COMMENTARY:

Thinking Scary Thoughts

by Fred Cederholm
Fallen/falling political/public figures from the year that was are always fodder for satire and Halloween costume revelry. And...this has proven to be quite a year, indeed!
I’ve been thinking about scary. Actually I’ve been thinking about Halloween, children, adults, costumes, newsmakers, and indictments. The end of October marks the season of ghosts, goblins, and scary things--all in the context of gallows humor and tricking and treating.

You see, Halloween, the celebration of All Hallow’s Eve, has become a big deal in this country--rivaling the marketing, the decorations, the parties, and fun and games second only to Christmas. I’m getting prepared with my lighted pumpkins and Hershey bars, I’m prepared for being scared and laughing a lot; but this Halloween, I’m not certain I’m prepared for the coming grand jury indictments and impending constitutional crisis that looms before US/us this week.

The children (of all ages) who will show up at my door on October 31st are the fun part. I so enjoy the bright little faces decked out as ballerinas, cowboys, scarecrows, princesses, and the latest movie/cartoon personages. Their expressions, when they see the traditional Hershey bar treats given by the Cederholm household, are absolutely priceless. Little Mac II, my black Scottish terrier, is pretty much "woofed out" by 8:30 p.m. Guarding Fred and his home from all the ghoulish visitors is a lot of work for this little guy and he will be exhausted for a couple days.

I became exposed to the adult side of Halloween when I was in college, when I lived in Houston and Oak Park, and when I worked for the FDIC/RTC. Your costume/persona took a great deal of thinking and effort because you were judged by your creativity and how you somehow "perverted" the newsmakers of the year into a memorable/hilarious costume creation.

The winners covered the full spectrum. There was the couple who came as "Moodonna, the material girl" in a cow suit--complete with blond wig, jewels, and a prom dress; or, the pair that showed up as frustrated shepherd and his sheep (that ensemble had to be explained to me). There was the fallen, teary-eyed tele-evangelist complete with his bag of toys. Marge coming as Tammy Faye, "the Baker," with a tray of mascara-decorated pastries containing clandestine files for an escape from jail, was a real hoot. "Rocky Horror Picture Show" characters are always good for a laugh--particularly if they are really out-of-character for the reveler in question.

Over the years I actually won "best of show" twice--but I paid the price in the weeks/days that followed. My first victory had me decked out in a Gandhi diaper with the exposed parts of me sporting skeleton bones painted on in white liquid shoe polish. OK..., that was 25 years (and sixty plus pounds) ago, and later when I finally showered off, the bone images "burned" into my skin lasted another couple of weeks. For my last win, I came as a scarecrow. The kickers here were the 28-pound pumpkin I wore on my head and the aquarium hose that ran up my sleeve from my hand into the pumpkin so I could consume party beverages without breaking costume and remain anonymous. After supporting that pumpkin's head for four hours, I couldn’t turn my neck for days. I thought I was being smart and clever; I was actually dumb and sore.

Fallen/falling political/public figures from the year that was are always fodder for satire and Halloween costume revelry. And... this has proven to be quite a year, indeed! Will we see Tom Delay figures decked out in the striped pajamas and leg irons a la the Texas chain gang characters from "Cool Hand Luke"? Will the Delay personas be seeking hard-boiled eggs and beer as their treats? What about former Illinois Governor George Ryan and his crew, who are now on trial in Chicago for their alleged misdeeds and questionable activities?

On Friday, October 28th, the clock runs out for the Fitzgerald grand jury inquiries into the Valerie Plame affair, the mis-hyping of the rationale behind the invasion of Iraq, and the related matters of conspiracy and cover-up at the highest executive levels.

On Friday, October 28th, the clock runs out for the Fitzgerald grand jury inquiries into the Valerie Plame affair, the mis-hyping of the rationale behind the invasion of Iraq, and the related matters of conspiracy and cover-up at the highest executive levels. Unless the inquiries are extended (highly unlikely), we will see indictments and un-indicted co-conspirators named. Or, the matters will be dropped without any actions taken (also highly unlikely). The results of these grand jury investigations will impact Halloween 2005 and its gallows humor. Which White House poobahs will be depicted in straitjackets and orange jumpsuits? Will Secret Service Agents and US Marshalls be sporting white coats and large butterfly nets for "trick or treating" in 2005? It’s scary!

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.


Copyright 2005 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at asklet@rochelle.net



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This story was published on October 24, 2005.