Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Hairy Toe

I love this story so much, and was so inspired by the unnamed girl who told it in the YouTube clip I posted recently, that..............

I told it at Toscanini's in Central Square, for MassMouth's third MouthOff!

Hallowe'en is on its way!  All Hallow's Eve, Samhain, All Saints, The Celtic New Year, Tout-Saints, whatever you want to call it, it's my favorite holiday of the year.  Sure, I love Three Musketeers bars and wearing costumes as much as the next person, but Hallowe'en is about more than just free candy and the chance to wear a wacky outfit in public (I live in Cambridge, Mass. for crying out loud; people dress oddly here all year round!).

Hallowe'en offers us the opportunity to hear and tell scary stories.  The ones that bother us, make us jump, and otherwise provoke unusual reactions.  Our relationship to these creepy tales is ambivalent; monsters and ghosts are scary, but being afraid can feel almost delicious under the right circumstances.  I find that the following equation is virtually foolproof:

cozy couch + purring cat + hot cider + scary story = marvelous fun

I've found that reading, hearing and telling scary stories can help us to recognize that our fears provide us with common ground; we may not agree with each other about politics, or how to solve world hunger, but we can all agree that Dracula, Mega Sharks, and Zombies are very, very scary.  The things that frighten us all can bring us back in touch with our common human vulnerabilities.  And sometimes they can help us to laugh at ourselves just a little bit.


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