Press Release of the Week: Safety First!

Happy almost-Halloween, Barrelhouse Nation! If you're anything like me -- and my Bill O'Reilly-sized ego prevents me from considering the possibility that you're not -- you can't wait to get costumed up and go gallivanting out into the night, filling your stomach with Fun Size Three Musketeers bars, Candy Corn and Rice Krispie Squares. Maybe, like me, you're also looking forward to smashing a few pumpkins, jumping out from behind a few trees to scare the elderly (it's the only way they'll learn to stay inside), downing a couple bottles of Robitussin and doing donuts in the Wal Mart parking lot until you pass out behind the wheel.

Sounds like fun, right? Well, unfortunately, there are those who just can't stand the idea of other people enjoying themselves. Sad, sad people who have so little fun in their own lives that their only joy comes from ruining everyone else's good times.

Take the Debbie Downers at the California Poison Control System, who provide this list of "safety tips" for Halloween:

-- Small, hard pieces of candy are potential choking hazards for small children.
-- Tell your kids not to eat treats until they return home and you have checked all items.
-- Candy that is unwrapped should be discarded. Fruit treats should be washed and cut open.

Now just stop right there, California Poison Control System. What's this about "fruit treats"? If your kid comes home with an apple or a banana or a bunch of grapes, forget washing them. How about asking your kid this: "What part of 'When someone gives you fruit, you turn around and hurl it right back at their house' did you not understand?" And then you take that child by the hand and march him or her down the street, back to the home of whatever lame-o is passing out fruit (or pencils, or stickers, or toothbrushes -- especially toothbrushes!), and you let that child watch while Daddy demonstrates what red-blooded Americans do to pansies who want to teach kids about "good health" instead of giving them the goddamned candy they deserve. Sure, they may cry. They may say things like "Daddy, I don't think he's breathing anymore." But the next time they get a fucking apple, they'll know exactly where to stick it.

As if that weren't enough, the California Poison Control System also advises that you throw away any "homemade treats" your kids get, unless they come from individuals that you "know or trust." Which I guess is fine for some parents. The parents who insist on holding their kids' hands everywhere they go, who'll probably lay their clothes out for them every morning until they go away to college. To these worry-worts, let me ask you this: When your precious Joey or Greggy or Stevie is a college freshman and he goes to his first jamband concert, are you going to be there to explain that eating two or three ganja gooballs, a few hits of homemade ecstasy and then scarfing down a jumbo "kind" brownie is maybe not the best idea? Let me answer that for you: No you will not. That's a lesson your kid will have to learn for himself, and all you'll be able to do is pray to whichever God you believe in that he's at least four miles from the nearest interstate while he's learning it.

So why not get a head start and teach little Susie or Mandi or Carrie that important life lesson at an early age? Nothing teaches like experience, people, and I'll guarantee that after your little tyke bites into her first razor blade, she'll think twice the next time Joe Bob offers one of his homemade candy apples.

Next up on the list of people who just can't seem to mind their own damn business is the YMCA, who want to make sure that Halloween is "spooky -- but not scary." You know what, assholes? Halloween is supposed to be scary. Life is scary. Sure we could follow your "tips" and dress our kids in "light-colored, flame-retardant costumes." But where's the fun in that? Have you ever seen a real vampire with reflective strips plastered across his cape? Maybe that kid won't get hit by a car, but I'll guarantee you right now some middle-schooler's gonna push him to the ground and steal his candy. Is that what you want? Is it?

And sure, we could cover our kids in flame-retardant materials, but then how can we expect them to ever learn the dangers of fire? Nothing like a couple stop-drop-n-rolls to teach the youngsters not to play with matches. And if little Caitlin knows the flaming batons won't set her Undead Cheerleader costume aflame, what motivation will she have to learn how to juggle the damn things? Next thing you know Caitlin's a teenager who can't make a single sports team because she's got the hand-eye coordination of a three-year-old.

Then there's this tip: "Trick-or-treat only within your own neighborhood, only to homes you know." You know what that sounds like to me, Mr. YMCA? Segregation. You poor kids stay in the trailer park, with your generic Spree and crappy Bit-o-Honeys, while Richie Rich and Tommy Trust Fund walk the beautiful tree-lined streets of the suburbs, feasting on king-sized Butterfingers and Snowballs. Maybe you've never heard of a certain lady-person named Rosa Parks, Mr. YMCA, but she sat her ass down in the front of a bus so her grandkids could trick or treat in whatever neighborhood they damn well pleased. When a busload of kids from the inner city rolls up in front of your house, don't you even think about turning off the lights and pretending you're not home!

This tip may be the worst one yet: Germ-x brand hand sanitizer wants you to hand out its product to kids this Halloween, instead of candy, to help stop the spread of germs.

"By using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer such as Germ-X, manufactured by Vi-Jon Laboratories, Inc. in St. Louis, in between "trick or treating" stops this Halloween, kids and parents will reduce the risk of getting sick by killing 99.9 percent of harmful germs they have come in contact with."

And by passing out hand sanitizer on Halloween, you'll increase the risk by roughly 99.9 percent that some kid will piss all over your front door. And you know what? You'll deserve it, asshole!

Unfotunately, these do-gooders just don't know when to stop. It's not enough for them to tell you how to raise your kids, or what to hand out to trick-or-treaters, or how to carve pumpkins. Nope, now they also want to tell you how you can and can't dress your pet.

"Many pet owners like to include their dog or cat in their Halloween celebrations, and pets enjoy being part of the family festivities as well," says Dr. Dan Carey, a veterinarian with The Iams Company. "Sadly, in the process, many owners do their four-legged friends a great disservice by dressing them in uncomfortable costumes or giving them rich, non-nutritional treats."

According to Iams, when choosing a costume for a pet, we should pick one that "doesn't restrict movement or hamper vision." Maybe these Iams people missed the part where our pets were our property! We are their overlords! If I want to dress Mr. Wiggles in this Darth Vader costume, then shove his face full of Peanut Brittle, I'm damn well going to do it!

So, Barrelhousers, let's review what we've learned. Halloween is a great American holiday, just like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Administrative Professionals Day. And if, as a freedom-loving American, you want to take some risks this Halloween, well then it's your God-given right to do so. Do you think Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. wore flame-retardant costumes while they threw all that British tea into Boston Harbor one day a long time ago? I don't think so! That sounds like something the French would do on Bastille Day. So go ahead and practice "safety first," Frenchie, but don't be surprised when some freedom-loving patriot shoots you right in your kneecaps with his musket. USA! USA! USA!

1 comment:

TMC said...

I can't imagine forcing my mom's cat to wriggle into a t-shirt. She might bite my hand off.

Also, I really sincerely hope no barrelhouse readers are pet-dressers. I'll just leave it at that.