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Should Halloween Always Be The Last Saturday In October?

A little girl in a witch outfit and a jack-o-lantern are in a spooky window
Bettina Brinkmann/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s book, The Night The Lights Went Out, while you’re at it. In fact, do it especially this week as he is out on medical leave taking care of a persistent case of Cousins's Eczema, a pernicious skin and spleen condition brought on by pathological Vikings fandom. In his stead this week, an itinerant tramp. And now, you revolting Mardi Gras of sociopaths, your letters.

David:

Memorial Day is always the last Monday of May. Thanksgiving is always the third Thursday of November. Presidents Day is – well, who the fuck knows when President’s Day is? My point is, shouldn’t Halloween always be the last Saturday of October? Isn’t this much better for kids and parents alike, not to mention those who go all out to get their Halloween on? I would think the Halloween Industrial Complex would get behind this since it only increases the opportunity to Halloween.

Let's start with the easy part here. How is Halloween difficult now? Parents and teachers and merchants can all figure out the vagaries of the Gregorian calendar, and 31 always means 31. Halloween makes its own space, and anyone who doesn't know that Halloween is essentially a floating holiday anyway is probably too dim to have candy, let alone distribute it. The kids for whom Halloween is made don't care when they dress up as long as they can dress up, and high sugar treats are of course their own reward and, two hours later, their own curse. Children don't know Tuesday from Thursday from Saturday, and frankly don't care. They're 3 years old, they're dressed up in some shiny polyethylene getup with a mask they stop wearing after the third house because it's hot and sticky, and their only real duty is to stand bewildered while strangers shovel last year's candy into their plastic pumpkin baskets. They won't remember the date. They don't have to.

Secondly, for those who do not have children or the urge to pretend to be dress-up Batman, Saturday is the one night of the week in which they have license to do nothing they don't wish to do, and the only thing worse than walking up and down strange streets carrying your kid's candy bucket while said child is running three houses away is jumping up and down 45 times to answer the door to give treats to the unsupervised demons of others. That sounds like a Thursday chore, to be disposed of in time to clear the weekend. As for the Halloween-Industrial Complex, it and its servants are just tools of Big Diabetes and do not deserve a vote. They're going to make the same money no matter what day Halloween is. Frankly, Halloween should be every day BUT Saturday.

Roee:

How do you get happy? I can understand being content with what your lot in life is- kids, family, job, etc. but where does happiness come from? The only joy i take seems to be in other (sports fans) suffering.

Man, did you luck out. You got Doctor Feelgood right here, and nobody knows happiness better.

For starters, contentment can be happiness if you need it to be, though the examples you listed would not be on the doctor's list. But happiness does not have a residence—it is everywhere and nowhere simultaneously, and frankly, if your kids don't make you happy and apoplectic simultaneously, you may want to seek out a specialist. And your job isn't even yours, it's just something someone else is letting you play with until the company goes toenails up when the government realizes that Mr. Spacely has been skiving off with the pension contributions for years.

But let's stay on point here, which is how you find joy, and the suffering of other sports fans is as good a place as any. Sports fans rarely enjoy their games in silence, so they are constantly butting into your headspace with loud and often profane observations that are typically wrong, nearly always stupid, and absolutely never requested. Nobody has ever asked anyone "So, what's your position on Seranthony Dominguez?" with a genuine interest in what your opinion might be. They just want to give you their opinion on Seranthony Dominguez, as though they'd actually done some research on the matter other than "Why did he just walk Evan Longoria?"

And that's just the people who pay attention to the game you're all watching. Fantasy players are horrifically worse because they're yammering on about something that doesn't actually exist except in their own heads, and you would settle your tab and flee the bar if people were talking to themselves at the next stool about non-sports stuff, so why put up with fantasy twerpage? You want all these people to be miserable because they distribute misery so profligately. They are the Santa Claus of STFU, and their state of agitation is not just to be wished for, but wished for while you're driving away. Joy, you see, is not a one-size-fits-all thing, and rooting for the suffering of other sports fans is a lot easier than putting aside college money for the meat puppets you have loosed upon the society and that you say you actually love. You're doing fine—just go do fine where I'm not.

Adam:

I just texted my friend "I'm making homemade pork fried rice tomorrow." Is this redundant? If I say I'm making pork fried rice, isn't it safe to assume it's homemade? But then, if I leave out the "homemade" part, perhaps it would be too easy for someone to assume my authentic culinary efforts consist of me just nuking some thoroughly average Trader Joe's offering?

Yes it is, but in the world in which you must share what you're making with people who will never get to eat it, pedantry is part of the deal. If you are actually providing your pork fried rice for someone, you can say it's homemade as part of your fetish for sharing your kitchen skills as well as reinforcing the fact you think well enough of the people with whom you are conversing to not foist store-bought anything on them. It's a way of saying, "I don't hate you nearly as much as I would if I invited you over for drive-through takeaway." You are of course bragging, you snot-nosed spatula jockey, but if you have chosen your audience well, it is a way to reinforce what is probably your shared interest in cooking. We wouldn't give it much thought unless you actually dislike the person, bought the Trader Joe's stuff and then spat in it to make it officially "homemade." But if you disliked the person enough to hock in their grub, why would you invite them over to begin with? Frankly, "there will be food" should be come-on enough, but "I'm making homemade" is not in and of itself a grammar crime. After all, maybe you used someone else's kitchen rather than your own, in which case your problem is actually appliance-based. Get your stove fixed.

John:

Drew, if the Kansas City Chiefs had to have you on the field during every one of their special teams plays for the rest of the season, how many wins do you think it would cost them?

Again, we are answering for Drew because he is having surgery for his prolapsed right buttock, but the answer would be the same. It would cost several wins because Kansas City isn't blowing people out the way you would think they would; we only believe in teams that win every week 45-3, but then we hate them because they win every game 45-3, which is why that morose goof in a prior mail item finds joy in other fans' suffering. All fans traffic in suffering, which is why those of us who dislike teams usually do so first and foremost because the people who like those teams are well worth wishing ill upon, the more catastrophic the better.

But the Chiefs would probably fire their scouting department well before it got to Drew, so the best you can get here is for Drew to make the scout team as a long snapper. A lot less running, very little contact, and once you learn to look out your backside for the truth of your situation, it will feel more like real life.

Chris:

My wife and I (both in our mid 30’s with no kids) had tickets to see a concert/show the other night on a Tuesday. The show was slated for 8 PM, which means with an opener or two you’re not seeing the headliner until 9 PM at the earliest. We both have jobs that get us up before 7AM, and we were both exhausted from the work day. We went back and forth debating whether we should bail, but ultimately we rallied and made it out to the show. We ended up leaving in the middle of the headliner’s act, nearly at 11PM, because it’s just really tough in the middle of the work week. My question is: should we have felt guilty if we ended up bailing, or should we feel guilty about leaving a show early, especially when the tickets aren’t exactly on the cheaper side?

This is a problem of inadequate research, nothing more. Concerts never start on time, and your need for wellness-based punctuality is wasted on those skillet-faced mutants, whoever they are. They have been sold on the notion (no doubt by their reptilian tour managers) that making the audience wait is a sign that the audience loves them enough to inconvenience themselves. This will never change, so you have to ask yourself as well as your spouse if this whole bullshit exercise was worth it to begin with. One, it's a Tuesday, which is such a crap day that even the NFL doesn't play on it. Two, if your job is exhausting you that early in the week, a concert is not going to bring you sufficient pleasure unless you're planning to take the next day off to sleep off that hangover you picked up drinking in the lobby before the show. And three, the price is irrelevant here, unless you would find it extortionate on Friday as well as Tuesday. But congratulations on skipping the kid part; sounds like they'd break you both.

Andy:

The weekend of October 6th-8th has been seen by many Baltimore fans as the worst sports weekend for the city. The O's went down 0-2 to the Rangers at home after a 101 win season and the Ravens blew a 4th quarter lead to Kenny Freaking Pickett for the second time in a row. I know you have a special vitriol for Maryland and Baltimore in particular, but have any other cities had a worse sports weekend? To lose your first two playoff games after years in the gutter, followed by a horrible loss to your most hated rival at the (tiny) hands of a QB who is terrible against every other opponent is pretty darn rough. Obviously I'm not thinking about times when cities experienced actual tragedies or deaths or anything of that sort. Love the blog, your book, and the pod.

Thanks. We like the book and the pod as well, but the blog is kind of a pain in the ass when he needs someone else to do it for him because of his dislocated nostril surgery. But let's get a grip here, Andy old sock old shoe old goat. That can't possibly be your city's worst weekend ever. Hell, the Orioles lost to the Mets in the 1969 World Series after winning 109 games and sweeping the Twins in the LCS after the Colts lost to Joe Namath in the previous Super Bowl. Sure those together aren't a weekend, but as single galling defeats they far outpace losing to the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Being a sports fan is about catching strays in the goolies from time to time, and the only thing for a responsible adult like you to do is straighten your trousers, order drinks for the bar and say, "Fuck it. At least we're not the Yankees or Red Sox." If you don't like the results you've got, make up some of your own.

HALFTIME! A song with special meaning to those in the know.

Brian:

Imagine you wake up to find you are now the head coach of your Minnesota Vikings -- give us the low down on your "coach aesthetic" and nervous ticks? Are you a visor guy? Bring back the three piece suit? Do you chew a pen nervously? Do you drop your challenge hanky like a Southern Belle, or fire it out of a T Shirt cannon? Do you keep your Drew energy at a press conference and shout "yeah!" or do you transform into the disgruntled coach ala Belichick? What are the things that the public will remember about first year head coach Drew Magary?

No visor. As George Carlin once said, it's just half a hat, and you should go back to the man who sold it to you and demand the rest of the hat. No suit; clothes do not lend dignity to what is essentially an undignified pastime. No pen; who outside of a Dickensian villain uses a pen any more? The challenge flag only works emotionally if it is aimed at the nearest official's head. No press conferences; Drew's too busy trying to make Alexander Mattison a decent running back and can't be bothered answering pointedly deserved questions from Courtney Cronin. And the public will remember that he skipped the last game of the season to go see a metal band because his team was already 3-13 and long eliminated.

Mike:

My grandpa always used ‘ass over tea kettle’ to represent falling down. Someone else just shared that theirs said ‘sounds like something coming out the south end of a northbound mule’ for being full of shit. You’re a colorful guy. What else you got?

Drew is a colorful guy, but as we said, he's pissing off the week, so we can offer "Every time you speak, you weaken the nation," an old Three Stooges line from when they were actually funny, circa 1936. If you need something more recent, Sue Perkins expressed her displeasure at Alex Horne in a recent Taskmaster by calling him "an absolute shower of shit." These may not pass as old-timey aphorisms, but not all grandparents were so lyrically gifted. Plus, they didn't invent "ass over tea kettle" anyway. They stole that one from someone else—probably Sue Perkins.

Dan:

I don't know if this is a thing anywhere else, but in Chicago people will OFTEN pass you on a residential street if you are going the speed limit (usually 25). It's happened to me so often that I can see it coming every time (zipping up at 40+mph in the rearview mirror, tailgating for a few seconds, then zipping by when it's clear). Very annoying and dangerous, but I'm so used to it now that I don't generally respond with anything more than an under-my-breath, "psycho…". UNLESS! If the offender initiates by honking and/or giving stink-eye and one of those angry "get out of the way!" hand gestures WHILE ILLEGALLY PASSING, I have no choice but to tell them to sit and spin.

BUT ALSO! I am a dad to three young kids (oldest being 1st grade), so often at least one of the kids is in the car with me when this happens. With kids present I can usually resist the urge to flip the bird, but not always. They have witnessed their old man make this terribly rude gesture in anger at least a few times already in their young lives. Probably not a great example being set. Should I cut it out?

(Minor edit! If you choose this question, could you edit to say "but where I live, just outside of Chicago,"? I don't want to steal valor, and I don't want real Chicagoans to jump on me for wrongfully ascribing this driving pattern to them. In Chicago, there are so many cars parked on the streets, and there are often huge speed bumps on the residential streets, which are often one-way anyway, that you are physically prevented from driving in this particular obnoxious way "in Chicago").

Everyone everywhere drives like they're Liam Neeson trying to save his daughter from a pack of rabid dingoes, so your worries about offending Chicagoans is misplaced. When you drive, you are accepting the fact that there are not enough police to modify the behaviors of people who drive like they think they're racing to the hospital while their spouse is giving birth, and that traffic laws are not even suggestions but just things that the rubes believe in. It's a shitshow out there, and the only thing that will change it is the asteroid of justice that incinerates us all. As for swearing while your kids are in the car, well, how else are they supposed to learn context? How else do they gain the coordination to fire a finger off quickly and confidently? This is the essence of parenting in the modern age, and if little Brendan accidentally tells Uncle Gus to fuck right off at Thanksgiving dinner without knowing what it means or why it might be inappropriate, well, it's part of child development.

Brian:

Now that Tom Brady is a divorced weirdo making terrible commercials and the Patriots suck again, does that mean that karmic balance is being restored to 20th-century levels? I'll take a "failsons all the way down" ownership/coaching staff and 4-13 seasons from here to eternity if it makes Trump go away.

There's no such thing as "karmic balance." Stuff happens because it happens, without a grand plan from an unseen force. Besides, what was so goddamned great about the 20th century? And why exactly do you think Trump was the logical extension of the Patriots winning? You think he would not have emerged from the primordial ooze if the Bills or Dolphins had won a Super Bowl instead? You think the right-wingnut part of the political diaspora is out of rampant shitheels after Trump and Jim Jordan find the corner hell they so richly deserve? You ever heard of Matt Gaetz or Kari Lake? We are slowly but surely advancing upon the cultural bankruptcy we have unwittingly sought for decades, and the Patriots are effect rather than cause. Besides, what's your theory if they draft a quarterback next year and start winning again in 2025?

Katerina:

I've been seeing a lovely guy for a month and a half, and he recently asked to use my Defector login. When I tried to brush him off he countered that I can use his logins for things. This seems too soon! We haven’t even had the exclusive talk yet. And what if he comments nonsense under my username? So my question is, at what point in dating, relationships, etc. is it appropriate to share content logins?

PS: I'm hoping Drew’s stand-in will answer this as he’s been married for 100 years and out of the game too long.

Hah! Your backup typist has been married for 200 years and is a practiced technophobe, so you have actually lost valuable advice by asking for the proxy. Anyway, we know this guy because there's a million of them out there and none of them are lovely. Quite the contrary. They are all varying degrees of suckmonkey, and the quicker you lose this rancid turnip the better off you'll be. Any person deserving of your evident charms can afford his own Defector sub and his own login, so tell this chowderhead to either pony up like an adult, or pound mud and find someone who will take responsibility for his own cheapjack brain lesions. Love means never having to say, "Did you say that you like the Washington Wizards on my Defector account, you gelatinous fraud?" And if he acquiesces and subscribes, make him show you a receipt. Trust, but verify.

Oh, and Drew will be back next week, unless his sternumectomy requires extra healing time. This has been a disaster.

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