Classic Comeback – Costume Nostalgia Ep 609
- Kissed by a Nucler Pillow
- Anti-Male Romper Sentiment
- Dissonant Positive Laughter
- Chloris Leachman
- Duck Soup
Notable Talking Points:
- Words on my brain for $500, Alec
- The Misdirection of Being Yourself
- Oh boy, Memory Alert
Episode 1115 – Classic Comeback – Costume Nostalgia Ep 609
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this is a treat with no…the only trick will be keeping you company and taking your mind off of stuff and me getting confused and mixed up, ‘cause it’s time for one of the more popular episodes from Sleep With Me, Halloween pasts. This is a costume nostalgia episode from the 600s, and one I get a lot of feedback about. It’s a little replay so you get a little bit more of corn in your candy or candy in your corn. Now, if you’re new to the podcast and you’re like, what in the name of candy that looks like food that’s not the…what does candy corn look…? It just looks like candy corn. It doesn’t look like corn. I agree with you. If you’re confused by candy corn, raise your hand. Oh, also, if you eat candy corn in sections, please…you don’t have to raise your hand, actually, but I do.
Candy corn; I eat it in sections. When I eat it, which is rare…every few years…candy corn; gotta go get some so I can eat it sectionally. I have two or three-year-old candy corn in my cupboard that’s still not opened, so I’ll be eating that. Section by section, I’ll be keeping you company. Welcome to Sleep With Me, the podcast that’s here to keep you company and take your mind off of stuff so you could get the sleep you need and you deserve. I’m so glad you’re here. I’m so glad I’ll help…get to help keep you company. You deserve a good night’s sleep, so this show we’ll do a little bit of support for the show, then there will be an intro, and then there will be a story. I’m so glad you’re here. Thanks so much for listening, and thanks for making all this possible, my patron peeps.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press Play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake, whether it’s thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, stuff, stuffing recipes, thinking about recipes, recipe cards. I think I’ve said this before; no recipe cards in bed. Maybe on your bedside table in a nice…maybe no binders in bed, either.
I think we’ve talked about these things before, but if you’re new…oh, let me see…let me…yeah, let me do a real intro before I go off on a tangent already. Silly me. What I’m gonna attempt to do is create a safe place where you can set aside whatever’s keeping you awake. I’m gonna try to make you feel welcome, I’m gonna try to earn your trust, my being present here to keep you company. I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night, I’m gonna use these lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, which I already got distracted by. Also, I already forgot what my pointless meander was. Nope, I’m not kidding, either. I think my mom just called right into my brain; she said you’re kidding, right? You didn’t forget that fast?
I said yeah, mom, I did, and I’m afraid I’ll get…if I try to backtrack, I’ll get doubly…double distractions; that’s another way this podcast works. Also mild embarrassment, ‘cause I say…huh, what did I…what was I talking about? That is kind of embarrassing. Alls I can picture is the autumn mooncake, ‘cause I was just having a conversation with someone about autumn mooncakes. So, I know it wasn’t that, but that’s also another thing on my brain. My brain says hey, how about those autumn mooncakes? I said well, I’m trying to do a podcast intro for the new listener, so excuse me, autumn mooncake brain. So if you’re new here, I’m glad you’re here. This is a podcast to take your mind off of stuff, to keep you company while you fall asleep.
Structurally the show starts off with six minutes of business because it’s a sleep podcast. We gotta do that upfront, and that’s how we keep the show free and all our archives free. If you’re new, not a super big deal. If you’re a regular listener, when your hand hits the fridge tomorrow, just remember sleepwithmepodcast.com/sponsors. Then you could say huh, let me choose how I want to support the show. So, there’s six minutes of business upfront, then there’s about a twelve-minute intro which we’re into. Usually they go the same way; I say okay, I’m gonna…here we go, I’m gonna explain exactly what the podcast is in a very comp…not comprehensive way. I was gonna say a word and then I said I don’t think that’s the correct pro…the word that goes E-R-U-I-D-I-T-E or something.
‘Erudite’ may be the word I’m thinking of. There was a…I think there was a game show broadcast coming in…Words on My Brain for $500, Alec. Oh, Alex. I always think it’s Al…it’s Alec, right? Oh, okay. Whichever I say is gonna be wrong. Thanks, Alec…I’ll take Words on My Brain for…autumn…what is a autumn mooncake? No, no, no, Alec, you’re not allowed to ask me what a autumn mooncake is. I have the printout in my kitchen and I received a lot of autumn mooncakes at a recent wedding I went to. Thank you. Next question, Alec. Well, I know I’m not…I know I’m not the host, but this is my own delusion, is it not? Oh, that’s a daily double? Great. A podcast intro for…is that…what is the pod…? So, oh, I didn’t say what is a pod…sorry. I forgot to do that as a question, Alex.
Distraction Inside my Brain for $600. Oh, I forgot; what is I forgot? Do you get to…does that count? Okay, great. Oh, Things Scooter Says A Lot for $1000, please. Oh, I gotta get back to the…I gotta get back to the new listeners. What is…I gotta get…how can I mess up a game show…? Anyway, hey, I’m back. Sorry, I had to interrupt that one because I couldn’t even manage my own imaginary game show. But if you’re new here…so, that’s what the intro is. Usually it’s not that gripping. Like oh boy, is Scooter gonna be answer…be able to answer his own questions? Is he going to be able to complete a sentence without mumbling? So, that’s the intro and I’ll explain more, believe me. But then there’s a story, and the story’s about forty-five minutes or so, and then there’s some thank-yous at the end of the show.
So, that’s the structure of the show, and here’s what to…here’s the rules, or there’s…there is no rules. Be nice; I guess that there is a rule. Hey, try to be nice, but I guess that’s not even a rule. It’s more of a guideline or request. That’d be nice. But you don’t need to…what are the rules? Oh, you’re under no pressure to listen, which I think you probably figured that out. It’s like, do…am I supposed to listen to this guy? He’s not making…and I say no, yeah, you barely kinda listen to me. You just kinda tune in, so you don’t need to listen but you’re also under no pressure to fall asleep. I’ll be here for about an hour to keep you company while you fall asleep at your leisure. I’m the voice across the deep, dark night. I’m the distraction. I could be the droning. There’s listeners that lower the volume.
There’s a lot of listeners that either English is their second language or they don’t even speak English. There’s a lot of people that say I barely speak English. So, you don’t really need to listen. Oh, and you also don’t need to feel any pressure to fall asleep. I think that’s what I was trying to say. I’m here to keep you company, and you can run episodes back to back all night if you need to, and the reason I make the show is because I’ve been there, sleepless, tossing and turning. I really wish I could remember what I was thinking about before autumn mooncakes. Let’s see, I started the intro and then I got distracted by…I don’t know. I’m not kidding; when I tell you what just popped into my brain…I went…I tried to backtrack, and maybe it was ‘cause we were talking about game shows, and this is probably a dated reference so you might have to Google it tomorrow.
This is gonna seem…I guess this is…what is that called? This is a Rorschach test for me. I started going back; I said, what was I talking about before autumn mooncakes? Then I saw Cloris Leachman. She was a comedian and she appeared I think on a lot of game shows. I mean, I could…I mean, I don’t know my…another word that starts with an L from my Leachman, anyway. But there she was, standing there in the annals of my brain, and I said excuse me…this is…this all happened in real time. I’m just…just happened seconds ago. I gotta tell you while I remember it. I said excuse me, Mrs. Leachman. She said…of course she said my mother’s Mrs…I said excuse me…I said…and then I started calling her Cloris Leachman. I said, is that…I think it’s…I don’t think I have your name.
Actually, I’m trying to get past you to figure out what I was talking about. Then I said, is it really Cloris Leachman? Then I said I hope I’m…am I recording a podcast intro or have I fallen into my own dream? Then again I saw…then I said okay, I gotta reassure myself, so I pictured Alec…or Alex or Alec Trebek in a grey suit, and…with a pocket square, and that centered me. So, if you ever need any centering, very good image to center yourself. So, that’s how I made it back here. So, I don’t know what I was talking about before autumn mooncakes. I remember talking to my mom, and then she said get back to the podcast and stop messing around. Or she was worried about me, so it must have been…oh, because I forgot what I was talking about. That’s why she was worried. So don’t…not…no need to worry, mom.
This is all what makes a podcast work. Unfortunately, I wish it was a bit. I wish I was playing a character, but it’s weird to have my memories blocked by an image of Cloris Leachman and then say…I never thought about it. Is that really her…? Is it Carol Leachman or Cloris Leachman? Then how do you even spell ‘Cloris’? C-L-O…I say, really? Is that…? Oh, boy. Anyway, so if you’re new, this…I’m…I’ve backtracked one too many times. But this podcast is a little bit silly, clearly, a little bit goofy, a little bit strange. Tomorrow you may wake up and you say, hankering for a autumn mooncake, which I would say it’s a great thing for breakfast, ‘cause it…I would say have half. Maybe where you are…you’ve probably…you could get those on the internet. But I do know this; I’m glad you’re here.
As strange and silly as this podcast is, it’s for you. The highest goal of the show is to make bedtime something you can look forward to, ‘cause you know you have an ally, a friend, as Baloo once said, or whoever…King Louie. Who sang that song, King Louie, or…? ‘Cause King Louie wasn’t a friend. Baloo’s a friend, right? Never had a friend like me. That’s what all my friends say about me all the time. A lot of times they’re sighing, though. But you have an ally in me, in the deep, dark night. I’m here to help. Hopefully I’m here to make you barely smile and to start the process where you drool or you snore or you roll around in deep, deep slumber. That’s a job I take very seriously, and I take it with a dose of honor, ‘cause it’s really, really…I’m humbled to be able to help and I’m glad you’re here.
If this is your first few times here, what can I say? I don’t even know what the heck just happened. Might have to talk to a…I mean, I’ll be talking to my professional about this one. Say, is it Cloris Leachman? That’s gonna be the first thing I Google after I get outta here. You’re like…if it’s not, it’s like holy cow, where did that word come from? So, anyway, I’m glad you’re here. Podcast is a little bit silly, so give it a few tries. But I work very hard ‘cause I really hope I can help you fall asleep. Thanks for coming by.
Alright, hey everybody, it’s Scoots. It’s…no, it’s a Tuesday episode time, and hopefully I’ll get this episode out for Halloween. If I don’t, I guess there will be egg on my face. But I was trying to think of what I’ve been for…I was like oh, what could we do for Halloween? I was thinking of my childhood, as some people like to talk…hear about Little Andy’s adventures as a boy. That’s me; that was me. Went back before I became Dearest Scooter, before I was kissed by a pillow and given the power to put people to sleep. That’s how it happened; kissed by a nuclear pillow. I said, are you a nuclear pillow? The pillow said nope, I’m a nuclear pillow, and I’m going to kiss you. From here on forward, your life will never be the same. I said, is there any chance I could kiss a scientist instead? A nuclear scientist?
The pillow…when you get a blank look from a pillow, you never forget it. Then when the pillow kisses you…it’s…hopefully no pillows are listening. Oh, they probably are, though. No offense; I’m not a pillow, so it’s like, if the pillow was not nuclear…I don’t know any…it might have been just pressing my lips against a pillow, which I do every night, in some sense. But this kiss had meaning and it enabled me to make the podcast, and I don’t know what my point is. I don’t know…so, I was thinking about Halloween. I guess that was my Halloween…I mean, that’s my…oh, ‘cause I was once Little Andy. Now I’m Dear Scooter…Dearest Scooter…I inhabit this role. Here’s your sleep podcaster with the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story, as we always say.
But I was thinking about Halloween, and I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about Halloween costumes…and then I said well, that’ll be a great episode, Scoots. Let’s do it. Then I was like okay, what Halloween costumes do I remember? I think if you interview most kids…well, they might remember better. I remember Halloween, I remember trick-or-treating, I remember my dad liked to take us trick-or-treating, maybe. I don’t know, maybe at some point my parents had to split up because there were six kids. But when I did my trick-or-treating, the majority of the time…or just the power of my own ego, which is probably more likely, is…I can remember trick-or-treating with my siblings Carl and Sheila, and maybe occasionally with my brother Ted and my dad. My dad did like to dress up.
He wouldn’t dress up; he would just…every year, my dad would have a tradition of buying a new…what would we say? This is still a sleep…oh, a new vestige? A visage? A masquerade-enabler. Every year he would get a new one, and my dad didn’t have a lot of…I guess he always had these micro-traditions, and so, that was his micro-tradition. Oh yeah, I guess he never was free with his money. He’s a very conservative person when he’s spending. He always did this without us; he would come home and he would have his Halloween…maybe the word will…his mask…his thingamajig and his covering. He would show it to us and it would usually be pretty impressive. I think at least for me — I can’t speak for my siblings — it was always this side of my father that also had a little mystery, ‘cause I said you went to a store by yourself?
These were just things I couldn’t picture…and you went Halloween shopping? I guess now as an adult, I can see this ritual aspect of it that’s pretty cool. It’s a cool insight to have. He would always have a hooded sweatshirt. I mean, my dad was wearing hooded sweatshirts before Mark Zuckerberg, just so…and Elliot from the show…which of course his name just escapes me. But way before Social Network, my dad had hooded sweatshirts. I just wanted that to know…to get on the record. This isn’t against Zuckerberg or the movie portrayal, but he did have hooded sweatshirts way back before that. Yeah, or…yeah. I was gonna go on a hooded sweatshirt tangent, but so, that would always add to his allure. That would usually be his costume; a hooded sweatshirt, his covering, and jeans and boots or something.
To me as a child, my dad was a very big man and kind of a giant, so I always found it…and there is something for…depending on the age of a kid, just…I can only imagine what it’s like for pets. I always imagine they’re like…on Halloween they’re like, what in the…what the…is going on here? What are you do…? Like, if my dog gets…she’d be like, what are you doing? I think I’ll come back to my current issues; like, this might be the year I actually bring Halloween back for myself. But so, that was one aspect, was my father liked Halloween and he liked going trick-or-treating. So, that was a moment we had with my dad that I really remember and I really appreciate. I know not everybody has that, and I will acknowledge that. But maybe you could take a strange bath in my nostalgia.
But I really remember…when I think about the costumes, I’m having trouble remembering that. So, maybe that’ll come up later, ‘cause I also know…I don’t ever remember going Hall…maybe I did Kmart or something with my dad…go Halloween costume shopping, but I don’t have a lot of memories of going shop…so, maybe that was another…it was also a…it was a dual thing where maybe I had some resentment that my dad had this sweet Halloween getup. I was like, what in the heck is…where’s my stuff? It seems like Halloween in the past ten years has become much bigger business than it was. When I was a kid it was a big deal, but I don’t remember it being a big business. I remember they…whatever garbage bags were made out of, that’s what they…and…or maybe it was just vinyl.
That’s what they made kids’ Halloween’s costumes out of. Like, 90% of kids’ Halloween costumes were vinyl culottes or one…it was almost like a onesie. I think it was a onesie. People are making fun of hipsters now for wearing rompers, and I think these actually were a vinyl romper, which nobody’s gonna wear that anywhere, and you would wear it over your clothes. Just for the people that weren’t children of the eighties, I’m trying to paint a really clear picture. Now some of the Halloween costumes I’ve seen are made from a flimsy material. Like, if you buy one at the last minute…like, let’s say Buzz Lightyear; that’s always a popular costume for the past, whatever, twenty…probably fifteen years. A beloved character.
I can picture Buzz Lightyear; it would be…it could be either two things; a very flimsy material and a Buzz Lightyear mask, or there would be a upgraded…nearly a foam-like material, and maybe with the Buzz Lightyear wings and then a mask. Maybe a built-in mask that’s a hoodie, maybe a separate mask. The foam ones, they seem alright. I can’t imagine…’cause it seems like you also have…there’s a difference between Halloween costumes and dress-up clothes. I think it’s just a different price point and marketing technique, but I think…’cause I’ve seen kids in both of those getups as Buzz Lightyear, and then maybe even a higher upgraded one that’s more of a silky material. That one is all the way…either is separate pants or it includes pants and a…it’s not a romper.
But for the most part, maybe more of a culotte romper or a…what’s the difference between a jumper and a romper? I guess I shouldn’t have…and was ‘romper room’ named ‘romper room’ because all the kids were in rompers? Also, what a fitting word for Sleep With Me podcast. How come…do they have romper pajamas? ‘Cause I could actually…I mean, I don’t know if I could, because I don’t really wear pajamas anyway. I find them way too constricting and…especially ‘cause I do this…those dolphin dives in my bed when I’m asleep. I leap out of my bed into the air to turn over like a dolphin does. I think we called them dolphin breaches. But back when I was a kid, back when…back in the eighties, you would go to Kmart or your version of Kmart.
That was probably the number-one place to purchase Halloween costumes that I know of. So, there weren’t party stores or pop-up Halloween stores, like seasonal Halloween stores, and there wasn’t the internet where you could…it’s like, why…where you could just order a costume. So, you would…you had two choices…or no, three choices. Oh, boy. I think I did tell this one story of my greatest Halloween costume, so I won't tell that one unless we need time at the end, because I can’t remember if I’ve told it or not. But you really had only a few choices; go to Kmart, get this vinyl one…oh, so it came with a vinyl romper. Let me see, you make your own, have your parents make you your own, or go to Kmart. Those were the options I knew about.
So at Kmart you had a vinyl outfit, so you’d put your legs in and it would only go to your knees, maybe, the pants. I’m picturing a Batman, so it…and it had no accessories, unless maybe if you bought the more expensive one. But again, there was six kids in my family, so…even these were probably not cheap. So, it was like…it was a romper or a…whatever; it wasn’t a onesie ‘cause it was just shorts. So, it would go to your knees and it would be…you had Batman legs, but only to your knees, and then you should wear dark pants or something. Then all vinyl, so it looked like a vinyl print of grey Batman pants, then a yellow Batman utility belt, then the Batman chest and sign, and neck and shoulders.
Then it went down to your…to close to your wrists with the arms, and then the back of it was a bit like an apron, where you tied it on in two places. So, from the back I think they probably looked pretty ridiculous, but nobody cared ‘cause everybody had the same costumes. Then you had a mask which was made of…by a thin plastic, but it was pretty cool. That would be…the mask was the main thing. The romper…I love saying romper. I don’t know why people are…I guess…here’s the thing about rompers; I’ve seen the pictures, I’ve seen the memes, and I don’t know if I appreciate the anti-romper…anti-male-romper sentiment in…except in some cases. If it’s too tight, yeah, what the heck? Get a romper; make sure it’s comfortable…or if they’re too short. If they’re too short, just get short-shorts.
Why do you have to have a romper…a short-short rompers? So, I think people are going all-or-nothing. Instead of seeing rompers, the…saying oh, there could be more than one style of male romper. Like, didn’t…will…didn’t the Oompa-Loompas…weren’t they in rompers? I don’t know. I’m just trying to picture it in my head. They were more in onesies, maybe. It’s one thing if it’s a very tight romper with short-shorts and then you’re just hanging out, because it’s a little aggressive. It says well hey, could you put some shorts on? I’m here…you’re in a romper to lounge. You can’t be comfortable with all that constriction. Believe me, I’m comfortable around anybody in short-shorts, anybody anywhere, anytime, in the right context.
If you’re in some sort of short-short sit…if you say hey, well, this is a situation where I’m in a short romper…short, tight romper, I’d say okay. But I think when people meme it, it’s like people at a BBQ or whatever. You say hey, it’s on the grill; let’s keep it…let’s keep that on the grill and not…can you get some…a romper that’s a little bit less form-fitting? Okay, so I think I covered male rompers. I don’t know; is that…I guess ‘cause I don’t know about rompers. I may be digging it by my own romper ignorance. Do they have to have short-shorts and be tight? Again, I don’t know the difference between a jumper…I think a jumper has a dress with shorts, maybe. I don’t know. Maybe a romper and a jumper are pretty close, though.
I mean, I guess another side of the romper that I don’t hear talked about is, you know, peeing. So, I guess there’s a lot to think about, so let’s not…don’t start sending me rompers, because that’s a pretty big issue that I didn’t even think about. So, anyway, but these vinyl Halloween costumes were in the romper style, or what I’m calling it, ‘cause it’s a very sleepy word. Then you had a mask, and the mask had one elastic band, and depending…most of the time it wasn’t even elastic; it was just a rubber…like a…it was two staples and a rubber band. Not a rubber band, but you know…I guess it was an elastic band, but very rarely was the elastic band covered in…sometimes elastic bands are covered in material. These were just usually straight rubber.
This could be…the mask was easily…this…these masks were really only good for Halloween night. You just work it out and then you say okay, then you can just be Batman as much as you want. I think we would put them away, but we’d always outgrow…so I don’t know if my poor siblings had to wear duct-taped versions of my Batman or whatever, Darth or Boba Fett Halloween costumes. If so, I apolog…I guess I’m more…yeah, more amends to make. But so, those were your kid costumes. I don’t want to…I think I remember my sister being Strawberry Shortcake. I definitely remember as I got older my siblings being the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I don’t know, they were heroes in a half-shell. They were whole-shell heroes to me.
But personally, I would say me and Carl were pretty close in age, like nineteen…no, no, twenty-two months or twenty-three months different in age. So, we would probably have coordinated outfits, but I can’t really remember anything other than Star Wars. But I couldn’t have been a Star Wars figure every year. I don’t know who I would have been. Probably Darth. I mean, I would be…I’ll tell you what; if I was buying a Halloween costume twelve years ago, I would be Snape every time. Get me in a Snape romper with a mask, or just be Alan Rickman. We’re thinking of you, Alan. But I don’t know what that has to do with anything. I just went way off…but I was just thinking of…if I was choosing my Halloween outfit…every…I guess maybe I should just be the characters played by Alan Rickman, but I can’t do any Alan Rickman impersonations.
So anyway, so those were the Halloween costumes of my youth if you were gonna…store-bought ones. I can remember going with my dad…I can see the Star Wars…maybe a R2-D2 one? Maybe…I hope I wasn’t C-3P0. Maybe a stormtrooper? I’m trying to think, but…I can remember Batman, but I don’t know if Carl was Batman or I was Batman. Maybe Carl was Robin. Whatever. So…oh boy, okay, so my mind is starting to coalesce around some other Halloween costumes that I’ve been. So, we would go trick-or-treating. I think that covers it as far as the little kid, ‘cause I don’t really have a great memory, except for the greatest Halloween costume ever made by my mom, which I think I did a episode on, but don’t worry, I’ll talk about…you’re not missing anything.
You could just e-mail me or ask about it anyway, because I have not even a pre-pubescent story that I don’t think I’ve shared. Maybe I did. But so, at some point, Carl and I realized…or I guess together, since we were close in age, that it was much…we were much better off…or maybe my mom just said forget those stupid vinyl Halloween…’cause they would rip or if you try…it was the kind of thing if you tried if on before Halloween, the costume would break and it would be unusable. Then you’d cry and then your…and then it’d be like well, that’s the only thing.
I do remember they came in these cool boxes, almost like a little tiny square box, and it had a clear, translucent cover where you could see the mask and then it had the picture of the happiest kid in the world, where it didn’t look like a romper; it looked like they were…and then it had the picture of the character to confuse you and be like oh boy, am I gonna look exactly like Darth Vader? Are people gonna fall down to one knee in supplication? But I don’t know, so you got…I got off…oh, so…but the costumes never worked out. Sorry, I got mixed up there. I’m just trying to wrack my brain. Then I remember…yeah, at some point Carl and I started making our own costumes and using our toys and other things, and probably I got Carl in trouble ‘cause I remember one year we played G.I. Joe-type characters, and I don’t know that we necessarily went shopping for anything.
So, I know we had made ourselves beards, and I can kinda remember getting in trouble somehow. So, I don’t know what we used. We probably used permanent marker to give ourselves beards, and maybe even better eyebrows. But I can remember seeing Carl, who was a redhead, with a full black Sharpie beard, and I had one. Then we’d use our things, so we played G.I. Joe-type…and more, I think, of a Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe we were in a Arnold Schwarzenegger movie phase. It’s probably right around that age, at the height of his movie fame. I think we had some sort of fatigues or green clothes. I don’t ever remember owning any fatigues, like camo, but maybe we did, ‘cause I can kinda picture Carl with a beard and maybe a…bandanas; they were important. So, I remember that.
I remember one year dressing as a mad…a couple years I had a lab coat. At some point I got my hands on a lab coat, and that’s a handy thing to have for Halloween, ‘cause you can really switch it up and utilize it for different things. So, I think one year I was a mad scientist. I don’t know, the next year I think I was something embarrassing, like maybe…I don’t know. Maybe Carl had busted me. He was a G.I. Joe and I was a person he had busted. I think that sounds about right. He was the hero and I was the villain based on G.I. Joe, so I was some sort of Cobra-related…I was a Cobra Commander, and…’cause I didn’t…these were independent Halloween costumes. That’s funny, but that’s what they were. I was just talking to my daughter about this, of when you get too old to love Halloween.
Of course, just like everything with me, I was a late bloomer, physically, emotionally — I’m still waiting — and even maturity-wise, so I would have kept trick-or-treating and celebrating Halloween probably for a long time. So, I’m sure in seventh grade I probably still trick-or-treated, but I remember in eighth grade I was in middle school, and there was gonna be a dance for our school. I also remember maybe Carl and I had done this a year before, but maybe not. We wanted to be punks from the great…but just kind of very suburban. But this is just who we were, suburban kids. Or I guess we were kinda suburban kids. But so, we wanted to be punks, and we really put a lot of work into our costumes by…I remember the first thing we did was we took t-shirts and…I’m sure we did this unsupervised on a weekend day.
We also bought a ton of hair dye, like spray-paint hair dye. So, we spray-painted shirts, so we had the white t-shirts that were spray-painted. I don’t know where we got those or if they were school shirts or something. So, we did that. Then we got ourselves on some hair…our hands on the hair gel. I was able to give myself a mohawk with the gel, with the spikes, so a spiked mohawk, because I had a bowl cut of straight hair, so that was very easy to spike into…I should have just kept that for the rest of my life, or at least through my late twenties. Yeah, ‘cause it looked pretty sweet. Then we spray-painted our hair. I think Carl had more of a sculpted…’cause his hair’s a lot curlier and thicker…that he had to just…instead of spikes, he just did one straight greased mohawk.
Then we colored our hair, and then we started probably cutting up other clothes. I remember I cut up a pair of jeans and I cut up a pair of gloves, cut all the fingers off the gloves. I probably put spikes on the gloves and probably ruined a jacket, I’m assuming, and I think Carl probably did the same thing. But I guess I still wanted to go trick-or-treating, but I was supposed to go this high school…or middle school dance. These are the opportunities that time and knowledge and experience…so if anybody young is listening and you’re awake, hopefully this comforts you. Or if you, for some reason, stay awake and you look back at things, maybe you’ll be empowered by this story. Maybe not. But so…and I don’t know if anybody was getting a date to the dance.
I never had dates for dances, but…and it just seemed way too…I was too neurotic anyway. It was just too stressful and probably not in the cards a lot of times. Even later, when you had to have a date, I sometimes…but whatever. I think this was just a fun Halloween dance. I don’t know if my friends…we voted if we were gonna dress up or how we did that, or…but I was going full-bore as a punk, so I don’t know what happened with my friends. Some people…a couple of my friends…I don’t know if I keep in touch with all of them. Some of them were on the little bit of a cooler side, so they might have been not dressed up. Then some of my friends were embracing that child side still, so they would have dressed up, then some of my friends might have been halfway in-between or too nervous to dress up.
But I remember I showed up at this dance and I probably got dropped off by my mom, maybe with my friends but maybe not, and maybe that was already…but I was this…I was a method…I had descended into the…in my eighth-grade mind, I was a punk now. I literally looked like I just rolled out of the West Village and straight into Syracuse, New York, into a eighth-grade dance, ‘cause I was already very pale skinned, and I think my brow was furrowed at birth, so I had a furrowed brow. I probably had a jacket that I cut the arms off of, probably a jacket that I loved, and I loved the gloves that I cut the fingertips off of. Here’s a interesting thing to learn, like I said; so, I showed up at this dance and out of all the people, let’s say there was 150 kids at this dance, seventh and eighth-graders, I guess I already had a reputation and I don’t know what that reputation was, which we’ll kinda get into.
But I…when I was in seventh and eighth grade, it was when I was the most social and least introverted in my life. Definitely the overthinking of post-puberty probably impacted me being more introverted or more protective or whatever, closed off. So at this time, I had a lot less to lose because not all my natural drives and the associated thoughts had cropped up. So, I was less likely to be embarrassed. I mean, much like a lot of these shows that are popular with the child protagonists. So, I think out of all the kids at the dance, maybe half the kids were dressed up and maybe half the kids weren’t, and maybe a very small percentage of the kids went full-bore in dressing up like there was a contest, though maybe…I don’t know if there was a costume contest in…’cause I don’t remember winning it.
But I remember I was one of the most costumed people. But my costume was a point of conversation. It was like…and I think this is the key thing; a lot of times we see things as you’re being laughed at or you’re being laughed with, right? You’re the funny person making people laugh and you’re in control. I think that’s kinda sold as an illusion. I don’t even know if it’s true. You’re really funny, ‘cause if you try to be funny, that kinda…or you’re kinda the person…the stuff of the hard high-school memories…people are laughing at you and making fun of you. But I think at some point…and the podcast was a big part of this, is realizing there’s actually a middle place where you can have another reaction from people, and it’s like, part of it is confusion because they’re like…when I showed up at this dance, there was people laughing with me and there’s people laughing at me.
But most people were like…and I never realized this, unfortunately, that this…I think I was always over-analyzing things, that there was more…more people were like…stunned is the wrong word, but something like stunned and not quite impressed, but…and maybe confused, of like, who the heck is this kid? I don’t know, ‘cause there is something illicit in a positive way about kids that don’t care. Just say hey, I’m here, I’m fully dressed as a punk. To the kids that are maybe cooler, that are like well, I didn’t dress up because I’m too cool or I want to seem cool, that maybe…I didn’t have any confidence. I only had my youth and my gullibility, and I guess a little bit of my still love of Halloween. But so, I arrived at the dance. I had…I remember my hair was blue on one side, I think, and pink on the other.
I had my spray-paint shirt, some sort of vest, gloves, and then jeans which I had ripped open, and maybe high-top sneakers with no laces. I don’t know what I was wearing shoes-wise, or maybe I found some sort of boots. Oh, you know what? No, ‘cause I remember someone gave me their boots. Someone had combat boots and we traded shoes at the dance. But so, I arrived at the dance and like I said, there was this middle thing. This happens a lot with the podcast, where people are…they are laughing at you, but in a way that’s not negative, where you’re being yourself, you’re…okay, this happens to me all the time with the podcast, in the intros; I’ll be being myself, and it happens to me in my regular life, too, and people will laugh because your perspective is so much different than theirs, and it’s amusing to them.
I mean, I laugh at other people sometimes, but it’s not a mean-spirited kinda laughter; it’s like a dissonant laughter, but it’s a positive…like, so much of this good humor from good comedians or good drama comes from misdirection. In that case, it’s an intentional misdirection, but in this case it’s just natural…the misdirection of being yourself. So, a lot of people were blown away when I showed up at this dance, and not in a heroic…in a very grey area blown away, of like, what in the heck? I remember people studying my outfit and me kind of like…yeah, being pleased and kinda showing it off. Then yeah, some seventh-grader who…there were some actual real punks, so this one kid was like here, wear my combat boots. You’ll look even more hilarious.
As I said, I already…I don’t know how much dancing I did, but I did like to…I did like some of that. I did have a positive association with acting goofy, but I was never the class clown ‘cause I…if I was clowning around, I was just being myself. Maybe I was privately using a English accent or anything…or something. But I can remember mostly being surrounded by younger kids, like seventh-grade kids that I kinda either rode the bus with…I can remember one of the kids that was actually a little bit more…maybe he had a older sibling or he was a little bit tougher in the kind of real punk range. I was hanging out with them ‘cause…because of our tracking at our school, I had a close relationship with the kids that were in my track. At some point, things did…I think one thing that this can trigger in other kids is…sometimes it can trigger a little bit of jealousy.
Maybe people were thinking I was more confident or maybe because I…you know, sometimes there’s a strange vibration in what we do. So, at some point…and I’m not sure who it is, but this has…don’t worry; this story immediately flips to the positive, ‘cause I was hanging out with these two kids that were seventh-graders that tended to be in more trouble, and…because I thought…they were eating up my jokes and my punk material and they just seemed to be more blown away than anyone else. Maybe behind my back they were laughing at me, but I don’t think so. I don’t necessarily remember it. Even the class clowns…I think the class clowns in our class…I can remember one kid…even if they didn’t dress up, the class clowns love clowning around, and seventh and eighth grade can still be a time where your quirks are a little bit more embraced.
Not always, but at some point I was dancing and some of the kids — and I don’t even remember who it was — decided to further their rips on my jeans on the dance floor. Maybe it was out of…whatever, aggression or jealousy or whatever, and there wasn’t much room up my thighs to go with the rips. Again, I guess this is a masculine thing, is maybe there was an attempt to de…whatever. So, immediately my inner thighs were almost exposed. But immediately, two of the more trouble-making kids leapt to my aid and then helped me repair my outfit with my band…I think I had a couple bandanas on, maybe around my arms or something. So, then I was able to put bandanas around my inner thighs to kinda hold my pants together. I think maybe I also bleached the pants. I think they were jeans.
Then eventually I returned my combat boots to my friend. I guess that’s all I really remember about the dance. I remember feeling a little bit bad about ruining the gloves, but I also was…’cause me and my brother Carl had got matching gloves; mine were grey, his were black, for when we would go sledding. So, I think that winter I was probably regretting cutting my gloves. I can’t imagine my parents were overjoyed. But yeah, I remember…and I was a very small kid; this…not only was I a late bloomer, I was late to grow, so I was always a really short, skinny kid, smaller than all my classmates, I think, until I was sixteen, that I kind of…grow to kind of exact average or whatever. So, that was a story.
I think the…it’s just important to remember that, and that’s the nice thing about making this podcast, is learning that there really is a huge value in being yourself, and it’s a huge gift. I don’t think you can keep…I always think about it with my daughter, and I have this bubbling feeling of wanting her to just be the wonderful self she is and to protect that, to create a safe place around it, but know that that is…that I can only do so much, that that’s really her journey that she’s going to be making as she gets older. But that is the Promethean thing to try to carry back, even if you’re just…you’re sound asleep or you’re listening here along with me, to remember your quirks are the things that connect you with other people, really, and they are the things that make people laugh, and sometimes they’re just laughing out loud in almost disbelief.
But I think that’s this wonderful vulnerability that you allow me as podcast listeners, and maybe that’s where the success of…a lot of the successful comedians that have podcasts. I don’t know; I’ve never studied it as a external thing, but it always seems like when you’re really making people laugh, you’re just being yourself, at least for me, and giving my natural observations and then it cracks people up. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, to look at the world from a little bit different angle, and to love Halloween. Now, as I promised, I would finish up with the best Halloween costume I ever had, just in case…I don’t…I remember telling this story, but maybe it wasn’t on the podcast. But there was one year when I was in somewhere around fourth or fifth or sixth grade that my mom decided to make a Halloween…go all the way in, all-in on a Halloween costume.
I don’t know where she got this idea. I’ll have to ask her about it. Maybe I can interview her. But she decided to make an arcade…a Pac-man arcade cabinet as my Halloween costume. It was a unbelievable accomplishment by my mother. It looked like a arcade cabinet. It was made of cardboard that she had put together, so it was the exact shape as the arcade cabinet. Then she had painted it and used construction paper to make it look like the Pac-man arcade cabinet. Then she had a joystick, which was made out of some…it was the exact same size of the joystick…I think twine or something, like a wooden thing that twine or something would come on. I don’t know how she did the buttons, and then she did a screen with a tin thing that a microwave dinner would come in or something, and then did the Pac-man layout with cardboard and ghosts and Pac-man.
It was just the kind of thing that you stuck your head in and I…there was two holes for your eyes, or my eyes. That was it; you just walked around in it. It just happened to be the year…I think that was when Pac-man had a cartoon and every…Pac-man had everything; cereal, cartoons, TV shows. So, whatever grade I was in, we had a Halloween party. We had two fourth, fifth, sixth grades. I don’t remember what year it was. But one other kid came as Pac-man, who…and his parents had made him a full Pac-man head out of cardboard and yellow paper. It was amazing. It was a tie for the class Halloween costume because both parents…I mean, I did…barely did anything, so this was all my mom’s work. But the…but we both…everyone was like wow, you can’t beat those costumes. Then I was also in the Cub Scouts.
I never made it to the Boy Scouts, as people that listen to this podcast may or may not know, but I was in the Cub Scouts with my buddy Pat that I’ve been friends with. I’m still friends with today. I would have been friends with him since kindergarten. Pat T, and a couple other kids I went to grammar school and…I don’t know if I went to high school with them. I think maybe I did. We were in Cub Scouts together. I remember I wore…they…we had a Halloween costume night too, contest, and I got to win that one. Oh boy, I just had a memory; memory alert. But so, and I think I told that story too. But so, I won that Halloween costume and I remember that was the high point and…you know, I don’t think…I don’t know if…hopefully my mom’s asleep, but if you’re listening, mom, thank you so much for that.
It was just…the amount of work that you put in…and I hope my joy in winning all the awards and the joy and glory I got…I probably didn’t thank you enough. That’s the kinda thing that…where homemade Halloween costumes can transcend store-bought ones and transcend the years and decades in some magical way. The reason I said…I remember the…that same…the next year for that Cub Scout Halloween thing, I didn’t have a costume, probably ‘cause I was like mom, you gonna make…? She’s like by the way, I got six kids. You only get one Halloween costume in your life. For you it was great. But so, the next year, that’s when I had acquired a lab coat. Then I had Groucho Marx glasses. I thought it was just a dis…I was under the impression that these Groucho Mark glasses were what spies used, because it always said ‘undercover kit’ when you bought them.
It was framed glasses, a nose with a moustache. So, I thought I would be…I really had no idea. Maybe this was my subconscious at work. But so, I wore the lab coat and those glasses with the nose and the moustache, and I was like okay, I’ll just be a weird doctor, and…like a crazy doctor or something, and I can ham it up and act and that’ll be fine. But then once they started the Halloween parade, some grandparents or parents were like oh, that’s the greatest, that’s the greatest Groucho Marx I’ve ever seen. I’m not trying to be funny; I was like, I’m…I remember this grandfather. He goes, get over here, Groucho. I was like, I don’t have…I said I don’t know what this guy’s…he goes here, you need a cigar. I think maybe it’s from Duck Soup, Groucho with…but whatever.
Then he said here’s how you do the cigar, and he gave me a pen. He said put it in your mouth, and you say badda-badda-badda. Call me; call me later, or whatever. So then he started doing Groucho even though I didn’t have any idea who that was. Then the pen exploded in my mouth and all over me, which just added…I said…’cause to myself I was like, why can’t that guy just mind his own business? I just wanted to be…but so, the pen got all over my face and probably ruined his pen. Maybe some…it didn’t ruin the lab coat ‘cause I used it the next year, or the same Halloween, to be, whatever, G.I. Joe…whoever G.I. Joe…my brother was G.I. Joe. So, I don’t know. That’s a couple Halloween memories for you. Yeah, I hope you get a positive association with the journey we took. Thanks for listening and goodnight.
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(Transcribed by Leah Hervoly)