Halloween brings out the trickster in many

By Bob Huber: Local Columnist

First they shut down daylight-saving time. Two days later they celebrate Halloween.

Is that a conspiracy or what? The mystery is, who’s behind it?

Here at the Academy for Thorny Plots I’ve researched that question, coming quickly to the conclusion that in both cases I need a government grant for more research.

But I’ve made progress in one area—the conspiracy lies within the medical profession.

(You can’t blame lawyers for everything. In fact, 99 percent of the lawyers give the rest a bad name.)

Here’s how the conspiracy scenario plays out:

Back when Bill Clinton was pinching girls in the second grade, I took it upon myself to launch a Halloween tradition. I got up on my roof and scared Billy Ned out of little kids by yanking a sheeted ghost out of a rose bush by the front door. The sudden ghostly appearance was accompanied by heinous laughter.

You’re probably thinking that was a terrible thing to do, poor kids, but they loved it.

After they wet their pants they couldn’t wait to tell other kids about that house over there where they were passing out giant candy bars and performing a soft shoe routine for all trick-or-treaters. Pretty soon I had kids lined up halfway around the block.

You’re also probably wondering how this became linked with the medical profession. Well, every year following Halloween and my joyful little prank, I turned into a dripping, sniffling, aching, grumbling monster and had to visit my doctor. In other words, I caught a cold.

My wife, Marilyn, always said, “Serves you right, scaring little kids that way.”

“I scared some of the parents, too,” I replied.

Marilyn shook her head. “Only an out-and-out jerk would get up on a roof on a windy night in October just to prove he can scare little kids. Don’t do it anymore, or I’ll have to starch your shorts again.”

“Point taken,” I said, but the next year when Wal-Mart’s shelves overflowed with costumes, masks and candy, the urge to extend the tradition overwhelmed me. I tried to resist. I drank copious tea. I took tranquilizers. I even asked my pharmacist for a patch. But to no avail.

I improved on the tradition by using a fishing pole with translucent line. I employed a pan lid under the bed sheet for the ghost. And instead of laughing heinously, I emitted a ghostly howl, “Ooooooo! Ooooooo!”

“Get down off the roof and come inside, fool,” Marilyn said. “You’ll catch your death—again.”

“No,” I replied. “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”

My doctor didn’t have much sympathy. “You did what?” he said.

“I got up on the roof over the door with a fishing pole and a pan lid under a sheet, and I yanked it up and shouted, ‘Oooooo. Oooooo.’”

“Hmmm,” said my doctor, which he usually reserves for a deadly diagnosis. “I can see this situation calls for a drastic solution. I want you to take this pill in the evening just as it’s getting dark, and then call me the following day.”

What happened next was, I slept through my traditional Halloween performance on the roof. The next day I got a bill from my doctor for keeping me healthy, and across the bottom was a single word, scrawled as only a doctor can scrawl: “TRICK!”

Was that a conspiracy or what?