Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mass Hysteria

I just wrote this story to a friend in an email, and decided to tell it here, too. It has been a strange, strange Halloween.

When Monk announced that he wanted to dress up as President Bush this year, we laughed and thought it was a natural progression given his costumes over the past several years: Darth Maul, Darth Vader, the Devil, and President Bush.

But what we never expected was the way his costume would tap into some deep wells of hatred! Not only that, but it created what D referred to as the Mascot Effect. It was as if people immediately forgot that he was a human underneath the puffy coat and the big mask. As soon as the mask would go on, and this is no exaggeration, swarms of kids would immediately be drawn to him and start poking him, hitting him, pulling at him. I've never seen anything like it.

But there was definitely also a Burn-Him-in-Effigy Effect as well. One kid walked over and said, "Some night you're going to wake up and find me standing over your bed with a knife." But even adults (parents, not the teachers thank goodness) would come over to him and say things like, "Watch out! I'm going to punch you!" We had some deep-seated hatred going on.

I was glad that both D and I went to Monk's school parade. We flanked him and kept having to fend kids (and adults) off. Finally, Doug turned to me and said: "Now I know what we should have dressed as...secret service agents!"

There was a very sweet moment, though, when a little girl--not more that 2 1/2 I'm sure, was utterly enthralled with Monk. It was the positive mascot effect, as if he were a Disney character or something. Monk shook her hand, as if he were one of those characters. She was smitten! I caught the moment below:

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