Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Howling Monsters R Us

"Being bad feels pretty good, huh?" -- John Bender (Judd Nelson), The Breakfast Club

Halloween brings out the worst in people. And we love it.

We relish the opportunity to wear the bad or unsavory parts of our selves on the outside for once, rather than keeping them pinned down in the solitary confinement chambers of our conscience.

At Halloween, males dress up like horror movie killers, or deformed mutants, or women, or Joe the Plumber. Males get to be someone frightening or famous, or they get to wear women's clothes without having to give up their NRA card and NASCAR fan gear. Well-behaved females get to dress like sluts from a porn movie. Slutty women get to dress like the sluts they are, which is to say they get to look just like the well-behaved females who, for one day, seem to be jealous of their naturally slutty gifts.

The day gives us that one precious chance to celebrate our darker dreams, to display the demons we keep in check so well for those other 364 days.

Before I was married, I had five serious relationships. Two of them ended in the aftermath of Halloween. Believe me when I say it wasn't coincidence. The worst parts of both people emerged to battle on a metaphorical playground, challenging the other: Can you handle this part of me? Here's your warning. Leave now, and don't look back!

The tragic part is how much we love our dark sides. Most of us talk a good game about how we want to walk that straight and narrow path and do the right things, but very few of us can escape this life without finding a few small paths off that dusty trail, escapes from a very long path with very few curves, bends, or changes of scenery.

The human part is how ineffectual our goodness is without our badness. As my buddy Mark so loves to point out, even Superman enjoyed his Red Kryptonite every once in a while. [Translation for those who don't know comic book lore: Red Kryptonite never has the same effect on Superman, but the effect is always something counter to his nature as the supreme savior of American innocence. Generally it turned Superman into something of a self-centered prick who cared mostly for himself. Superman feared Red Kryptonite mostly because, when exposed to it, he had the time of his life and never wanted it taken from him.]

Without Red Kryptonite, Clark Kent is probably still a virgin. 'Nuff said.

But back to the point. We carry these bad parts around because they tend to be inextricably tied to our good ones. Yin, meet Yang, so to speak. Or to put it another way, who hasn't watched Dexter and found themselves fighting not to enjoy it?

Maybe we do ourselves wrong by celebrating the bad side only one day out of the year. Maybe we should dedicate a whole month. Maybe we should call October "The Dark Month" and allow ourselves a little bit more lenience.

It's probably wrong that I teach Sunday School.

Billy's 2008 Ghoulies + Ghosties Mix
  1. Peek-a-Boo - Devo
  2. Scared, Are You? - Better Than Ezra
  3. Superman's Dead - Our Lady Peace
  4. Black Moon Creeping - The Black Crowes
  5. Dim and the Dark - Jump
  6. Angels or Devils - Dishwalla
  7. Wave of Mutilation - Pixies
  8. Strange - R.E.M.
  9. Evil - Interpol
  10. Vampire - The Blakes
  11. The Beast in Me - Johnny Cash
  12. Graveyard Girl - M83
  13. Don't Come the Cowboy With Me, Sonny Jim - Kelly Willis
  14. Good Monsters - Jars of Clay
  15. The Frog Prince - Keane
  16. Cry in the Dark - Juliana Hatfield
  17. The Devil Never Sleeps - Iron + Wine
  18. All You Zombies - Hooters
  19. The Pretender - Foo Fighters
  20. Sin Wagon - Dixie Chicks
  21. The Best Deceptions - Dashboard Confessional
The complete mix above can be made available for those interested. Leave me a request via comment and an email address or some other way of providing you a link.

1 comment:

Guy & Lisa's Baby Blog said...

In fact, in some systems of belief, Halloween signals the turning inward part of the year -- introspection, one's darker self, the mysteries. I think that our culture often makes a dichotomy of "light" and "dark" and that's part of the problem. Light = good. Dark = bad. The ability to embrace our wholeness, to know ourselves well enough to figure out how to balance and own our darkness, is often missing in many systems. Our inherent darkness can be a source of revelation, inspiration and change, if we own it, use it and work with it. For example, righteous rage: rage can be a destructive force but, channelled properly, can be used to fight for a cause, drive ourselves physically. Just my two cents and then some...

Might I have a link to the entirity of your delicious mix of tuns? I'm behind on my Halloween mixes this year -- which is to say I haven't managed to get any done yet.

I enjoy reading your blog and listening to some of the tunes you post.

lisafbruce @ gmail dot com