Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stillwater: A Memoir of Boyhood Part 3

My Mom and I were sitting in the Westview Mall at the Woolworth’s lunch counter where they had that awesome grape pop bubbling away in some plastic vat and fairly palatable burgers. She said to me, “What do you want to go as for Hallowe’en.” Ever the freak, I looked around me and said, “A hotdog.” Never one to be daunted, Mom said, “OK.”
So, my dad, my brother, and my Mom got some chicken wire and formed a hotdog bun, my size from knee to neck. Then my Mom got some vinyl of a hot-doggish brown color. From this, she made a semi-elliptical skirt to my knees and a helmet, with eyes, of course. She covered the chicken wire with an old sheet that she died bun brown, and to make the edges authentic, she couldn’t spring for yellow paint, so we used French’s mustard. Nobody in our staid British family ate anything as spicy as French’s mustard except my bro, so he was SOL and Mom used up the jar. Right before we had to go to the town hall for the Halloween, she slathered my sides with French’s. Naturally, with any sort of mask, you lose a certain portion of your vision and with this mask a major portion. Also, because of the vinyl hood, hearing was highly impaired as well. Still, Mom, God bless her, had given me what I wanted, despite the patent absurdity of the concept.
Proud as Punch, I waddled out to the car and everyone got in. But me. This was a problem we had not considered. I could not bend, plus I was massive. I believe, because of the masses of French’s mustard that I was wearing, someone fetched a tarpaulin and covered the back seat. Then my brother and father tipped me over and, getting French’s mustard all over their shirts, loaded me horizontally in the back of the 1960 green Ford Mercury Montclair.
The ride to the town hall was reminiscent of Edgar Poe’s Premature Burial. I couldn’t see, hear or move. And I was particularly concerned that my chicken wire exoskeleton was denting out of bun perfection.
Eventually, we got there and I was unloaded in complete indignity, rather like a log being pulled off the greenchain. So, thus discombobulated, with only the most rudimentary vision and virtually no hearing, I went in to the gala event.
Of course nobody recognized me and I couldn’t eat or drink anything, so I just wobbled around. Some girl kept coming up and trying to be lovey-dovey to me and I kept telling her to leave me alone. It was the next day that my parents told me that the girl was my friend Reg. I don’t know if Reg carried on with his cross-dressing practice in later life, but he certainly had talent.
Then there was the judging of the costumes. I couldn’t tell this was going on as I was deaf and half blind, but someone shoved me in a ring and I shambled around in circles. The system was that they would call you out as you were eliminated, but since I was effectively removed from communication with the rest of the world, someone eventually had to grab me by the shoulders and lead me away from the competition. I hope the fkr still smells of French’s mustard to this day.
To say that the hot dog-costume episode was a disaster would be understatement. I eventually got removed from the iron-lung-like apparatus so I could enjoy the party. But, I was one tuckered little cowboy by then and all I wanted to do was go home to bed and take comfort with Lambert my lion.

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