Okay, so I missed a prime opportunity to don a Dalmatian fur coat and call myself Dare de Vil.

A lot of things have happened over the past 24 hours and I’ve had trouble working everything out explicitly. With each new situation, new questions have arisen. Therefore, questions and context:

Why did everyone at the lumber yard have a New Jersey accent?

I live in Toronto, locals generally have Canadian accents (with the exception of people like myself). You might find a variant voice here and there. What doesn’t usually happen is stumbling across a cluster of people working in an establishment with foreign accents. Strange then, that everyone working at my local lumber yard had New Jersey accents. When the service desk gal, talking on her phone while serving me, pointed me in the direction of the dowel bars, I didn’t expect that weird mishmash of working class and outer New York to speak back at me. Then the guy sweeping had one too. The fella who took me out to the wood chopping area also had that certain dialect, then the guy that chopped my beam into 1.5 foot sticks (or 45cm as he translated for my benefit) carried the same tones. I guess the question I should be asking is how one business has so many helpful employees that were willing to lend me a hand? The guy cutting my dowel asked if I was making fighting sticks with the kind of nostalgic familiarity that made me suspect he knows his way around a fighting stick. Jersey, don’t ever change.

Who wore it better?

Like an unimpressed teenage girl at the cool clique’s party, I found another dude wearing the same black costume Daredevil outfit as me. He had accessories (the aforementioned fighting sticks I picked up because of my hidden shame) and better gloves, but my belt, boots, shirt and mask were better. I’m quite convinced my dance moves were better too, so now I’m regretting not challenging him to a dance off. I’ve got The Six Step and The Worm up my shoes, I’m sure I could’ve given him a breakdance beatdown and emerged victorious. Then again, wearing my mask I was virtually blind (which fit the character), so who knows how well I’d have reacted to the environment around me? Where was my radioactive sludge when I needed it? I left the event having danced so intently that my body was literally steaming. Did I go super saiyan?

Where are we?

Shopping for veges in Chinatown, we spied cheap New Zealand apples. Delight was quickly traded for disgust when we took a closer look. Garbage apples for garbage people, not fit for an apple connoisseur (bigot) such as I. Then things got weird. We noticed the cheap bananas and the previously silent dude unpacking them erupted into his best sales performance “GREAT BANANAS FROM THE PHILLIPPINES. 39 CENTS A POUND. DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY.” We crossed the road to check out what may have been apples but were probably tomatoes. Tomatoes they were, but apples were around. People were everywhere and randoms (I’m not sure they even realised I was a kiwi) started asking my advice on the New Zealand apples. The guys working there started possibly the most jovial yelling match I’ve ever seen with the shop across the road. Every minute or so people would yell in a language I couldn’t understand, but without menace. Then some fellow in a motorised wheelchair sped past with a gold coin in his mouth. Is this an odd occurrence? Forget it Leon, it’s Chinatown.

Is it possible to give too much candy?

My flatmate takes this shit seriously. Her girlfriend carved an awesome Cthulhu pumpkin, we decked the… deck out in cobwebs and danger tape. There’s a cauldron by our door filled with candy and a box of chips sitting next to it. I think we’re That House this year. The inventory for any child coming to our door is as follows:

  • Something gummy.
  • Something chocolate.
  • Rockets.
  • The shittiest lollipops.

All that AND a bag of chips. We’ve become everything I dreamed of as a child.

Thing is, a few of the tiny kids have stomachs that couldn’t fit that much and proportionately sized candy bags. There was a toddler dressed as a pumpkin who had no room for the packet of chips. We had to put it in his hands to take back to his mum. Are we part of the problem? Or just the best house ever?

Halloween, it’s a magic time where you can be anything you want. I think thanks to my flatmate I am everything I ever wanted to be. Also Daredevil, so watch out if you’re loitering in any hallways.

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A real horroarshow.

I hope this isn’t foreshadowing for a life spent as a furry, but wearing a onesie to work is a recipe for an amazing day. Nobody expects to see a dude in a tiger onesie when they get onto an elevator. Nobody. I saw a ton of kids pointing and smiling on my ride into work and in general I’ve been bringing delight into people’s days. I expected it to be swampy with sweat by this point in the day, but so far things are A-OK. This morning’s Irish coffees for our departing team member threatened to spoil the broth, but the day’s been simmering along nicely.

Real talk for a minute here: Drinking more would already push me to visit the bathroom frequently, but adding coffee to the mix? I’ve been bouncy, but for different reasons than a supposed Tigger costume. It’s worth mentioning that there’s no booty flap, so every time I need to sit down on the bog, the costume goes with it. I’ve basically been naked a bunch of times at work. Irish coffee? Costumes? Nudity? When did my life become Spring Break? Three cheers for Halloween.

It’s making me look forward to tomorrow’s trick or treating a little more. My flatmate went all out on getting candy/chocolate/chips for the neighbourhood kids, so we’re gonna set up on our deck with a cauldron, cobwebs and decorations in order to make sure they all have a wicked night. So many years have resulted in a pretty dismal turn out, so I’ve got my hopes up that tomorrow will buck the trend and bring in some visitors. It was such an joyous part of my childhood – roaming the neighbourhood in search of treats – that I’d be gutted to not pay it back.

Thing is though, I’ve never been great at small talk with children. If there’s something that freaks me out a little, it’s not knowing what to say. Adults I can kind of bullshit my way around, you can talk about the weather or INSERT LOCAL SPORTS REFERENCE HERE but I don’t even know what kids care about these days. Are Transformers, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers and Pokémon still relevant? Geez I hope so. When a kid shows up at my doorstep asking for candy, what am I supposed to say? How do you respond to something like that. The tried and true “what are you supposed to be?” seems more trite than anything. What if they give me shit about not knowing the latest Pokémon they’re dressed as? I used to be so on top of these things. What if I tell them that their Batman costume is rad and they’re all “I’m Lego Batman you fuck!” “What are you supposed to be?” “I’m TIRED OF YOUR SHIT OLD MAN.” I used to be so with it. What happened?

The last thing to think about is what I’m gonna dress as tonight. The party I’m going to has costume competitions and what kind of Halloween fan would I be if I didn’t try to participate? The categories are dumbest “sexy” costume (think Sexy Mustard, Sexy Donald Trump, Sexy Fire Hydrant) or most creative mash up (Sailor Freddy Mercury, Don Juan Bon Jovi). I’m tempted to wear my costume for tomorrow, seeing as I put some effort into it, but it doesn’t fit into either category. That leaves me with the option of adhering my tiger onesie to theme. Leading options are:

Tony Hawk

Cher Khan

A Tigger Warning

For one hot minute I thought I’d be able to sweep both categories by donning some underwear on top of my onesie and going for Calvin Klein. Then I realised the tiger is called Hobbes. Fuck.

These kids are right, I used to be with it. That’s a scary thought.

Did I Boggle their minds? I do that.

I’m not a normal person. This is news to exactly zero persons. If you’ve read anything I’ve written here, including the first two sentences of this paragraph, I’m sure you got that idea tout de suite. I know it, you know it and the rest of the world seems to know it. I’ve made my peace with it. I’m okay being the grown man who’s irrationally excited about getting to play Boggle tonight. I’m fine that my “wide berth” puns don’t land at the office (lies. You’re still bitter that didn’t get an applause break -Ed). I can even handle the fact the quick denial or silence responding to almost anything I say around here. What I’m not so copacetic about is this absurd notion of costume elitism that has people telling me that my tiger onesie isn’t a valid Halloween costume.

Cards on the table, I just want to use tomorrow as an excuse to wear what essentially amounts to a pair of pyjamas to work. They’re super comfy and the notion of workwear that includes a fur lined hood with ears and a tail on my bum takes me back to a time when I worked in a studio and owned a studio snuggie. Still, if there’s anything arts courses taught me it’s that anything is fine with adequate justification.

Team members have mentioned to me several times that I can’t just wear a onesie as a costume. They’ve also mentioned that they’re not dressing up, but “still” a onesie isn’t a costume. Another co-worker mentioned she might just wear cat ears. This was deemed as fine. I don’t understand what kind of values are attached here. Adornments to the head are justified, but a full body suit isn’t? Is it because I haven’t made the costume? People hire costumes all the time. I just happen to have found mine at a thrift store for $8. Also tigers are vicious beasts able to rend humans limb from limb. How is this not appropriate Halloween wear? I figure almost anything works for Halloween. It’s a day that celebrates the veil between the physical and spirit world at its thinnest means we can be what we want to be. If the trappings of reality are at their slimmest, why can’t I be a tiger? Why would face paint and teeth be necessary to make this costume proper attire? Part of the fun is being able to celebrate to whatever level you deem enjoyable.

I also hate the idea of elitism attached. Things evolve constantly and Halloween has come to move away from solely scary things and now is just an excuse to dress up. You can celebrate the things you enjoy in a way more reminiscent of Comicon or the like. It’s about enthusiasm and joy. I’m fine with this. Someone told me she was planning to dress up as a strawberry. How great is that? Why not be a seed covered fruit? The idea of sentient fruit is kind of terrifying to me anyway. Imagine a whole punnet of thinking, feeling little red orbs of sweetness staring back at you, silently judging you. *Shudder*.

Okay, so extra little disclosure: My onesie costume is just easier than my actual Halloween costume. My costume has a mask, accessories. The chance I’d actually be able to work in my costume is pretty unrealistic. I’d be constantly removing pieces and putting them on just for show. Why not have something that works by simply donning my hood? To be honest I think people are just jealous they don’t have such an easy costume on tap (let alone have a spare onesie at home just in case). Then again, I’m not a normal person, right?

Hack and slash fanfiction.

I’m endlessly fascinated by my impenetrably quiet co-worker. Yeah, I get it, he’s a quiet guy. Get a new bit already, dude. I kid. But because I’m naturally an instigator, I kind of feel like prodding a bit. I won’t, this I know, because I’m certain that any idea that’d populate my cranium would be tantamount to bullying. The correct course of action is LEAVE THE GUY BE. If he gave a shit, he’d do something about it. He probably realises I’m an empty corporeal shell who yaps relentlessly to hide the black hole of vapidity inside my soul. He’s not far off.

Which is why I can’t stop obsessing over my desire to constantly engage with him in the style of workplace Dilbert insipid homogeneity. Just drown him in senseless platitudes and unnecessary bollocks. Let’s say that his name is Ricky (it isn’t):

“Hey Ricky, see you’re on the waters today, eh? Gotta get all them aitch two ohs, eh buddy? Get some hydration happening up in this bitch? Dehydration? More like Denied, amirite? Don’t overdo it though fella, otherwise urine train’s coming into town, population you. HAHAHA. Remember when I said that urine train thing? Oh, you’re a funny guy, Rickster. Old Rickyroo. Rickmeister. Rickalicious. Keep on Rickin’ the free world. Geddit? Like the Dylan song? HAHAHA. Oh man, I wet myself here. You will too if you don’t knock off the waters. Urine Town, choo choo!”

“Rickee, my man, my boy, kiddo! Coffee time eh buddy? Getting some caffeine in the mix after all those mixers you’re going out to? Hitting the town instead of hitting the hay, eh? No kid gloves for you, you ol’ boxer boy. Bringing the beat back, sick beats all night, right? Do I know you or do I know you? Staying out late comin’ in late, making the evening go late ’cause you killed it so hard? ‘At’s my boy Rick. A full mug of joe for a joe with an ugly mug like you Rick. I kid, I kid, you’re a good kid, bet the gals can’t keep their mitts off you. Tell ’em to stay away from my babyfaced boy Rick, he’s just a young’un. He’s not ready yet? Who am I kidding? This kid was born ready. Keep knockin’ em down, slugger.”

“Subwaaay, eat freesh. That’s how we do, right pal? Gotta love a Subway sammie, a foot of bread for the breadwinner, eh bud? You’re all about that dough, right dog? Into your greens? That’s why you got so much lettuce eh fella? A head full o’ lettuce so you put a head o’ lettuce into your Subway too, right? “Leaf me alone here” he says. Ah kid, you’re killing me here. What am I? Chopped liver? Not in my sandwich though right El Dough-rado? What is that? Chicken fillet? You chicken? A spooked chook? Thought you were about the green not the yellow belly, ya big chook. Jokes man, jokes. Take it with a grain of salt. A WHOLEGRAIN of salt. You hear me, Sub Clubber?”

“Chips, eh? Some good ol’ chipperoos? Chips for a chip off the ol’ block? No chip on your shoulder, eh bud? Chipping away at the workday? I wasn’t looking at my clock, is it crunch time already? A bit of a snack attack, eh Zack? Not gonna cracker under the pressure, you’re too chipper for that. None of this chocolate chip nonsense. Salty sweet? Let’s cut out the sweetness, you’ve got enough on your own, eh bud? No unsavoury behaviour from my potaty mate Rick,eh? By the way what’re you up to this afternoon? I’m thinking of a conducting a suicide pact, you in?”

Oh that Rick. He slays me. Top notch bloke. Worst thing is, I have no idea if he’d get that it was a bit. I have no need to make my co-workers think I’m any weirder than they already think I am.

Does anyone else feel lighter after that?

Is there an easy checklist to figure out why you’re feeling bummed? It feels like it’d be so easy. Not just how am I feeling today? Something more along the lines of why am I FEELING today? I want something snappy, something with yes, no or definitive answers.

  • Have you eaten? Was this enough? What kind of things could be slowing you down? Sugar crashing? Complex carbs that’re difficult to digest? Meat sweats getting on top of you?
  • Have you been drinking water? Too much? Is your pee too clear to be healthy?
  • Caffeine intake? Too much? Not enough? How has your intake been over the past week? Are you withdrawing?
  • How much sleep did you get last night? Over the past few days?
  • Have you been drinking lately? How much over the past week? Could there be withdrawal here too?
  • How many restaurant meals have you eaten recently? Do you need more fresh food? Alternatively are you tired of sweating broccoli out from your pores?
  • How have you been looking at yourself in the mirror? Are you happy with what you see? If not, what don’t you like?
  • How has your creative outlook been? Have you found ways to express yourself?
  • Have you taken leisure time? Switched off and just existed without pressure for an hour or two?
  • Are you horny? Frustrated? Has your sexual activity been with others or more exclusive? What have you wanted?
  • Are there interpersonal pressures plaguing you? Family? Friends? Relationships?
  • How has your workload been lately? Too much to do? Too little?
  • Have you left the house and breathed fresh air? Felt natural temperature fluctuations rather than an artificial normalcy?
  • Have you been physically engaged? Worked? Are you exhausted?
  • Have you done anything out of the ordinary? If not, would you like to?
  • Is social media stressing you? Boring you? Making you fearful of humanity’s trajectory?
  • Did your favourite show kill off your favourite character? Do you feel bizarre pangs of entitlement to what the creators “owe you”?
  • How are your FOMO levels? Can you make it to all the engagements you want to? Do you resent a certain strategic social decision you had to make in order to leverage future invite potential?
  • Does your barista know your name? Did you try to make a clever in-joke only to be greeted by hollow laughter and glassy eyes that stared right through the empty shell where your soul once hung before the existential disconnect dropped it out through your feet?
  • Are you worried that your Halloween costume is too on the nose? Not cutting edge enough? Way too obvious? Too soon? Are you starting to regret that fucking ridiculous “Damaged” tattoo you got on your forehead last week in preparation? Are you worried that your Adnan Syed costume will be labelled as cultural appropriation (it will be. They won’t be wrong). Also NOBODY will get it. Are you really gonna dress as a piece of matzo with a bowtie on it and call yourself the Unleavened Doctor? Have you even thought about the logistics of something like that? Take that fucking stupid idea and manischovitz up your ass, you piece of shit.
  • Have you adequately used your daily writing project to vent a little?

Saying yes, And stepping up.

I’m not a quick thinker. I’ve never had a gift for improv. I don’t have instantly witty replies on hand and practically the only thing I can summon at will are puns. It’s a niche subset of skills and in most situations it’s not particularly useful. There is a skill I’d like that requires intuitive understanding, a fast read of a situation and the willingness to act. It’s a quality in others that I’ve always admired and have always desired for myself: I’d like to learn to step in and help.

Scenario: My girlfriend and I were walking down to the subway. An animated (as in active, this was real life not some Roger Rabbit style caper) fellow was reaching down, tugging on a woman’s boots and flashing a magazine clipping close to her face. I caught snippets of the word “boots” and some awkward slightly nervous laughing from the gal. My spider sense flashed as my girlfriend asked me “do you think they know each other?” It doesn’t really look like it” I replied. We kept an eye on them. Frankly it was hard not to, the behaviour just seemed to deviate from Torontonians’ usual reserved nature in public. We sat down and continued to look. The guy continued, but a flicker of something passed around the woman’s face. She nodded, then turned and started to walk off. The guy followed. Something about his manner of speech also appeared to be different. Perhaps a little developmentally challenged, social cues not recognised. She pivoted and walked back the other way, he followed again.

I started to turn towards my girlfriend, who’d already risen to her feet. Before I could ask what the best course of action was, she’d already headed towards the situation. Like a useless limb, I stood but watched, not knowing how to intervene. “Toni” my girlfriend said loudly, looking straight at the woman “how’re you doing? I haven’t seen you in ages!” The gal latched on immediately “I know, right? How many years has it been?” My girlfriend brought her over to me while the guy stood awkwardly behind. He walked off to the back of the subway car then got off at the next stop. The girl exhaled deeply. “Thank you so much. I didn’t really know what to do. I work with developmentally disabled kids, so I didn’t want to do anything aggressive. I think he didn’t understand the situation, but I was starting to feel threatened. Toni though? Why Toni?” I beamed a little with pride at my girlfriend’s quick thinking and felt slightly in awe. Swift, decisive and effective. She thanked us for the help (us? What the hell did I do?) and we wished her a good night.

We talked about it later and I voiced both my desire to be able to step in during situations like that and my inability to think on my feet. I thought back to the Zanta incident. I hope that this doesn’t come off like an intended excuse, but I do have a legitimate concern in a harassment situation like the Zanta case, that intervening as a male can cause the situation to escalate to a physical one rapidly. With a lack of pride I voiced my concern to my girlfriend of my desire to help, but fear over coming to actual physical harm. Uncharismatic as it is but willing as I would be to pitch in, my disinclination towards walking away with black eyes and fewer teeth counterbalanced this. She nodded and suggested intervention in a non-physical way, either alerting officials or in the case of the TTC, pressing the passenger assistance alarm. She’s a wise one. The only thought that popped into my head when thinking of a non-conflict resolution was blurting out some kind of strange non-sequitur. Seeing some kind of heated argument, walking up close and loudly asking “seriously, what’s with dogs being made to wear human clothes? Isn’t that kind of fucked up? Like, what happens if a dog gets a T-shirt put on and doesn’t have the opposable thumbs to take it off. Is that animal abuse?” Are hack Seinfeld impressions a viable option? Please say yes.

The bystander effect is a real thing and I understand why it happens. Not knowing how to resolve a situation, fear of personal harm and a wish that someone could come along and make everything better. I feel like there’s only been one time I jumped in without thinking. We were at the beach on holiday, a bunch of friends all hanging out. Two of our friends were out a bit deeper and one of them wasn’t particularly active. Someone called out and asked if they were ok. One of them replied that she was fine, but she wasn’t sure about her boyfriend. I knew I was a decent swimmer and instantly started running in. A friend and I kept him floating, but ultimately it was a local surfer who stopped off and gave us the information we needed. He guided us to get ready and brace for some upcoming rocks, that they’d be our best chance of latching on and climbing back up to shore. Everything worked out fine in the end, but that moment could’ve changed our lives forever without a quick reaction. His eyes were pale as milk. I still think about it from time to time.

Then again, I also think about dogs wearing human clothing.

More like The Child in the Mirror.

Goddamn time management, you are a cruel master. Here I am just wanting to sit around and do hungover things and you’re resting a foot on my back, holding me down over the keyboard. I’m not hungover, I don’t even feel messy from last night, but somehow that hasn’t precluded this desire to laze about and devour anything edible. So far today I’ve had a mocha, ginger crunch, a big jonagold apple, pickled carrots, scrambled eggs with cheese curds and marmite toast. I may also have eaten some peanut butter from the jar with a fork. If this isn’t living Sunday up Big Willie Style then I don’t know what is.

I’ve recently resumed one of my favourite hobbies: Drinking. It’s the kind of thing I’d be horrified to have as a character quirk, but it certainly does add quirk to my character. I feel like things have changed since my last vacation from alcohol. I still like to drink a bit, but my comfort levels with heavier intoxication have dipped back. I switch to the water far more often than I did. I’m not 20 any more and while there’s a ton of appeal to cracking a few, getting to that munted state lacks the same excitement. The thing that I have been enjoying picking up the glass again is finding that special brand of excitement that comes with a few drinks. Alcohol is still an upper for me (shit, this feels like the first act of a biopic before the fall) and with the a balanced level I just get fascinated by things. I want to learn more about everything everyone is doing. Why no, I don’t know anything about discordant fashion and its influence over time. You know about how angles and lighting evoke intentional moods in vintage photography? No, I have no idea about anything to do with glass blowing. Insects are a viable food source? TEACH ME. Why would I not want to know more about things I’ve never experienced. Sober, I don’t always feel capable of mustering interest. If I’ve drunk just enough, everything is fascinating.

I guess the other way to look at it is that drinking puts me into a more childish state. There’s a kind of wonderment to the world because it feels like I’m looking at it with fresh eyes (or beer goggles, take your pick). If something unusual happens while drinking it seems heightened. So when the DJ last night paused Sisqo‘s Thong Song for an a capella breakdown, of course it was The Best Thing. He didn’t quite get to the key change, but it’s probably for the best. You know how back in the days of The Beatles, teenage fans would get so excited they’d faint? That’s not the kind of thing we want happening in a classy Toronto bar. I know, from this sober perspective, that my body would’ve evoked the infinitely feeble defence mechanism of a fainting goat had an a capella thong song key change gone down. So for the sake of my non-throbbing head this morn, I’m thankful.

The other astounding development was coming to terms with the fact that the bar had a working copy of the Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker arcade box. A tangible sensation washed over me was I beheld this object before me. A 3 player scrolling beat-em-up in which each different Michael Jackson has some type of elemental blast he can hurl at enemies. I skipped ahead on a Youtube playthrough and he not only turns into a giant robot, but also transforms into a fucking plane and flies away. How I left that bar without soiling myself in glee, I don’t know. I placed my quarter in and waited. Nothing happened. I looked down and realised that coin slot 1 was jammed and the door was left swinging open, but blocked from customers. Much like Led Zeppelin, there was No Quarter. Forlorn, I bowed my head and let the sadness wash over me. I left the bar still in high spirits, but knowing full well that I’d left a part of my soul there.

Then I realised that The Internet exists, the game is downloaded and my girlfriend and I have newfound evening plans. Shamon!