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  • John Shore

Halloween freaks me out



Is anyone out there besides me wondering what the heck is happening with Halloween decorations? Every year they get more and more Wes Cravenish. Right now half my neighborhood looks like a Freddy Krueger fever dream. Horrifically realistic Halloween “decorations” have become so common that these days little kids can’t walk half a block from their house without being so traumatized that they instantly become future serial killers.


Maybe five-year-olds think that skeletons with rotting flesh still attached to them coming out of the ground are fun. But it feels like something parents are a little too into.


I remember when adults first started horning in on kids’ Halloween fun. It was sometime during the early 70’s when Halloween went from being about kids in fun costumes going out on Halloween night to get candy, to adults in sexy costumes going out on Halloween night to get laid.


First Halloween got sexy; then it got creepily violent.


Sex and violence! If that doesn’t say The American Way, I don’t know what does.


Are you thinking, “Oh, John. Stop being such a cranky old man.”? I hope you are! Because being a cranky old man (COM) is my whole new thing in life. It’s going pretty well for me so far. Yes, it’s meant losing my last few friends. But so what? Friends are for people who aren’t interesting enough to keep their own company anyway.


Man, I am really getting this COM thing down!


But moving on. Let’s see . . . I got my COVID booster yesterday (I’m on Team Pfizer) at a nearby church that also regularly provides food and services to hundreds of homeless people here in Asheville, NC. If I were God, I would want every church to be like the Haywood Street Church.


I’ve begun volunteer training with a local non-profit called Literacy Together, so that I’ll be ready to serve as an English-language tutor to Afghan refugees who are already arriving in Asheville. Because if anything says that you haven’t yet suffered enough, it’s having to learn the infinite inanities of English. And from a cranky old American guy at that.


Speaking of teaching English, the last weekend of February will find me in Long Beach, CA, where I’ll be a luncheon speaker at the annual convention of the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE).


Why was I asked to speak at such a huge event, you ask? I have no idea. My guess is that they confused me with someone else.


No, what really happened is that a CATE board member read my novel Everywhere She’s Not, declared it “a work of genius,” and badda-bing badda-boom: I was invited to speak at CATE 2022.


I’m really looking forward to it. I think my presentation is going to be really funny. Hopefully my speech will be too.


Finally, I’m currently collecting into a book the best of my erstwhile blog. Choosing from the nearly 1,800 posts I published on that blog has been a bit of an emotional experience for me. It’s such a comprehensive look at who I was and what I was doing for a solid eight years of my life. The bottom line is that I am proud of what I and the community who so intelligently and compassionately contributed to it were able to accomplish with that blog.


Stay safe, keep warm, and I’ll write you again*, just to say hi, right before Thanksgiving.


Sincerely yours,


Your cranky old man


*This post is from the issue of my newsletter that I sent out today.

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