It is the witching hour, and I have slept for approximately 18 hours today, so I am currently wide awake, thinking Halloween thoughts because someone in my town put up a Halloween decoration of a man hanging from a gallows that enraged a bunch of people.
If you have known me for any length of time, you will know that I am not easily offended (horking being the notable exception), so my natural inclination was to not be offended. And here is why: death is fucking scary.
The only thing we really know about death is that it will happen and that there is sweet fuck-all that we can do about it. There are lots of horrible ways to die: you could get your head sawn off by a nutbar on a Greyhound bus, you could be shot by a police officer who thinks you are reaching for a gun when you are reaching for your insurance, your airplane could crash in the middle of the ocean, you could have a ruptured brain aneurysm, you could step on a rusty nail and not bother getting a tetanus shot, you could be executed for your religious or political beliefs. Or you could die at home in bed of old age while dreaming a nice dream about that time you watched a giant sea turtle laying her eggs on the beach in Costa Rica. Either way, death sucks.
Halloween helps us deal with the scary shit in life. It forces us to look at the thing we are most afraid of and, for one night, laugh in its face. Celebrate it, even. And sure, it's become just as silly and commercialized as the rest of the holidays, but its essence, that spirit of acknowledging the dark unknown, is more important than any other holiday except maybe Thanksgiving, the life-yin to the death-yang of All Hallow's Eve.
If it makes you uncomfortable to look at death, congratulations! You are probably a relatively well-adjusted human being. But there's a reason we buy kids goldfish as pets. That little fishy, like Grandpa, will die, and so will you, someday. Death doesn't give a shit about how old you are, or about how good you are, or about how you make a concerted effort to reduce your carbon footprint. He's kind of a dick, and he's often pretty ugly. You don't have to like looking at him, but that doesn't mean that you should hide your eyes, either, because he's real and he'll come for you eventually and you should know that. So in the meantime, let's play dress-up and look that rat-bastard in the eye and knock on the doors of strangers and have them give us a little something sweet to help soften the inevitable death-blow.
Happy Halloween, and riot on.