Once when I was a lot younger and a little more daring, I decided to go to a local Halloween party as Frankenstein’s monster. I worked up an imaginative combination of homemade makeup and props which turned out to be a little too frightening.

I scared the bejeebers out of the babysitter when I greeted her at the door and I shouldn’t have gone in to say goodnight to the kids before we left. My wife, dressed as the fairy queen, managed to calm them down.

Driving to the party I wondered what kind of a reaction I would get if a cop pulled me over for creeping over the speed limit. I could have told him I was racing to the emergency room which would have been convincing with my pale green complexion and fake bloody scars. But what if he insisted on calling ahead and leading the way with siren blaring and roof lights flashing? Who knows, I might have ended up in the morgue, despite my protests. I maintained a steady 25 miles per hour.

I thought my realistic monster getup would make me a contender in the party’s costume contest, but I didn’t even get horrible mention. A pretty young woman wearing a huge papier-mache pumpkin to hide her delicate condition took the prize. The judges said her costume was a “pregnant idea”. They didn’t even compliment me on the painful “bolts” (curtain rod ends) sticking out of my neck.

There were rude comments from “friends” at the party, like “Hello, Gene. How come you didn’t come in a costume?” and the tipsy wise guy who kept following me around the dance floor shouting “It’s alive! It’s alive!” Boris Karloff would have taken care of him with one swipe.

The final blow was at the diner where we went for coffee after the party, when Monica, our usual waitress, remarked. “Oh, I see you took my advice about plastic surgery. Congratulations, it’s quite an improvement.” She got the minimum tip.

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