Come on out Dad, it's your day.
Halloween is my Dad's birthday. He would have been 76 today. His absence in our lives, is in part why I loathe this last day of October. That, and greedy little bastards hopped up on Smarties, who lack the common sense and decency to say 'thank you' after they've wormed their grubby little H1N1 snot-encrusted fists through my candy bowl.
I hate masks. I hate doorbells. I hate the pile of last night's mini Oh Henry! wrappers next to my bed. I also hate knowing, that if I turn off the lights and watch TV in the dark, that some little peckerhead with pimples will egg my house. And, I hate that my Dad isn't around to embarrass the hell out of my child, like he did to me.
When I was a kid, Halloween night found most children scouting out which houses had the best loot, or which streets to avoid because some miserable, menopausal old bitch has her lights turned off. I was busy keeping an eye out for my Dad and the accompanying cry of "Oh! Here comes Mr. Schultz again!", whereupon I would duck behind a bush or head off on my broom in the other direction.
Like most Dads placed on a wobbly pedestal – mine was larger than life. On Halloween, he was larger than life and he was wearing pastel-coloured, see-through baby doll pajamas that barely fit my mother. Every year, my dad wandered like a plus-size toddler from house to house with an empty scotch glass, that wasn't empty for long. With every "ding dong" he would disappear into a neighbour's living room to get his glass – and his merriment – topped up. Then, off he'd go to the next house. And the next. And the next.
What's worse, ours was a circular subdivision, and one could not avoid passing Fonzi, Mork, Daisy Duke or the cross-dressing XXL birthday boy, over and over again. I thought those nights would never end.
One November 1st, I recall waking up to singing. The streetlights were flickering off and my dad was weaving up the street in baby dolls ,singing Nat King Cole's "The Party's Over".
The party's over
It's time to call it a day
Now you must wake up, all dreams must end
Take off your makeup, the party's over
It's all over, my friend
I'd give anything to hear that song again.
The party may be over for some larger than life, local television celebrities as well. I may never have the opportunity to dress up us as Cindy Day, that overly-medicated weather girl with the bulgy eyes and suspiciously crazy wardrobe. There's a pissing match going on right now between local television programmers and big Cable companies. According to the lovely, Renée Fournier at CTV, "the satellite and cable companies take our signal and pay us nothing in return. Most consumers believe they are paying for our service because it’s packaged in basic cable, but in truth, nothing comes back to us. We’re asking to negotiate a fair value for that service, and we’re asking the distributors to pay for it out of the massive profits they already make on our back."
Sounds fair enough. Reneé's bored and armed for a fight now that all the letters from gentlemen across the Maritimes pleading CTV to bring back Nancy Regan, merely trickle in. If you care enough to keep Steve Murphy, Tom Murphy, all the Murphy's, and that annoying pain in the ass, puffy-eyed Paul Withers coming into your living room night after night, then hop on the online bandwagon quick and give the CRTC the 'what fer'. Speak out at www.localtvmatters.ca and keep Cindy Day's eyes from popping out all over the unemployment line.
On second thought, Jack's not getting any younger. Things in life get taken away before we even realize how much we love them. This could be my last chance to honour thy father and humiliate my child on Halloween. Where's my scotch glass?
This party's not over until this fat lady sings.
There is only one way to be heard and make a difference. Egg a house, or submit YOUR comments directly to the CRTC before November 2, 2009. It's as simple as Cindy Day, and you can do it right now at http://localtvmatters.ca/.