On Halloween, I put a bowl of candy out for the earlybirds while it was still daylight. A couple of the pregaming neigborhood kids came sniffing around like they wanted to say hi to my kids and show off their costumes. Of course, they were really sniffing for some tailgater candy, which is like “free” candy, not tallying as part of the official haul. I was happy to oblige.
Then I went back in to round up my own children, and to beg them to eat a single bite of pizza, so we could pretend dinner and protein was a thing that happened. They were too jacked up. I left the bowl — about fifty bucks worth of top shelf candy — unattended on my porch. Ten minutes later, I went out to check on it, and it was gone. I saw a pack of maurading thieves in the distance, teenagers herdling three to four steps at a time as they bounded up to the doors with their freak-ass gazelle legs.
I was irritated, but I also knew that I had made a rookie mistake. I was a ten year veteran QB, but I had just thrown an interception into double coverage off my back foot. That was on me.
I began to think of Halloween as a Werner Herzog doc. I had envisioned it as utopian, where children would each politely take one piece. Reality is there are predators in nature.
“The common denominator of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility and murder. There is no kinship, no understanding, no mercy,” Herzog would narrate in his German accent, slow motion camera funneling into my empty bowl of candy.
A few days later, I decided I wanted an inflatable turkey for the front yard. Immediately. ASAP. Urgently. No time to think, consider, mull, wait. I must have this. In my yard. By sundown. As desires for inflatable turkey go.
Lowes is in full-blown Christmas Asshole mode, which means they are posting Elf movie memes on Facebook and making hot cocoa out of crackpipes. Home Depot sketches me out with their dead-eyed employees. But Big Lots had Turkeys for sale and available in store for pick up. Bingo. Blammo. Or whatever it is you say when you triumphantly find an inflatable Turkey during the SkipThanksgvingChristmasAsshole-pocalypse.
I drove over to the Big Lots, which looked like a tornado had hit it. No matter. I confidently strolled the aisles looking for one of the six “in stock” Turkeys. They were nowhere to be found. I went around a second, and third time. I began to feel dread. I was going to have to do the unthinkable. Ask an employee.
Of course there were none, as I imagined the tragic tornado had carried them off. Finally, I asked the cashier. To my complete horror, she announced over the loudspeaker “we got any inflatable turkeys?” A few minutes later, a voice coldly answered back in her walkie talkie, “nah.” Everyone behind me in line would think of me for the rest of the day, the person who was inflatable-turkey-rejected in front of everyone. I think I’d rather be turned down a marriage proposal skywriting in an airplane at DisneyWorld. Jesus.
I wanted to point to what the Internet says, but it was the kind of atmosphere where you would have to be bleeding out in aisle four to get any further attention. Rather than push it, I ordered it on the website, and twenty minutes later, I got a notification that my Turkey was ready for pick up. I considered complaining to the manager or rubbing it the cashier’s face, but I remained mindful that I was buying a goddamn inflatable turkey and living my best life, and there was absolutely no reason to complain.
Except about those teenagers, with their fistfuls of Limited Edtion Take Five Reese Cup fun sizes. Nature is cruel, and next year there will be raisins and blood — but mostly raisins, as my revenge.