Let me go ahead and apologize for rushing through this but I just realized that tomorrow is Halloween and I have so much to do in order to get ready for the big day. I must warn you that there is a chance that you may see a comma or two out of place this week (Editor’s note: So what’s new?) or a past perfect tense that isn’t quite perfect or perhaps even a relative clause without one of those antecedent whatchamacallits. (Editor’s note: Will someone get me some aspirin?)

I’m not quite sure how Halloween came to be. Some say it is an ancient pagan custom that originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. This should be some consolation to our local pagans. They are a grumpy bunch who get their shorts in a wad anytime someone prays in a public place. They still haven’t gotten over wading home in knee-deep water after protesting Dr. Gil Watson, the World’s Greatest Preacher, praying for rain on the grounds of the state Capitol. Moral of that story: Don’t mess with Dr. Gil. God likes him a lot better than pagans.

Some say Halloween is short for All Hallows Eve, which precedes the feast of All Hallows Day. That was back when folks ate and drank and squeezed out some time to pray for a bunch of saints and for dead people who they felt hadn’t made it to heaven. I suspect some of them aren’t there yet. I am personally acquainted with a few of them who have about as much chance of getting to heaven as I do in understanding where commas go.

Halloween came to the states, courtesy of legal and illegal immigrants from Europe and it has now turned into party time. Where people used to wear masks to ward off evil spirits in the days of old, today we wear them so we can go trick-or-treating and experience a sugar-high that can last a week.

Frankly, I am at a loss on an appropriate costume for tomorrow. I thought about dressing up as a clown, but local gadfly Rich Pellegrino has beaten me to it. Besides, I don’t have a bullhorn, a need for publicity and my conscience wouldn’t allow me to encourage kids to walk out of class on a school day so that I could make a big deal about illegal immigration. I must leave clowning to the professionals.

I even considered going around the neighborhood disguised as a potted plant, but Cobb Commission chair Mike Boyce cautioned that I could be mistaken for his communication ace, Ross Cavitt, and asked about hanging floating exemptions. There is only room for one plot ted plant in this county, Mr. Boyce said, and you are not it. I’m not all that disappointed. I hate talking about floating exemptions anytime but especially at Halloween.

I haven’t ruled out painting myself yellow and masquerading as a member of the Atlanta Braves management, who caved in following a complaint by an opposing player about the Tomahawk Chop. Their response was to offend their own fan bases worse than the complainant by suddenly not distributing foam rubber tomahawks, discouraging the chop and then requiring them to sit through a 10-run first inning on their way to being eliminated from the playoffs. On second thought, if I want to emulate Braves management, maybe I should dress up like George Custer. He and the Braves execs have a lot in common.

Alas, my Darth Vader costume has been appropriated by the guy who manages the local Sterigenics plant and who has staked out the dark side for his very own, along with the bureaucrat that runs Georgia’s Environmental Protection (Wink! Wink!) Division. I understand he will be dressed as Greedo, the Star Wars character. Greedo is described as overzealous and a bit slow on the take. Talk about your typecasting. If they should happen to knock on your door, I would suggest you hold your breath.

I considered disguising myself as Cobb school board member Charisse Davis and going around scaring the dickens out of senior citizens. But then I realized that the same God who made it rain on pagans will one day make her an old person, too, and then she can see what it is like to live on a fixed income, ever-escalating costs and hoping your pension doesn’t fade away before you do. God is good.

On second thought, maybe I will just be plain ol’ me, turn out the lights and pretend no one is home. That way I can have all the candy corn and M&M’s for myself. I might even find time to pray for a few saints and a couple of pagans I know.

Once Halloween is over, then it is back to the grindstone and more of my cutting-edge commentary, replete with commas and past perfect tenses, not to mention a bunch of relative clauses with those antecedent whatchamacallits. (Editor’s note: Now, that is really scary. Where are those aspirin!)

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at dick@dickyarbrough.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb

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