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Living the Wally Lifestyle

Churching Up Halloween

October 31, 2003

Last week I recieved one of those panicked e-mails from a friend that was desperately in trouble. You know, the kind of message you dread to receive because it's a plea for help. I know, a friend in need is a friend indeed, but sometimes I think a friend that was picked off by a junk mail filter is a friend that you will not have to console at 3 in the morning over a relationship that ended 7 months ago.

This time the friend was not someone whining that they cannot get over the fact that the relationship died months ago. Instead it was a friend that needed help for her church. She was guilted into taking over the annual church haunted house. To make matters worse, all the volunteers who did it for years quit for a variety of excuses and so she was stuck trying to come up with ideas and pull this off.

The last thing I really want to do is help a church in Texas have a successful Halloween Haunted House, if for no other reason than the fact that those rat bastards gave us George Bush and I don't think any amount of plagues of locust and disease is payment enough. Then there is the issue about my lifestyle which has to rub many of them wrong. Not to mention any religious disagreements I might have with them on my point of views and their acceptance of that point. But then I started to remember this is a person that turned to me for help and since my junk mail filter did not pick off the e-mail, perhaps the fact they contacted me was some sort of cosmic way to make a teeny tiny indent into the world of Texas Southern Baptists and get them to accept a little whimsy. I was positive they'd blow off my ideas. So I went ahead and sent my friend some ideas to make her celebration a hit.

So I sent her some ideas such as The Balloon Room. I have always been fascinated by the Ball Rooms that little drooly kids get to play in. I have wanted to jump in and crawl through the balls myself. Every time I have asked I get all sorts of stupid rules thrown in my face about how an adult male frolicking in the balls is against store policy and really, you have no idea what one of those little human guacamole factories might do in the middle of that pile of balls.

There are no adult ball rooms and if I were to create one, it would be very expensive and I have no place to put thousands of tiny balls. So instead I looked for other materials and I settled on balloons. They are easy to inflate, fun to pop and everyone likes to be in a swirling mass of balloons. The first time I did this effect, I set up the balloon room in front of the bathroom at a very large party. The only way to get into the bathroom was to wade through the swirling mass of balloons. As soon as you opened the door, the balloons barged right in and it was impossible to herd them out.

Other ideas included a movable wall of spikes, a moving floor and a room loaded with white streamers attached to the ceiling with black lights, mirrors and strobe lights. I figured that room was enough to cause someone to trip with or without drugs.

Much to my surprise, my friend really liked the ideas and used them.

I'm not sure what thought process brought her to me, but for some reason she thought of me and reached out for a hand. I volunteered the best ideas I could come up with and thankfully it is working out. It might not seem much, but we cooperated on a basic level to celebrate one of my favorite holidays and exchanged ideas. The small exchanges between communities is what can bring us closer together not only as a nation, but more important on a community level. I'd really have to have my head up my ass to think my little action would lead to the end of global warming or even the end of this pointless bickering between conservatives and liberals. We live in a nation where politics are not only dividing this nation, but alienating us from the world that surrounds our nation. After September 11, 2001, we didn't come together as a closer world, we drifted further apart. The unity we hoped for never really materialized. We still have a tendency to lift a certain finger than to lift a hand.

This is something I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. What is community and what does it mean to me? What am I doing as an individual to make not only my life better, but to improve my life and the lives of those that live and work around me.

I am very active in my chosen community and I have pushed very hard to reach out to the community beyond. Lately I have changed gears and concentrated on more immediate concerns, but I have not given up on the ideals which I think are important. I am looking for ways not only to bring that community closer together, but looking for ways to get that community to act in ways that benefit our larger community as well.

[to be continued when I sober up]

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