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Halloween Isn’t Overrated, You’re Just Unimaginative

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There are two stories I want to relay to you. The first one is about attempted sobriety:

Early in my postgraduate life, I found myself blacking out often, especially on weekends while chasing that pre-whiskey-dick-one-night-stand-sexual-hero dragon. That’s a serviceable way of life when confined to a small, safe university town, surrounded by friends who could both get you home and explain what the hell happened the previous night. However, when you’re alone in a large city and meeting a lot of people for the first time, it can lead to some panicky mornings. Thoughts like, “I ate pizza?” and “Those HAVE to be ingrown hairs on my balls” were frequent. I didn’t know how to drink less than large quantities, which sounds like alcoholism, but I’d call it more a reaction to years of training. If, for example, you sneak up on a ninja, he’ll karate chop you. Of course he would. And you wouldn’t say the ninja had anger issues. It was the same for me: put me in a bar, I drink too much.

So, after several canceled credit card mornings, I decided the best course of action was to cut out drinking altogether for 60 days. Reset the clock, get healthy, give to the homeless (haha JK), learn how to drink like a human being. I can tell you it was fine: not great, not bad. Dealing with everyone else drinking was okay before a certain time of the night and non-alcoholic beer is about as acceptably piss-like as some light beers. I felt great in the morning, I lost weight, and I was actually–hand to God on this–smarter. It’s like a fog was lifted from my brain. But after a while, none of that mattered because when you’re a young 20-something human, you go out for the unknown. When I didn’t drink, gone was any doubt of how my night would end. That rare magic of meeting new people (especially women) and going to new places disappeared, and never did this earthly life feel more like purgatory than during those 60 days. Everything was just kind of…okay. With alcohol, I felt like I was exploring–trying and sometimes failing, but always taking chances. Without it, I was just existing. That can sound pathetic, but I firmly believe that the very fabric of social society is weaved in bars and dyed in the esters of booze. In other words, it’s not me, it’s the world…mom.

Okay, second story:

In my longest postgraduate relationship to date, I found myself missing seeing where women lived. I mean, of course I missed the different curves in the body, the varying crevices, the shock of how long some nipples can grow, but I really looked forward to seeing a woman’s room. I liked to see how she decorated, if she made the bed, what was in her fridge, the photos framed on the counter. Did her assessment of “messy” come close to what I consider a mess? (I once found a full bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit under my couch–it was delicious.) Are the sheets comfortable? Did she still have a TV without HD? (What the fuck is with chicks and not caring about HD by the way?) Good beer? Cool tunes? To me, I wasn’t just seeing tits and ass, but seeing a LIFE. I never knew what was behind that door, and what secrets she hid from public consumption. It was fascinating and thrilling, like a zoo exhibit that ended with me coming, or a cool diorama that also gives you head.

Each year there’s a small chorus of Halloween haters: the girl who says dressing as a sexy cheeseburger is stupid, or the guy who claims he doesn’t need a holiday to get drunk and have fun. These stories are a roundabout way of saying that life’s greatest joys hinge upon the unknown, whether it be the woozy uncertainty outside of sobriety or the adventure of knowing someone in a different way. And so, MY Halloween–the Halloween as I understand it–is never overrated. It’s in the same way that birth, marriage, and death could never be overrated. These giant uncertainties are the forged alloy bars around which an enriched life is built. Alcohol and women comprise most of that ore. Halloween celebrates that like no other day of the year. Every October, we stand on the precipice of the unknown, an indeterminate future blurred by a collective agreement to wear rhinestone short shorts while hitting on girls and getting weird. Anything is possible. It’s as perfect as I imagine my last breaths on Earth.

I understand that the pressure can cause outsized expectations, but you just finished a Wednesday night of smoking weed and watched your DVRed episode of “New Girl.” How could Halloween ever be overrated in relation to the monotony of normal life? It can only be overrated in relation to other Halloweens, which means Halloween as a concept could never be overrated. It’s just too big. Yet, it’s common for weaker minds to downplay universal standards of joy; it’s a way for the less intelligent to mimic a deeper understanding of life. They’ll pretend loudly enough for all to hear that they don’t like that new Taylor Swift song, or claim they don’t watch “New Girl,” and the rest of us, who are just busy living, nod and play along because we have to get somewhere, and a breath used on that person is a breath wasted. But to criticize Halloween, to tie it to the whipping post for simply being the biggest holiday for anyone under 30, to hate it because you were never able to harness its raw power, is to spit in the face of whatever spaghetti god plucked you from the stars and placed you in your mother’s womb. It’s an insult to life itself.

So, you know, go get crazy.

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Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a New York City-based comedian who has been featured on MTV’s Failosophy and is the host of The JTrain Podcast presented by TFM.

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