I’ll be giving out raisins this Halloween. I’m going to dress in a full clown costume with really well-done makeup and a nose that honks and I’ll have streamers pop out as I open the door. I’ll be all jazzed up, like post-adderall-snort fired up (because I will have just snorted adderall to give out candy to kids). “Hey Kids! Love that Olaf costume!” I’ll say as the fattest child starts to process that I’m the “fun neighbor.” Then I’ll say, “Be right back!” And I’ll run into the kitchen as I scream out, “Just gotta get that big bowl of candy!” At this point an 8-10 year old kid’s imagination is running wild. “Adult-clown-guy gets it” they’ll be thinking as they try to make room for the king-sized candy buffet I’m about to put out. They’ll wonder if one bag will be enough to contain the bounty about to bestowed upon them. They’ll pray for enough candy to cause Type-2 diabetes, the disease of kings. Then I come back with the biggest fucking bowl of raisins they’ve ever seen. I’ll gleefully sing, “Nature’s Candy!” and place a single carton into each of their bags. Those kids will be shocked. Shell shocked like a high kid who just saw police lights. They’ll go through every stage of mourning until their shoulders slump down in acceptance. They’ll all look like three day old balloons. They’ll look back at mom and then look back at me and say thank you. And I’ll say “You’re welcome! Because expecting candy bars at every house is insane! Here’s some stickers, too. Now get off my lawn!”
I did a show at a Florida college recently and when a joke about post-college malaise didn’t land with the punch it typically does, I stopped.
I realized something.
Then, I looked at the audience and I said, “You do realize you’re not all going to have beach houses, right?” Like forest animals at night, their eyes just shined back at me, glazed and uncertain. I don’t think they ever once intellectually considered the reality that none of them would ever own a beach house. I mean, maybe they’ll score a foreclosure next to a screen-printed tee-shirt shop on the panhandle, but they’ll never own the beach house each and every one of them sees in their head. That’s something isn’t it? That sentiment drives right past the exit for “optimism” on its way to “delusion.” Yet — and I say this because I felt this way too — I don’t think most of us have ever actively thought, “I will own a beach house.” It’s more that we’ve never even considered its unlikelihood. It’s fascinating to me that the default setting of any one at the precipice of true adulthood (paycheck, bills, health insurance) is “beach house….yup, probably.”
Inevitably — and I wouldn’t want it any other way — more than one of you will comment on this article about how you’ll definitely have a beach house and it will contain some sentiments about “hard work” and “attitude” and you may mistakenly believe that your collegiate personality will translate to the working world. That’s OK. But you’re wrong and some targets are only meant to be aimed at. That uncle with the great connections will probably only give advice. That family friend that took your resume just to be nice. That girl with the great boobs noticed you staring and didn’t care because you’re 22 and look more baby than man. We will not have beach houses.
Life is raisins, not candy. Nourishing, if a bit dull. So I’m meant to wonder, are we better off knowing that? Or should we buy the beach house lie? My instinct, and perhaps yours too, is that optimism should always win out. “Shoot for the stars and you’ll end up on the moon, gasping for air, as you freeze to death,” my grandfather always said. But perhaps we should look at life more like a boxing match: step into the ring believing you can win, but knowing your vulnerabilities. It’s not always going to work out. But that’s OK, because getting candy at every house? That’s for children.
Find out what are some of the worst Halloween costumes the staff has worn…