugene. Eugene was it? Yes, Eugene.” It's really hard, and there's no way to do it without looking like an idiot. Especially if you get the names wrong.

-If you rounded up all the people in the world who currently owe me money for beer, and put them end to end along the equator, you'd probably make a line long enough to go around the world twice. Except for all the people who would drown in oceans or get some weird disease in Africa, like ‘Dengue'. That idiom really doesn't make very much sense, when I think about it.

-Let me try again: If you rounded up all the people in the world who currently owe me money, and put them end to end, you'd get halfway to Jupiter. That is, of course, assuming that you could somehow launch these freeloaders out of the Earth's orbit, which I personally wouldn't mind one bit. Maybe they'd burn up when they hit the ionosphere. These cliches are really stupid.

-The city of Victoria only permits the sale of fireworks around holidays, like Halloween. So as I'm writing this, all around me I can hear hundreds of Roman Candles going off. There's also a lot of yelling and screaming (“Fire in the hole!”) and off in the distance is the audible and unmistakable sound of police and ambulance sirens. I can't tell if it's Halloween or D-Day.

-Laws of Nature You Don't Learn in School: The weather on Halloween is inversely proportional to the appropriateness of your costume. If you're going as an Inuit, it will be so hot outside you won't be able to wear your parka for more than five minutes. If you're going as a stripper, it'll be so cold you'll probably catch hypothermia. Hell, it might even snow. And if you're dressed as an Inuit stripper, you can bet your ass you'll end up at a party where you're the only one wearing a costume. At least you'll be warm.

-I like how holiday-themed movies never come out anywhere near the holidays they're supposed to emulate. “Scary Movie 3” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” have been in theatres for about a month. People have been downloading them for months before that. Eddie Murphy's “Haunted Mansion” is coming out sometime after Christmas. I'm not saying I'd watch any of these movies anyway, but if they came out on Halloween at least there'd be a chance. I'll just go see “Kill Bill” again.

-I ALSO like how bars jack up their cover charges on Halloween. It's not like there's anything different about the bar, except everyone's in costume. That's not worth $20 to me. They still play the same crappy Top-40 “hip-hop”-style music, like 50 Cent. Except now every five songs they also play Michael Jackson's “Thriller”. And then there are SOME bars that make you buy tickets in ADVANCE, like they're planning a big exclusive party and only the elite will be attending. And people are willing to KILL to get some of these advance tickets. I wouldn't go even if 50 Cent and Michael Jackson were there in person. Unless I was promised a shootout.

-Quote of the Moment: The best part about these advance tickets to a bar is the fact that nobody is really sure how to get them. It's this big intense secret, presumably to keep me from getting a ticket and then ruining the evening with my mere presence. I asked how I would, hypothetically, go about getting a ticket and was answered: “Well, I'm getting mine through a friend of mine who's roommate's sister knows someone in one of her classes that's selling them. But I can only get one for me. Sorry.” Look, if you don't want me to go, just say so. It's probably easier to get my hands on nuclear launch codes.

-Halloween is a strange holiday. When you're really little, your parents make you dress up and go trick-or-treating. Then you get a bit older and you dress up just so you can get the candy. Then you get a little bit older and you decide you're too cool to dress up, and you're willing to not have candy. Then you get to college and you want to dress up again, only this time it's an excuse to drink beer and be really, really cold. I miss candy.

-And, finally, I went to buy a pack of cigarettes and got a huge lecture on how I'm a terrible person and I'm poisoning myself and blah blah freaking blah. Someone told me that tobacco is just as addictive as cocaine. I was like: “So what? Cocaine is a lot harder to get. With cigarettes, I don't go through withdrawal. I just go to the gas station.”