Saturday, November 1, 2014

All Saints' Day (or, Halloween: The Recap).

It was a lousy Halloween. And I don't say that because the kids cleaned us out of candy. I say that because there were hardly any kids and I got stuck with all kinds of candy.

What's the matter with you, kids? Have you no sense of decency? Do you really want to see poor Mr. Key get fatter and lose all his teeth? Do you? Where's the love of community? Where's the support for your local novelist?

It was a bit cold, almost Decembery weather, and then around seven it started to rain. Just a little; just enough. That seemed to put the kibosh on it. Normally we get hit late by teenagers costumed as teenagers wearing hoodies and carrying Mom's spare pillowcases, but even though it was a Friday night, they apparently found better things to do than run around in cold rain and try to hit as many houses as possible before town curfew. Loser teenagers! We saved the better stuff for last, you know!

On this All Saints' Day, surrounded by leftover candy I overbought, haunted by my resentment about being invited to a Halloween party (which I complained about like King Baby the other day), it's pretty clear that the obvious sins of pride, anger, and gluttony are going to keep me from being a saint if nothing else. The lack of any notable good deeds might also have an effect on the decision. No, relics of Fred are never going to cure anyone's blindness, stop anyone's hemorrhage, or get you past the driver's exam. On the other hand, that means people won't be ringing the bell asking for bits of my bones. So there's an upside.

Peter, Paul: Great saints, unpopular Halloween costumes.
Halloween/All Saints' Day does over two days what Christmas does all by itself: provide a popular children's holiday and a day you have to go and be sullen in church. (Relax; when All Saints' Day falls on a Saturday, like this year, or a Monday, the obligation is abrogated.) (Meaning, you don't have to go.) On one hand there's the candy and costumes; on the other there's sitting in an uncomfortable pew, focusing on people who are much better than you would ever want to be. Which is more popular, again? Western culture has taken solemn and important holy days, made them more palatable for children by adding fun traditions and foods, and blown up the children's side to titanic portions while jettisoning the rest.

Once again we are forced to confront our national refusal to grow up---except that you have to have grown up a little for the argument to have any impact. Otherwise you just roll over and have another Snickers.

As for me, I take my responsibility as a churchman seriously, but someone has to eat all this candy, you know. It's not going to eat itself. Other things may, but not candy.

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