I am all about streamlining processes, eliminating waste and creating situations where I don't have to do something more than once. Mostly, it's because I'm so lazy I don't really want to do it the first time, so I certainly don't want to do it again.
Part of that is a desire to cut the fat from my activities and eliminate needless redundancy. Wait, isn't that a needless redundancy ... well, you get the point.
There are some things we just don't need repeated or explained again. I mean, does the flight attendant really need to tell you how to operate a seatbelt? Is there anyone capable of at least procuring a ticket and finding his way to a gate who doesn't know how a seatbelt works?
It's important to view busy lives through the prism of asking ourselves, does this really need to be happening? And in that spirit (OK, that will be funny in a minute. Or, at least you'll see what I did there) I have to ask: Do we really need Halloween this year?
I mean, all holidays are theme-y, but this year, Halloween may be a little "too soon" for me.
Why, exactly, do we need a holiday that celebrates the dark forces and scary elements of our imagination when life right now is, basically, the dark forces and scary elements of anyone's imagination?
The year is a real-life sci-fi plague movie with none of the assurances the heroes will discover a cure and save us all. Or at least we'll wind up being governed by intelligent and well-meaning apes. Which, at this point, I might just take.
Once we venture out of our homes, we're already wearing masks. Or, as recent events have reinforced, should be. And if we're not, that's already pretty scary.
And it seems in an environment where we're all supposed to stay at least six feet away from each other and virtually bath ourselves in hand sanitizer, sending our children up to homes and people we don't know to ask for candy seems even a little more "stranger danger-y" than usual.
Also, if we all think back on store conditions earlier in the year, toilet-papering someone's house, once a relatively harmless Halloween prank, has now either gone from being a misdemeanor to a felony or falls under the heading of a wonderful gift.
I've always been a bit ambivalent about Halloween as a holiday, anyway. On the one hand, I'm not expected to buy any seasonally themed gifts that I'll likely whiff on, just as I whiff on most presents. So, no death stares as someone unwraps a Pumpkin Spice Dustbuster or car window shade with little witches on it or something like that.
There may be jewelry appropriate for the season, just as there is always jewelry for every season. But there's no real expectation, so, off the hook there.
However, I'm usually expected to at least contribute to the selection of hilarious, appropriate (not necessarily mutually inclusive) but not offensive (definitely not mutually inclusive) costumes to wear to gatherings. And I've already done "Two People Who Would Rather Be Home Watching TV."
An aside: Halloween costumes are sort of like politicians on Twitter. It can be a good idea, but sooner or later you're going to make a mistake and it's going to come back to bite you for years.
With all that, and given the very nature of the world around us and the anxiety even sending our kids to school or going to store generates (OK, going to the store always generates anxiety for me, so, perhaps a better example?), do we really need the additional anxiety of having to steam-clean all the candy kids brought home before we pick out the stuff we really like and try to pretend not one soul gave them those mini Reece's Peanut Butter cups or fun-sized Snickers?
So how about we just call the whole thing off, like colleges did with spring sports? Maybe have two Halloweens next year or something, and then move on to other holidays this season. Like the one where we pack a bunch of friends and family, including elderly, vulnerable relatives, into a confined space and share utensils while talking without masks?
Or the one where we all pack the malls and stores and go sing in public?
OK, maybe we just skip the entire thing.
Yeah, 2020 just stinks.
Gary Smith is a recovering journalist living in Rogers.