Bruce Arians And Chuck Pagano To The Browns?

I’m a Colts fan but when Peyton Manning went to Denver, I also became a Broncos fan until the day he left.  I loved that dude, so my fandom would follow him wherever he played.  The same principle applies here.  If these two guys pair back up to coach the Browns…I’m all in!

Bruce Arians provided color commentary for CBS in the Chiefs win over the Browns last Sunday.  During a break Arians was asked by the Canton Repository if he would consider being a head coach again.  His response was “Cleveland is the only job I would consider.”  Then he went on to say that if he got that job, Chuck Pagano would be his choice for Defensive Coordinator.  Holy Shit!!!  Is this possible?!

I have to think as soon as GM John Dorsey read this, phone calls were made.  Colts fans loved these guys when they were together here.  I think the only problem was, most of us would’ve preferred Arians as the head coach and Pagano as defensive coordinator.  In 2012, this duo led the Colts, who were 2-14 the year before, to a record of 11-5.  That’s the year Pagano was battling Leukemia and had to turn the reins over to Arians in week 5.  We were 2-2 at that point and under Arians, went 9-3.  Many of us think Chuck Pagano was a bit conservative and that Arians’ “let it eat” attitude better suited an offense led by Andrew Luck.

The Ravens defense was 3rd overall when Pagano was there and after the Colts fired him, it looked like the Ravens were very interested in bringing Pagano back.

Obviously, he didn’t become the defensive coordinator for the Ravens.  I couldn’t find a report that explained why.  Maybe it’s because the Colts’ defense finished 30th in the last two years that Pagano was head coach.  But the Ravens knew that before they reached out to him so I’m going to put my detective hat back on say it’s more likely that he told them he wasn’t interested.  If that’s the case, it’s possible he just wasn’t ready to jump back in the game yet and wanted to take some time off to spend with his family.

But what if he and Bruce Arians, who had just retired as head coach of the Cardinals, met for drinks and discussed what the future would hold for each of them?  Neither of these guys are starving, so if they wanted to return to coaching they could each afford to wait for the right opportunity to come along.  Even a schmuck like me was aware that if Cleveland didn’t turn things around this year, Hue Jackson was getting the boot.  So, let’s assume both these former head coaches were aware of that as well.  

So, when you add that to the fact that Bruce Arians just announced his desire to take over as head coach at Cleveland and to bring Pagano with him…it’s not unreasonable to assume that he had communicated that information to Pagano before he leaked it to the press.  

Now, Hue Jackson is gone and the Browns will have to make a decision for next year.  If they decide to go with an experienced head coach that has a proven track record and a talent for getting the most out of a quarterbacks that are #1 draft picks…I’d say Bruce Arians and Chuck Pagano are in a pretty good spot.


Floyd Mayweather Signs MMA Fight In Japan

Well, I never thought I’d see this day.  I was convinced Mayweather had found a way to continue to lure top MMA fighters into boxing him so he ride out the rest of his career with huge paydays and easy fights.  But Mayweather just signed on to fight a 20-year-old Japanese kickboxing sensation.  This time he’s going to throw himself into his opponent’s game right?  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The fight is sanctioned under an MMA organization in Japan but everyone so far, including Mayweather, has made it very clear that the rules haven’t been set yet.  Big eye roll moment here.

This is just my gut talking but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Floyd isn’t going all the way to Japan just to get his head kicked in.  When they do finally announce the rules, I’m fully expecting the first 2 to be No Kicking and No Takedowns.  I’m guessing the only MMA concession he’s going to make is wearing smaller gloves.  Which isn’t much of a concession if you know you’re the only guy that’s going to land a punch.

I’m eager to see what happens.


SNL Mocks Wounded War Hero

Saturday Night Live has always pushed the envelope pretty hard but they might’ve really stepped in it this time.

Comedian and SNL cast member Pete Davidson’s dad was killed in the 9/11 attack on The World Trade Center.  Former Navy Seal Dan Crenshaw lost his eye in an IED blast in Afghanistan while fighting the War on Terror.  The Irony is deep, the joke was shallow and the backlash is unforgiving.

As a comedian, I’m usually the first to defend comedy against the PC crusaders of today, but this is different.  Being a war hero doesn’t mean you should be exempt from getting roasted on a show like SNL.  

John McCain was a war hero, but as a politician he did and said some things that made him a worthy target on SNL.  I enjoyed Darrell Hammond’s portrayal of him but there was a huge difference between that and what happened last Saturday.

First of all, the Darryl Hammond sketches were funny.  They were funny because they were well-written and focused on what was funny about John McCain as a politician.  Hammond and the writers exaggerated McCain’s hard-nosed, war-hardened way of calling things exactly as he saw them with little regard for tact or sugar-coating.  This is a recipe for good comedy.  Identify what’s funny about a person and then exaggerate it 1000% for the audience. 

Secondly, its important to note that the thing that’s funny about someone is always relatively harmless.  It’s never tragic or sad because that’s not how funny works.  Hitler’s mustache is funny.  The rest of Hitler is not.  Lesson over.

Hammond’s team understood how funny works.  His sketches were tasteful enough and so well done, that even John McCain himself, could appreciate the humor in them.  In fact, he appreciated them enough that he made an appearance on SNL after Hammond’s sketches aired.

Pete Davidson and whoever helped write The Weekend Update segment on Dan Crenshaw did a poor and, dare I say, lazy job of identifying what’s funny about the GOP candidate.   Davidson said, “You may be surprised to hear he’s a Congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie.”  I’ve seen a lot of porno movies and there aren’t enough of them that feature hit men for there to be a stereotype.  Therefore, our brain’s can’t produce the mental image of the porno movie hit man quickly enough to cause the “recognition laugh” jokes like this rely on.  That’s bad science.  Bond villain works better.  It’s still lazy writing but at least it’s a recognizable stereotype, so it works.  Just putting “porno movie” after it isn’t enough to make it funny.

Bad or lazy writing isn’t the only problem here though.  Dan Crenshaw was a Navy Seal who wears an eye patch because he lost his eye in combat!  He was serving our country and was seriously injured when an IED exploded!  And Pete Davidson makes light of that by saying, “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever” while he laughs at himself like a 12-year-old boy who just said, “shit” in front of his parents for the first time!  Are you fucking kidding me?!

Our country has far too many combat vets that are disfigured or disabled from IED blasts and reminding people of that fact is going to kill the best of jokes that were written with the best of intentions.  Do it in a bad joke that’s smothered in juvenile cynicism and anti-patriotic overtones…and this is what you get.  Public outrage.

Listen, I recognize that SNL is a shell of what it once was.  It’s impossible for them to pull the talent they used to because Comedians, improvisors and comedy writers of today, have so many other media platforms that pay better than SNL.  I get that.  But not being funny is one thing.  Lots of TV shows aren’t funny.  Not possessing the capacity to recognize this sketch was going to be a problem…that’s a whole other thing.  That’s a Roseanne thing.  Even worse!

Roseanne was the sole author of a single tweet.  Pete Davidson’s segment had to make it out of a writing room full of writers, get approved by a chain of command and then everyone, including Lorne Michaels, watched it in rehearsal all week.  And it still made it on the show!  That means the entire culture of that show is a problem.  Which is sad because I used to be a huge fan.

The outrage and disgust SNL and Pete Davidson are receiving for this is completely warranted.  It was a bad joke written with bad intentions, that wouldn’t have been funny about anyone, let alone a war hero that was wounded in action.   So, let’s not lump this in with the conversation about how the snowflake generation’s political correctness crusade is hurting comedy, because that’s another blog.


Liddell vs. Ortiz 3: Does Anyone Care?

MMA fans went crazy in 2004 when these two legendary UFC rivals first faced-off in the octagon.  They went even crazier when they had their rematch in 2006…

Now, Golden Boy Promotions is promoting Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 as The Trilogy.  Technically, yes…it’s the third fight so it’s The Trilogy but those other two fights were a long ass time ago.  12 years to be exact.  12 fighter years.  That’s like 80 in human years.  So, The Trilogy is misleading to me.  In my mind, The Trilogy is synonymous with Grand Finale, which this is definitely not.  They should call it The Third Fight That Doesn’t Mean Shit.  It’s more accurate…but I get that it’s wordy.

So, why is Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions making this fight happen?  Does anyone care?  These guys fought twice while in their prime.  Liddell knocked Ortiz out in their first matchup and won by TKO stoppage in the second.  So, Liddell goes down in history as the better fighter.  That’s how fighting has always worked.  But now in an era where Viagra helps old men think they’re not old and the Internet helps the ridiculous make more money than the legitimate, the rules have changed.

UFC President Dana White, who also happens to be a close, personal friend of Chuck Liddell, begged him to retire from the UFC in 2010 after tarnishing his legacy and risking his future well-being by taking cringe-worthy beatings in 5 of his last 6 fights.  He just wasn’t physically able to compete at the top level anymore and he was too far into his career to suppress his instinct to stand toe-to-toe and bang.  That’s a recipe for disaster for a fighter well past his prime and White knew that over 10 years ago.

Now, De La Hoya and company are putting him back in the cage to battle a 43-year-old Tito Ortiz for the third time.  A 43-year-old Ortiz who’s still competitive by the way.  He beat Chael Sonnen in Bellator 170 in January of last year by rear-naked choke in the first round.  Granted, Chael Sonnen isn’t what he once was either, but he’s definitely no walk in the park.  Couple that with the fact Liddell hasn’t fought anyone in over a decade and it’s clear to see that the deck is stacked against The Iceman.

Tito Ortiz submits Chael Sonnen in the first round at Bellator 170 in January 2017

So, let’s go back to my initial two questions.  Why is this fight happening?  Does anyone care?  Unfortunately, the answer to the second question also answers the first.  Yes, people do care.  Enough people to make Golden Boy Promotions a lot of money via PPV and to ensure both Liddell and Ortiz more money than they have ever received for a single fight in their career.  That being said, I feel too many people care for the wrong reasons.  No one that purchases this fight wants to see Ortiz win.  That sucks for him but that’s the fuel that powers this crazy train to Disaster Town.  A large majority of old school fans will order this fight because they want nothing more than to relive one more night of Chuck Liddell greatness and there’s no one else they’d rather see take the brunt of that, than The Huntington Beach Bad Boy.  THAT’S THE FANTASY!  But what’s the reality?

Liddell dies?  Not likely, but…  Liddell suffers permanent brain damage?  Possibly.  Liddell loses in embarrassing fashion?  Probably.  But none of this matters.  “The Iceman Cometh” is the bumper sticker of far too many old Chuck Liddell fans; and their belief in his successful return to the sport, despite its lunacy, is unwavering.

Earlier, I blamed Viagra and the Internet for this fight happening and I do believe each plays a role, but mostly I blame Sylvester Stallone.  We all loved watching a 60-year-old Rocky Balboa step back in the ring to achieve greatness one last time.  Unfortunately, for Chuck Liddell and everyone that loves him, this is real life.  And unlike Stallone’s movies, real life doesn’t always have a happy ending.

Sylvester Stallone, if you read this before it’s too late, Chuck needs money.  Please cast him in The Expendables 4 so he can cancel this stupid fucking fight and ride out retirement as the badass we remember.


Alec Baldwin Roundhouses Dude Over Parking Spot

We’ve all had occasion to wait patiently for a parking spot to open; only to have it stolen by some asshole, void of courtesy because his parents didn’t love him enough to teach him the word no.  Then we watch as he hurriedly exits his car, staring down at the ground as if he doesn’t notice you’re there.  We all want to get out of our car and smack the piss out of that dude.  We all want to teach him the lesson his parents failed to.  To stand over his defenseless body and say, “Quit being a dickhead!  The world ain’t all about you!”

But we don’t do that.  We give them a little horn action, hold up the middle finger and drive off like a civilized member of society.

We can’t afford to go to jail, we can’t afford a lawsuit, we can’t afford to get our ass kicked in the middle of the street, let’s face it…we can’t afford a lot of things that Alec Baldwin can evidently afford.  This dude is a great actor and I love him in nearly every movie he’s been in.  From drama to comedy, he can do it all.  

But off screen he just seems like the worst prick to ever put on pants.  Going off on airline staff for no reason, taking swings at photographers, refusing to show identification to the police when he gets stopped, leaving horrible voicemails to his 12-year-old daughter, now he punches a guy who took his parking spot…when does it end?  

Hey Alec Baldwin, we get that you have an amazing TV and Film career, we get that you’re super rich, we get that you’re friends with Jerry Seinfeld…but, that doesn’t mean you’re more important than the rest of us.   So, stop being a dickhead.  The world ain’t all about you.  


Whitey Bulger’s Dead And I Never Got To Thank Him

Infamous Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was killed just a week after his transfer to a federal prison in West Virginia, at the age of 89.

Killed might be an understatement.  Inmates, most likely hired by the mafia, put padlocks in pillow cases and turned his head inside out.  They also gouged out his eyeballs and nearly cut out his tongue.  Graphic right?  Yeah, because he deserved it!  I’m not pulling punches in this blog because, for scumbags like Whitey Bulger, there’s no sweeter justice than prison justice.  Even at 89, no one feels sorry for this dude.  You reap what you sew.

Not only did he run one of the most violent criminal organizations in our nation’s history; poisoning the streets where he grew up with drugs, robbing the hard-working people that lived there and littering the historic landscape of South Boston with the bodies of those who got in his way…he’s also to blame for the shittiest mob movie ever made.

Bulger’s life story was the basis for the movie Black Mass.  A real snooze-fest that starred Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger.  I’m not sure if the movie was as bad as I remember or if I was just so distracted by Depp’s creepy bald-cap and colored contact lenses, that I couldn’t focus on what was happening.  Is he a vampire or a gangster?!  Make up your mind because it’s freaking me out!

Bulger wasn’t just a ruthless psychopath who birthed a movie turd, he was also a rat!  Yup.  While doing everything I mentioned above, he ran with impunity for 17 years because he was an informant for a dirty FBI agent who kept Bulger off the law enforcement radar so he could feed the FBI information on rival drug dealers and mafia figures.  This dude had the moral compass of tiger shark.

Whitey Bulger was one of the worst, most evil human beings to ever walk our planet and now he’s dead and I never got the chance to thank him.  If I could meet him in person, I would look him straight in his soul-less eyes and say, “Thank you.  Thank you for being who you were.”

It’s true, but let me explain.  I’m one of the biggest UFC fans in the world and Whitey Bulger is a big reason why the UFC is where it’s at today.

This is where UFC fans say, “Fuck you!  Dana White made the UFC what it is today!”  Yes, this is true.  Dana White convinced the Fertitta brothers to buy the UFC in 2001 and then, as president and equity partner, used his genius to re-invent the dying organization and turn it into the $4 billion dollar company it is today.  This only happened because Dana White got involved with the UFC and the Fertitta brothers while living and working in Las Vegas.  And he was only in Las Vegas because he had to flee South Boston because Whitey Bulger was going to have him whacked.

Sounds fucking crazy, right?!  Dana White has gone on record with the fact that he was making his living by running a boxing gym for at-risk youth in South Boston during Bulger’s reign.  At that time, if you wanted to run a business in that neighborhood, you had to pay tax to Whitey Bulger.  So eventually, Bulger sent his right-hand man and enforcer, Kevin Weeks, to White’s gym to collect.

Weeks informed White that he owed them $2500.  White informed him he didn’t have it.  Weeks informed him that he better get it.  This went on for a few weeks until finally, White received a phone call from Weeks who stated that he had until noon the next day to pay up.  So, White immediately packed up his shit, moved to Las Vegas and never looked back.

So Whitey, if you can hear me down there, thank you.  Thank you for making Dana White flee, in fear for his life, to Las Vegas where fate awaited his brilliance, so he could save the UFC and build it into the juggernaut of an organization it is today.  You inadvertently helped rescue the sport of MMA from obscurity and bring it to the mainstream all because you were willing to kill a dude, that was just trying to keep troubled kids off the street, for a lousy $2500.  I hope you enjoy burning in hell half as much as I enjoy watching the UFC.


Will Ferrell’s Home Invasion

If you want to win an election for Governor of Georgia, you don’t need to spend a bunch of money on political attack ads against your opponent.  All you need is the most beloved celebrity in the history of celebrity to campaign for you door-to-door.

Will Ferrell went Old School in support of Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams by knocking on doors to encourage people to vote early.  Next to maybe Jesus, is there anyone better to have in your corner?  

In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I’d choose Ferrell over Jesus.  When you’re Jesus it’s hard not to bring religion into the mix, so why risk that.  Everyone loves Will Ferrell!  “Darlene, who’s at the damn door?!  Oh my God!  It’s Ricky Bobby!!!”  Score two votes from a couple that’s never voted before.

I usually lean Republican but I’d vote Marxist if it got me a selfie with Will Ferrell.  I don’t know Stacey Abrams and I don’t know her politics but I love me some Will Ferrell.  I’m not assuming the fine people of Georgia are as shallow as I am, but if I was a betting man I’d take Abrams at +100.  By the way, she’s the only candidate that’s not opposing sports betting legislation.  I looked it up.


UFC Star Has Worst Day

UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar just had, what could be considered, his worst day ever.  He got blackout drunk and his brain did what blackout brains do.  It kicked right into autopilot and set a course for home.  I’m not proud of it but I’ve been there myself.  Your brain means well but the problem with kicking into autopilot is…there’s no captain.  Autopilot is a computer.  It doesn’t know what to do when a flock of geese gets sucked into the engine.  You need Sully for that shit.

I’m not defending Stephan Bonnar.  He got blacked out drunk, got behind the wheel of a car, drove like a maniac until finally pulling over to pass out and resisted arrest when police tried to wake him.  Thank God, for everyone involved, no one was injured or killed.  I do, however, feel bad for him.  He will deservedly be punished and I’m certain his personal and professional life will suffer.  There’s no doubt in my mind if he were still in control of his actions, none of this would’ve happened.  So, I feel bad for what he’s going through right now and will continue to go through as he deals with the consequences of his actions.

I’m guessing that was Stephan Bonnar’s worst day.  I’m guessing his best day was the historic night he fought that epic battle against Forrest Griffin in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 1.  That fight did more for the UFC than any other fight in the organization’s history.  Despite losing a close decision to Griffin, Bonnar was also rewarded a UFC contract and went on to have a career worthy of entrance into the UFC Hall of Fame.  

Bonnar has never been one to count out in a fight.  If he got knocked down, he got back up and kept swinging.  So, let’s not count him out now.  He got knocked down but let’s assume he’ll get back up.  When I got my DUI I wasn’t famous like Bonnar, but I was a cop.  I was a role model for some and I was certainly expected to obey the law and behave in a responsible manner deserving of my position.  I was working undercover at the time and going through a divorce.  Pretending to be a scumbag everyday while trying to deal with a miserable situation at home had me in a bad spot and that night it all came to a head and I had my worst day.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and I was able to get back up and start swinging again.  It took a while to earn back the respect I had lost but I didn’t give up and worked at it every day until that day eventually faded from a defining moment to just a footnote.  I don’t know what led Bonnar to this moment but as a fan, and as someone who’s gone through what he’s going through now, I wish him the very best and hope he handles himself appropriately from here.  If I could give him any advice it would be this.  It’s not your worst day that defines you.  It’s what you do after your worst day, that defines you.  So, get up brother.  Keep swinging.


Mayweather Finds Fountain of Youth

I’m not sure any athlete in the world has ever sat in a better position than Floyd Mayweather sits right now.  He’s 41, which is usually well past the retirement age of most athletes in his sport, yet he’s still boxing, he’s still undefeated and according to Forbes he’s currently the highest paid athlete in the world.  Mayweather grossed $275 million for his fight against UFC Champion Conor McGregor and has made $10 million in endorsements this year.

Mayweather dominated this fight, stopping an exhausted McGregor in the 10th round, which brought his record to an astonishing 50-0.  Ordinarily, I would say at 41 years old, a boxer who’s 50-0 should think about proudly riding off into the sunset.  However, Floyd Mayweather has found the boxing equivalent of the fountain of youth.  I mentioned earlier that his last fight was the highest grossing fight of his career and it wasn’t even against a boxer!  McGregor was the best standup fighter the UFC had to offer and Mayweather barely broke a sweat.  He was about as threatening as a gym pro thrown in the ring to help Mayweather work on his conditioning.  Say what you will about Floyd Mayweather, but he is a GENIUS!

The UFC has finally reached a level where an amazing mixed martial artist with a magnetic personality and poetic style of trash talk, can blow up to be a social media monster.  Conor McGregor, in my opinion, is the first mixed martial artist to become bigger than the sport and that’s a great thing for the UFC.  There is an argument that Brock Lesnar came first and he was bigger than the UFC.  This is true but that’s the because Brock came from the WWE which is bigger than everything.  Conor came in a nobody.

So, what’s good for the UFC is good for the fighters, right?  The bigger the sport gets, the more fighters make, right?  Well, not necessarily.  The UFC model has always been one that only rewards fighters at the very top of the sport.  But even the top fighters aren’t getting crazy rich.  McGregor was paid $3 million for fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov for the Lightweight Championship and Khabib was paid $2 million.  If you think someone of McGregor’s fame deserves more than $3 million a fight, you’re not alone.

I agree with you, but more importantly, Conor McGregor agrees with you which brings us back to Floyd Mayweather being a genius.  Mayweather and his people made a deal with McGregor which guaranteed him $30 million (and rumored to have grossed $100 million) to box Mayweather.  We all know how that ended.  Mayweather embarrassed McGregor and finished him early with very little effort.  This is not a slam on McGregor.  On the street, McGregor kills Mayweather.  In a MMA fight, McGregor kills Mayweather.  But MMA is not boxing and Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers to ever live.  He’s been boxing since he could walk.  To become a boxer of Floyd Mayweather’s caliber takes a lifetime.  I don’t care how well or hard you train, no MMA fighter on the planet is going to get there in 8 months.

But the good thing for everyone involved is, this doesn’t matter.  Most MMA fans hate boxers and most boxing fans hate MMA fighters; so when the two fan bases came together to watch what would happen if the best UFC fighter fought the best boxer, it produced monster Pay-per-view numbers.

As we waited patiently to see if there would be a rematch, McGregor returned to the UFC and loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, handedly, which put a bit of a damper on Mayweather vs. McGregor 2.  So, what did Mayweather do?  He publicly offered up a fight against Khabib.  Keep in mind that Khabib is a grappler and beat Conor in the same way he beats everyone, by grappling.  Khabib is no where near the standup fighter that McGregor is.  Even with this being the case, Mayweather claims his fight with Khabib will gross even more than his fight with McGregor.  And at this point, who would doubt him?

Floyd Mayweather has indeed found the fountain of youth.  At what should be the tail end of his boxing career, he finds a way to extend his career another 10 years and make more money than ever.  Boxing guys that aren’t boxers!   Did I mention yet that he’s a genius?  


I Hate Halloween

Every year I see other adults plan their Halloween costumes 2-3 months in advance with the same enthusiasm a young bride-to-be has when she shops for her first wedding dress.  They sit in their office cubicle scanning Amazon for ideas, they run those ideas by co-workers at lunch, they call their significant other to brainstorm how they can coordinate costumes as a couple…it’s a big fucking deal and I just don’t get it!

I see it every year and I am completely baffled each and every time.  The entire experience, and every emotion associated with it, could not be more foreign to me.  I’m well-liked so I get invited to the same costume parties they do and I truly want, more than anything, to feel the excitement and residual joy they get from preparing for it, but it’s simply not there.  I actually feel the opposite.  As soon as I get the invitation or I hear someone else in my circle mention they got it; which means it’s just a matter of time before I get it, I’m immediately overwhelmed with anxiety.  An anxiety that is easily traced back to my childhood.

So, when I was a kid, we were dirt poor.  My dad always had good jobs but we had a family tragedy that tapped us for several years.  Prioritization was a big thing when it came to spending money during this time and we were on a very tight budget.  I was very young so my priorities didn’t always synch up with my parents’ priorities.  Clothes and shoes were shockingly low on their priority scale.  So, I went to school every day in hand-me-downs from my cousins or donations from some clothing drive.  If I did get something new it came from some discount store that I’m sure has been the target of more than one of my standup bits.  Needless to say, I took a lot of shit from the other kids at school.  A LOT of shit.  The carry-over to today isn’t too bad.  I might have to change clothes 6 or 7 times every time I leave the house, which drives my girlfriend crazy, but other than that…the damage is manageable.

If everyday clothes were that low on the family’s priority list, imagine how low the Halloween costume budget was.  These were clothes that would only be worn once!  Which meant there would be no money spent.  My costumes would be made by hand.  And not just any hand, my mom’s hand.  The least creative mind in the family.  Every Halloween I’d leave the house to join my friends for Trick or Treating knowing that I would be the butt of the joke for the rest of the night.  Like the year I had to go Trick or Treating as my dad after he was shot by a shrink ray.  Yeah, just me…wearing my dad’s work clothes.  The next year, my mom had picked up a part-time job which in my mind meant the Halloween budget was going up.  What it really meant was I went Trick or Treating as a McDonalds employee…that was shot by a shrink ray.

But the following year my mom surprised me and went all out.  This year I got to be a pirate!

I loved pirates!  I wasn’t just any pirate either.  I was Captain Fucking Hook!  The biggest fictional pirate of my childhood!  And when I say she went all out, she went all out!  She had somehow met a woman that made costumes for a local theater group and my mom traded babysitting hours for her to make me a Captain Hook costume.  And it was amazing!  The only thing we were missing was the hook.  Luckily for me, we lived on a farm so my mom took one of those hooks you use to throw hay bails with and made a little leather sleeve to cover my hand so you couldn’t see that I was holding the handle.  It was perfect!  I strutted out of my house to meet my friends for Trick or Treating with a confidence I had never felt before.  I even made fun of one of the other kids for his shitty costume.  I was on top of the world!  The only thing that made it better was one of my friend’s mom was driving us to a new neighborhood.  A neighborhood that was known to be the best candy-giving neighborhood in the area.  And I had the best costume!

We unloaded in the new neighborhood and all 7 of us lined up at the door of the first house.  I intentionally stood at the back of the line because I had the best costume.  I was the closer.  My friend Scotty rang the door bell, I straightened my vest and got my hook set just right, and the door opened.  A woman greeted us with a smile and we all yelled “Trick or Treat!”  Then her husband popped up from behind her to take a look for himself and my eyes went immediately to his prosthetic arm that had one of those grabber hooks at the end and I said to myself “God damn it.”  I slowly let go of the hook in my right hand as I shook it loose from my sleeve and let it fall gently into my candy bag, turned right around and walked my defeated little hookless ass back to the van.

So, I guess when I say I hate Halloween I really mean that I hate having to dress up in costumes.  I like candy and shit but people put a lot of emphasis on the costume thing.  Which makes Halloween the one holiday I could do without.