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WEEKLY WHINE

This message will make your eyes self destruct

This year’s GoobNet Halloween party was held in an over the top secret bunker somewhere in the Washington, DC, USA metropolitan area the weekend of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. As Stephen Colbert suggested, many attendees appeared as their greatest fears.

COSTUME REVIEW

Justin Halpern: He is wearing a suit. An ordinary suit. Nothing strange. He continually insists that he is Dave Foley, but none of us believe him. Or understand him, for that matter. SCORE: One aaoogah machine

Debbie: She wears a leopard print suit and bright blue leggings. “I’m the crazy woman down the street from me.” SCORE: Six calls to the cops about your dog

Andy Richter: There seems to be nothing out of the ordinary about him, but then he points to the marker drawing on his arm. “I’ve always had an irrational fear of guys with barbed wire tattoos. And before you ask, no, Conan doesn’t have one. Although Max Weinberg...” SCORE: Two... three... four... five hundred fifty

Nina: She wears a yellow shirt with a 3×3 grid. There are Xs in three of the corners, and the three squares down the middle have question marks in them. “Secret X,” she says. “The worst pricing game on The Price is Right.” SCORE: One cereal dispenser

Jhonny: He has a black shirt with a funny pattern of tiny white squares. “It’s a glider gun,” he says. “Conway’s Game of Life.” SCORE: I’m going to have to spend some time on Wikipedia to figure out what the hell this is about

Cristina Saralegui: She wears a black jumpsuit with a couple extra pairs of arms. “I’m scared of ants! What can I say?” SCORE: Wouldn’t that be eight limbs in all?

Reg: He is wearing a suit. An ordinary suit. Nothing strange. He continually insists that he is Marc Zuckerberg, but none of us believe him. SCORE: 2,748 friends whose whereabouts and purchasing patterns he is aware of at all times

Janet Love 1 and Ali Liminisi 2: They are wearing clocks around their necks. I say, “Two Flavor Flavs? That is scary,” and Ali 2 responds, “No, we’re daylight time. See? I’m an hour ahead of her.” SCORE: Eight studies that are inconclusive as to the cost and energy savings

Edvard: He is encapsulated in a large piece of something that looks to be a rock. “You don’t think an Earth crossing asteroid is scary?” SCORE: 100 petajoules

Me: I cut out the bottom of a plastic kayak and wear it around my waist, posing as the famously annoying joke, “I can row a boat. Canoe?” SCORE: A single scull

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen: They look like female versions of Evel Knievel, but they assure me that they are in fact Zap and Siren from the original American Gladiators. SCORE: A 1½ second head start in the Eliminator

Rich: He is wearing a suit. An ordinary suit. Nothing strange. He continually insists that he is Glenn Beck, but none of us believe him. SCORE: Four values and one principle

Emmy Rossum: She has a wig of flowing black hair underneath a black hat, and she is wearing a jersey with GIANTS on the front and 55 on the back. SCORE: An ERA of 1.18

Wen: She wears a green coat, a black miniskirt, black fishnet stockings, and hoop earrings. I say, “You look like me,” and she responds, “Reg said come as your biggest fear.” SCORE: One middle finger, you crazy weirdo bitch

Deb: She has a black rectangle. It has a large display area on which is the text: 1 new text message – From: Brett Favre. SCORE: 16 delete buttons

Reese Witherspoon: She is wearing a short sleeved khaki shirt with matching pants. “I’m a submariner,” she explains, pointing to the badge. “I dunno. I just... I never liked submarines. I’ve been on vacations where somebody is like, ‘Look, they have submarine rides! Let’s do that!’ And I’m all, ‘Nnnnno.’” SCORE: 19,995 leagues under the sea

Mary Carey: She wears a dress that looks like an aqua fish tail, a bra made of shells, and a bright red wig. “Oh, like The Little Mermaid didn’t scare you shitless growing up.” SCORE: The other five leagues under the sea

Gaby: She has a red business suit and goes around telling people, “I’m not a witch – I’m you. And we’re both unqualified for the Senate.” SCORE: A new CBS sitcom, $#+! Christine O’Donnell Says

Angela Ellen Keathley and Renee Thomas: Angela is wearing pieces of plastic that look like chicken breasts, and Renee has pieces of plastic that look like ribeye steaks. “We’re the angel and devil sitting on Lady Gaga’s shoulders.” SCORE: 165°F

Amanda Palmer: She wears a red jersey with CLEVELAND on the front and the number 23, but a large international no symbol is drawn on the number. Halfway through the night, she rips off the jersey and lights it afire. SCORE: 423°F

William Shatner: He has a box with a gray display screen. “Can you imagine what would happen if everyone turned their televisions off?” he asks. “What would I do?” SCORE: Two angry letters from the Parents Television Council

GAME

“It’s Name That Justin Bieber Tune!” Janet 1 announces. “And here is your host, Marc Zuckerberg!”

Reg enters and says, “Just kidding. Wow, we really got you guys. You seemed really horrified there. No, it’s really Name That Hannah Montana Tune. Kidding again! It’s just regular Name That Tune. Although there may be some Radio Disney songs in there. And if there are... kill me.”

Cristina and Emmy play, with Cristina winning 20,480 Silly Bucks in the Golden Medley before she fails to identify “Eye of the Tiger”.

NOTABLE MOMENTS

I find Andy in a corner and ask him, “Are barbed wire tattoos really that scary?”

“They kind of are,” he says. “I’ve never met someone with a barbed wire tattoo that I liked.”

“Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire?” Wen suggests.

“If there’s anything scary about that movie,” Andy says, “it’s that it was made at all.”

I’m dancing with Emmy, Jhonny, Debbie, Reese, and Mary. Suddenly someone nearby bumps into Reese, who pitches forward into Mary, who crashes into me, who falls onto Debbie, who tries to catch me but then steps back into Emmy, who collides with Jhonny, who takes a spill onto the floor.

We all look around laughing.

“Here, are you okay?” Reese asks Mary.

“Yeah, no problem,” Mary responds.

Reese says, “C’mere. Let me get you cleaned up.”

She staggers to her feet and lifts Mary up. They walk, arm in arm, toward the bathroom.

The rest of us get up.

“Did someone spill a drink on her?” Jhonny asks.

“I don’t think so,” I say.

“Then why does she need to be cleaned up?”

“She doesn’t,” Debbie says.

“So what’s going on?” Jhonny asks.

Debbie and I stare at him. Debbie arches an eyebrow.

Jhonny starts to laugh, and then he says, “You’re full of shit.”

Emmy, looking back and forth between Jhonny and Debbie, suddenly cries, “No way!”

“Don’t believe me?” Debbie asks.

“No, I don’t!” Emmy says. “She’s not like that! I’ve met her!”

Jhonny answers, “Well, I guess Mary’s met her too, if you know what I mean.”

“I don’t believe you,” Emmy says. “Any of you. It just wouldn’t happen.”

“Give them about... thirty minutes,” Debbie says, examining her watch. “Then see if you believe me.”

About forty three minutes later, Mary and Reese reenter. They each have a Slurpee.

“That’s new,” I say. “Isn’t it supposed to be cigarettes?”

“What?” Reese asks. “This is a nonsmoking building, right?”

I reply, “No, I mean... you know... for after you...”

Mary suddenly starts to laugh, narrowly avoiding choking on her Slurpee.

“What?” Reese asks again.

“She thinks we did it,” Mary says.

Reese makes a strange face at me.

“You didn’t?” I ask. “Then what did you do?”

“We went for a walk,” Mary says. “We just wanted some fresh air.” She points to the door, just down the hallway from the bathrooms.

“Yeah, and we stopped at the 7-Eleven on the corner,” Reese adds, holding up the Slurpee.

“Oh,” I say.

Reese says, surprised, “You really thought that we...”

“Well, wait a minute!” I shout. “I’ve seen you guys run off together. Like a couple of years ago? When you were chained up?”

Mary sighs, “She just needed a massage.”

“And what about last year?” I continue. “You and Avril? Don’t act like there was nothing going on there. I mean, you left together!”

“That doesn’t count,” Reese answers. “She’s Canadian.”

I ask, “So? What difference does that make?”

“You know how Canadians are,” Reese says. “Totally irresistible. And they do it the right way.”

“Excuse me?” Mary asks. “Then how do I do it?”

“Wait,” Reese says, haltingly. “That’s... that’s not what I meant.”

“I’ll show you the right way,” Mary says to Reese. It is part threat, part promise.

Mary grabs Reese’s hand and yanks her toward the bathroom. Reese drops her Slurpee and looks over her shoulder.

I am trying to determine whether it is fear, shock, or excitement on her face as she disappears behind Mary into the bathroom.

Some twenty minutes later, I see Wen banging on the bathroom door, hopping from one leg to the other. “Dammit!” she shouts. “This isn’t funny!”

Everything is more or less clean. Most of the crowd has departed.

As Deb and I take down the poster of the Pussycat Dolls, she says, “I have to say, the scariest costume of the day has to be Wen.”

“Very funny,” I answer. “I think yours is the scariest.”

“Why’s that?”

“It’s something that you can never unsee,” I say.

We wave goodbye to William and Amanda.

Deb shrugs and says, “That’s close enough.”

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