Thursday, October 15, 2009

I See Halloween in Our Future

My favorite holiday, Halloween, rapidly approaches, and thanks in large part to my day job at a community-oriented non-profit organization, I've already begun to celebrate. First of all, I created a KaraokeFanboy O'Lantern this week . . .

And last weekend, I had the chance to play fortune teller at a local charitable dinner. A coworker asked if I'd play the role, since I have a reputation for thinking on my feet and embracing any chance to dress up, and I happily obliged in both departments. I wanted to secure a Johnny Carson as Carnac look, and a local Halloween shop had a hat (albeit yellow), so at a whopping $15 for headwear, I vowed to make the rest of the costume obscenely affordable. Some yard sale hopping produced the shirt, a silken woman's top, for a mere dollar, and the scarf, 100% silk and made in India, was the perfect accessory from Goodwill for $4. One gaudy 99 Cent Store belt later, I was a sheik, ready to wow a wine soaked crowd with my ability to foresee the future.

Unfortunately, I do not have the ability to foresee the future. My alternative was purchasing fortune cookies and helping my subjects interpret them, and in the last moments before the party, I decided to fill a "Bag of Chance" with some random "Baubles of Fate" from work -- essentially discarded carnival prizes and useless, donated incentives, most notably a slew of personalized "Patrick" calculators and undoubtedly lead-lined lip gloss. Anyway, the host of the shindig decorated her damp wine cellar for me, and after enjoying some free food and drink, my first subject descended to hear her future. Of course, she opted for a bauble of fate, and when I drew a Chinese finger trap, I smirked knowingly.

"The Bag of Chance has chosen a Chinese finger trap for you. Tell me, do you feel trapped in life?"

She replied, "Yes, sometimes I do!"

I paused. "Oh. Uhm, well, you may remember the riddle of the Chinese finger trap, as many try to pull it apart to free their fingers, but the trick is to bring your fingers together," I demonstrated, "like so. Can you think of someone or something that will help free you from your prison, if you pull them closer?"

Yes!" she blurted. "Yes, I think I can! Thank you!"

She ascended the staircase excitedly, as I sat in amazement at my own abilities to -- what? Bluff my way through a pseudo-soothsaying? Or do I really have a gift? Was it a coincidence the only Styrofoam glider I brought was pulled for the guy that was hopping on a plane to Texas the next day? Or that one of the folks to receive a Patrick calculator knew a Patrick? Or that I pulled a rattle for a pregnant woman? (Okay, it was more of a maraca . . . but maybe she had a burrito for lunch!) The experience was as hilariously fulfilling as I'd hoped, but for reasons I surely didn't expect. Perhaps that answers my question; if I truly had a gift, I would've seen it coming.

One thing is for sure: Halloween will be here before we know it. I can't wait for the future.

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