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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hallow-what?!

The East Coast is blaming Hurricane Sandy for pretty much everything this week.  She deserves it, with one exception: It’s not her fault that thousands of people in the D.C. area banked on Halloween being canceled, unplugged their willpower and prematurely pillaged their candy stashes. 

When the holiday went on just as it always had in the D.C. area, some people found themselves staring down the very real possibility that they’d run out of treats.  Most people in such a situation turn the home upside down in search of something, anything, that might appease the costumed masses enough to keep them from coating the house with a layer of egg yolk.

Even the most disciplined among us could land in this jam, including my mother.  She’s one of the most prepared, organized people I’ve ever met but she got caught empty-handed a couple times when we were kids. 

She’s cool under pressure so she didn’t panic or hand out random household inventory.  Instead, she turned to my sister, Lynne.  Lynne trick-or-treated with the rest of us but couldn’t enjoy the spoils of her efforts because she has juvenile diabetes.   Things looked up for her when Mom ran out of treats, though.  

On those rare occasions, our mother would belly up to the bargaining table—or pillow case, in this instance—and buy Lynne’s Halloween loot.  (Knowing my sister, she probably developed a multi-tiered pricing structure involving a premium for Snickers, Milky Ways and Reese’s Cups.) The transaction met everyone’s needs.

My brother, L, is every bit as organized as my mom and found himself in the same pickle back in 2001.  He was 26 at the time, living in Scottsdale and playing professional baseball in the Arizona Fall League.  I flew out to see him in early October that year and stayed in the apartment he shared with Mike, a laid-back outfielder from California who reminded me of Shaggy from “Scooby Doo.” 

While visiting, I tried to pick up a few things for Mike and L, knowing that getting by on a minor league paycheck couldn’t be easy.  One day I went to a grocery store called Albertsons and bought them bread, eggs, milk and some other staples. Just before checking out, I tossed a container of store-baked chocolate chip and M&M cookies into the basket to satisfy my sweet tooth.  

Mike and L appreciated all the groceries but they fell in love with the cookies.  Before I headed home I made two more trips to Albertsons to replenish their stock.

A few weeks after I left, my brother and Mike were chilling at their apartment on a warm evening when they heard a knock at the door.  Mike opened it.

“Trick or treat!” yelled four kids in costume.

My brother looked up from his post on the couch, stunned and horrified that he’d forgotten Halloween. 

By contrast, whiffing on the holiday didn’t seem to faze Mike at all.  (Nothing did, as far as I could tell.  I’m convinced his heart wouldn’t beat more than 50 times per minute even if he were in the throes of electrocution. )

He looked at the kids, shrugged and said, “Dudes, we don’t have any candy.”

“What else do you have?” asked the group spokesperson, who probably landed the role because he had the only mouth that wasn’t obstructed by a mask. 

L and Mike had nothing, not even access to a diabetic who might be willing to unload a few Kit-Kats for the right price.

At that point, Mike and L should’ve opted for the trick and tried to wow the kids by turning a double play in the living room.  But that didn’t occur to them.  Instead, Mike stood at the door and made small talk while my brother desperately scanned their place for treats and found only Windex and canned tuna.  

The spokesperson, meanwhile, was casing out the joint.  He looked past Mike, and said, “We’ll take those,” pointing at the lone item on the kitchen table.  There, sat Mike and L’s last container of Albertson’s cookies.  Only four chocolate chip and M&M goodies remained inside.     

My brother was about to turn them over when Mike put a hand on his arm.

“No way, dude. Not the cookies.”  The Shaggy demeanor had vanished, and in its place was Joe Pesci from Goodfellas.  

L soon found himself mediating absurd negotiations between Mike and the kids. A threat of retaliation by toilet paper almost ended the talks but eventually a settlement was reached: the kids got half a cookie each and Mike kept two.

This story, like Hurricane Sandy, teaches us the importance of being prepared. It also reminds us that you can take away a man’s dignity, his self-respect, and even his hair, but you’d better think twice before taking away his Albertson’s cookies.     

14 comments:

  1. Oh man. This is the bestest. I love all of it. Will you adopt me?

    http://truthfully.ca

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  2. Without a doubt! I've always said my lifelong dream is to adopt an adult --skip all the pesky childrearing and still have someone to put you in a home when the sunset years arrive.

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    1. This sounds like the perfect relationship. The papers are in the mail.

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  3. Aw, such a good sister you are! Great story, but I loved the moral the most. :) nice to meet you, rowmie!

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    1. And.... consider this a friendly shove to get on Twitter! :)

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    2. Any moral involving cookies just has to be good. Thanks for the friendly shove--I need it!

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  4. I know those cookies! That are good! We usually run out of candy too but not because I'm unprepared. Our neighborhood is inundated with mass numbers of trickortreaters and I feel like $50 worth of candy is all I'm willing to spend. They seriously come packed into vans!

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    1. Evidently those cookies have a real following--who knew?! I think I spent $50 on candy, but most of it went to replenishing the original stock after I depleted it. Twice.

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    2. I tried to make very similiar cookies to this for my partners birthday on Friday! I stocked up on discounted Smarties (basically Canadian MnMs) and was going to roll them into my unbeatable double-chocolate chip cookie recipe...until...I ate so many of the Smarties I exhausted my reserves!! tragedy!

      This made me laugh, I always wanted a brother! Great segue from topical event to home town story too!

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    3. You're in good company: candy tragedy seems to strike here with regularity. Do you want my brother? I mean, I really like him but for the right price...

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  5. Those Alberstons cookies are good. There's really no way around it.

    This year my parents ran out of candy so they gave out dimes. DIMES. In 2012. The fact that they didn't get egged proved there's such a thing as miracles.

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    1. Larks, your story almost makes me want to go back to organized religion. Almost.

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  6. Haha, I love this! I love the bargaining pillowcase and all the other delightful little wordages that made me chuckle. Such a great post!

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  7. Thank you! By the time NaBloPoMo is over, you'll have gotten so much Yank lore you'll feel like an honorary member of the tribe. :)

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