Victoria had it all planned.
My 18-year-old niece called me from Colorado recently to tell me what I would be wearing for Halloween this year. As usual with Victoria, I have no say in the matter.
“You’re going to be a garden gnome,” she said.
Yes, that’s right, my brother Jim’s daughter didn’t see me as a pirate or one of those sexy vampire types I keep hearing about.
No, she had decided that I should go out in public dressed like some mythic subterranean creature with severe wardrobe issues.
“A gnome?” I demanded. “Are you serious?”
“Yes,” Victoria said. “All the women will love it.”
“With my luck the only thing I’ll attract will be female gnomes,” I shouted.
I should probably pause here to mention that this would be a distinct improvement over my current dating status--but I still ain’t doing it.
“No,” my niece insisted. “They’ll look at you and say, ‘wow, this guy dresses up like a gnome. There must be something to this guy.’”
Yeah, he’s a mental case!
“Why don’t I just let you take over my love life entirely?” I asked with a heavy dollop of sarcasm.
“You should,” Victoria said. “Women will think you’re so cool and then you can thank me.”
Oh, sure. There’s nothing I’d like more than having a teenager call the shots on my relationships—or the lack of them. I told Victoria she should try writing an advice column for the lovelorn.
“I would be the best Dear Abby ever,” she assured me.
Of course she would. She’d have all her readers dressing like gnomes in no time at all.
This latest conversation played out like most of my other phone chats with Victoria, with me laughing until I choke and repeatedly crying to the heavens, “what’s wrong with this kid?”
It’s hard to believe that this is the same person who once sat on my knee and laughed at all my silly routines. Now she and her cousin, Kristin, both run rings around me. And I absolutely love it.
Victoria actually wanted the entire family—including my auntie—to dress up like gnomes this year, which makes sense because, as we all know, gnome is where the heart is.
But the idea made me think of those creepy family portraits that have been polluting the web lately and I strongly suggested we skip it.
To be honest, I’m really not a big fan of Halloween. If you’re into dressing up in a costume, by all means, go forth and knock yourself out.
I’ve really enjoyed some of the creative outfits I’ve seen over the years. Honestly, I’m not an Ebenezer Weenie. It’s just not for me.
But, more importantly, I’ve been feeling lousy all week with some kind of bug that has sapped the energy out of my body like Count Dracula coming off a seven-year hunger strike.
I’ve got the chills, a stuffed head, and a severe case of the crazies. And I’m so exhausted that the only character I’ll be playing this year will be Rip Van Winkle.
However Victoria has decreed that I will dress as a gnome, Halloween or not, and she will not be deterred. Her bedroom has this forest theme going on and she tells me that when I come out to visit, I’ll have to don a gnome hat and pose for a photo.
“That’s totally happening,” she declared. “You can’t escape your fate!”
Fair enough. And, speaking of fate, Victoria has already decided upon next year’s Halloween family theme.
She wants all of us, yes, all of us, to dress up like the Village People.
Okay, so I call dibs on the Cowboy. And now it’s time to rehearse my moves: “Y-M-C-A, it’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A…”