Overheard, the Fashion Plate Edition

Little Brother (inspecting his T-shirt):  thats all you got“Do you think I can still wear this shirt today, even though I spilled Leaky Egg* on it?”

Me: “How about you get a wet paper towel and wipe it up and see how it looks when it dries?”

LB: “Well, I already licked it off, so…”

(*Translation:  a Leaky Egg is an egg over easy. Yes, I know all about salmonella danger. We live on the edge over here.)

The only saving grace here is that the egg seems to have spilled on the bright yellow letters…


Controlled Environments Don’t Build Community

trunk or treat

This fall, one of our Township Council members suggested a new-to-us event:  Trunk or Treat. It would be held during daytime hours on a weekend day just before Halloween. Children 10 and under who register ahead of time can participate.

Sounds nice, right? It did to me, too. For a while. Then I read an article in today’s paper and it got me thinking that maybe this isn’t the best idea after all.

The lede gets right up in your face about it:

Billed as a safer alternative than going door-to-door on Halloween, the township plans to host its first “Trunk or Treat” for younger children in the community. (emphasis mine)

If you’re a busy parent of young children, and especially if you work long hours outside the home, you’re going to be thrilled about the prospect of this event. Daytime trick-or-treat with no streets to cross! What’s not to like? You’re off the hook on Halloween itself, when you might be tired and the kids might be cranky after a long day at school or daycare.

If you’re the parent of older (middle-school to young adult) children, or an empty-nester, or someone without children, you might not like it so much at all.

I’m not trying to rain on the parade of the young parent, but Halloween is for everyone! Those of us who don’t have three-year-olds anymore still enjoy standing at the front door with a candy basket, handing out Hershey bars and Utz pretzels to little ones in cute costumes who sometimes forget to say “Trick or Treat!” but who are completely adorable nonetheless. Now, the Township is expecting to host 300 to 400 little kids whose parents may very well just decide not to take the kids out in the neighborhood on Halloween.

Another town councilman observed that this event brings together the community. I beg to differ. It Balkanizes the community, and frankly, we’ve got enough of that going on already. The public schools in this town, as in most towns, are no longer neighborhood schools with communities surrounding them. They’re K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and high school. Unless they have several children, parents rarely get to mix with people whose kids are of different ages than their own.

Most houses in this town have back decks rather than front porches. We’ve been here 15 years and there are neighbors within sight of our house whom we’ve never once met. That fault lies as much with us as it does with them, but Halloween is one of those times, especially when the weather is good, that brings people out into their front yards to chat with neighbors whose names they might not even know. It brings together the community.

In my household, Hubs takes the kids Trick-or-Treating while I stay home handing out the treats. He says that, by far, the best Halloween was in 2001. So soon after 9/11, not many people took their kids out on Halloween. The kids got a terrific reception at each house they visited, and their knock at the door brought smiles to the faces of the homeowners with their candy bowls. “We haven’t seen too many kids out this year,” they’d tell my husband, encouraging the kids to take a whole handful of treats.

This is a “community” in which kids as young as 8 find themselves scheduled for sports practices on Halloween. Every year, we see fewer trick-or-treaters.

And now we want to “build community” by controlling the environment. That’s a pretty narrow and exclusive community that’s being built.

I’m all about safety and I think that providing small children a way to trick-or-treat without having to remember to look both ways is a nice idea. But parents could hold the children’s hands or give them a ride in a wagon or stroller, so that the joy of the small child all decked out in a Halloween costume can be shared by everyone in the community–not just people with decorated cars and tickets to get in. All these efforts to protect a few people steal a lot of the fun away from everyone.

Think about it. And don’t rain on the whole community’s Halloween parade.

Strangest Bible-School Snack EVER II

Because last year’s edible rendition of the plagues wasn’t bad enough.

This year’s Vacation Bible School featured a story about a leper (I’m not sure which leper story, but that doesn’t matter). In keeping with VBS tradition, the snacks are an edible craft that represents the story du jour.

On the day they learned about the leper, the kids had cookies with icing for their snack. Each child got two cookies. One cookie just had icing. The other cookie had icing and sprinkles.

Guess what the sprinkles were supposed to represent?


Little Brother may never look at sprinkles the same way again.

3-Ply TP: Not for Me

I don’t quite fit the demographic, and I can’t say that this is a product I’d buy.

Triple-ply toilet paper?

The article linked above says they’re marketing this to over-45 women (I’m close, but not there YET) who view their bathroom as a “sanctuary for quality time.”

I’m still teaching some people in this house that one doesn’t barge in when the bathroom door is closed. My bathroom hasn’t hit the level of “sanctuary” yet. And there’s the small matter of that Army Guy standing guard over the sink (maybe I’ll make a tiny little sign to hang on his rifle: USE SOAP! If I do, I WILL post a picture!)

Can you imagine with 3-ply TP would do to those low-flush toilets? Already they have to be flushed twice (or more), canceling out any “water savings” they claim to have.

I think their target market is not over-45 women, but plumbers who will be laughing all the way to the bank with all the unclogging work that will come their way after this stuff hits the store shelves.

Would YOU buy this book?

I saw this booklet on the magazine rack in the local supermarket, right next to quality publications like the National Enquirer and Weekly World News.

Normally, I’m all for those “Idiot’s Guide” books, or the “Dummies” series. I think they have great explanations for technical stuff, and I’ve bought and used several of them. But this title deserves all the mockery that it is sure to invite:

Baby Names for Dummies.”