Halloween and Our Escape From Reality

Trivia and anecdotes from a needed diversion

by Daniel Smiechowski

Everyone needs an escape. Once a year like drunken sailors in a Spanish port we celebrate on the eve of November 1st being the Day of the Dead and a holy day of obligation excepting for possible abrogation on the Catholic calendar.

The gales on the Great Lakes are not called the November Witch without context. Frightening things happen on Halloween and we embrace the escape unto death. The irony of this day surrounds society’s need for fantasy through the prism of life, tragedy and comedy. It reminds one of another religious holy day, Ash Wednesday and all the hoopla of Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent. As for Halloween and from the strange but true files comes the response of Catholic Clergy to the horrific earthquake that struck the city of Lisbon on All Saints Day during the life of The Great Voltaire. The affected citizens broken in spirit and seeking solace by way of Christ were admonished as sinners and the cause for this catastrophe by leaders of the Catholic Church. Fast forward to the year 2015, although we may not have any coinciding natural disasters, we sure as hell have sinners.

Speaking of life and sinners and the irony of fantasy on Halloween, I drove a limo for years on this day of revelry in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and would swear that I was in the Paris, France district of Pigalle. The women and a few men wore virtually no clothes as they were presumably born unto life. Debauchery ran unabated as the streets were flooded by fantasy seekers in a boiling tea pot. All of this youth and sexuality reminds me of the classic film Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise) where one of the main actors blends in the festivities where everyone has a mask and dances the night away. Humanity has sought an escape since the beginning.

The innocent days of cute boys and girls dressed as cowboys, sailors, a princess and other seemingly tame costumes appear the exception and not the rule. The sensitivity of a Maurice Chevalier and one of his most famous quotes, “Thank heaven for little girls” seems a vestige of years gone by. The American male would probably emasculate himself in such endearment. Today’s Halloween is far too crude, almost vulgar in comparison with each ensuing year offering more shock value. Have a safe and happy Halloween and most importantly, don’t forget the long departed.

Be nice, do good deeds and don’t be a stranger as we at the Clairemont Times value your participation.

Daniel J Smiechowski has been a resident of Clairemont since 1967 and can be reached at smiechowskid@aol.com or 858 220 4613

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