Random Acts of Toughness II…

November 9, 2008

Halloween has come and gone- nothing left but a bucket full of candy corn and dum-dum suckers. The crunch bars, M&Ms and butterfingers didn’t see the dawn of November 1st, so what remains is the ghetto candy that folks pass out when they don’t want to invest in a pagan holiday. What’s up with that anyway? Where’s the good stuff? What happened to that one crazy guy at the end of the street who would hand out full sized Zagnut bars to every kid who wandered up his driveway? I loved that guy. I need to look him up on facebook and give him mad props for his Halloween can-do spirit. These days my kids are as likely to get a Slimfast bar as they are a Milky Way; one guy actually had the audacity to give my boys a 4oz bottle of water and a roll of Tums, hello freak it’s Halloween, give up the goods!!!

But this post isn’t a simple rant about how Halloween was better when I was a kid (but it was if you’re wondering). Actually I am posting because I was fortunate enough to witness another “random act of toughness”. Several weeks ago, I told my readers (hi Pammy!) that I planned on starting a series of posts aimed at highlighting just how tough my 6-year old son, Cayden, really is.   This is my second installment.

On Halloween night, Connie, the boys and I were wandering around our neighborhood doing the trick or treat thing.  We have our routine- every year we walk the same path visiting the same boring houses getting the same boring candy. Most of the kids along our route are under two years old and dressed up like an Anne Geddes portrait. We adopted this route because when we first moved into our neighborhood, the kids were tiny and vulnerable thus safe, boring, quiet houses on Halloween night were probably the smartest choice. Conventional wisdom suggests that you shouldn’t take your 2-year old to see the opening of Saw IV or the new Rob Zombie Movie- the same flow of logic that Connie and I used when deciding where to trick or treat. We avoided the infamous Hampton Street at all costs as we knew that if we ventured onto its hallowed ground, the kids would never sleep again.

What’s a Hampton Street you may ask? Hampton Street is where all the wacky folks in our neighborhood reside. I am sure you’ve met their type before.  They are the kind of people who don’t celebrate Christmas or Easter because they’re saving all of their energy for a real holiday (i.e. Halloween). These folks take it to the next level.  They buy 50lb plastic tarantulas and enough fake webbing to capture a Boeing 747. They sport the no-kidding made for Hollywood mask that costs more than a new Prius and they purchase authentic coffins to place in their front yards. You’ll most likely hear them first because they’re blaring spooky music from a sound system that looks like it came straight from a Stone’s concert. Of course, every single one of them owns a black cat. But did you know they stop feeding them two weeks before the big day just to make sure they’re angry enough to take the finger off an unsuspecting 10-year old without the slightest hint of provocation? Bottom line- Hampton Street is home to Maryland’s Halloween hardcore zealots.

With an intro like that, you know that Connie and I took the boys to Hampton Street. Right or wrong, we decided it was time to introduce the little men to the real meaning of Halloween- if you want the good stuff, you better bring your gonuts, cause it comes with a price. So off we trounced down Hampton. At first, both of our boys were excited. Each of them knew that we avoided Hampton in the past because it was reserved for big kids and allowing them to go was a right of passage, a vision quest if you will.

Mack was dressed as a zombie skate punk. He is eight-years old, thus much too cool to be a superhero, fireman or hockey player. His costume came from buycostumes.com, a purchase Connie made to avoid going store to store looking for the perfect Halloween get-up. When I saw it online, it looked pretty legit. What came in the mail, however, was no different than the flimsy costumes of my youth- you know the ones I’m talking about, plastic coveralls with one-sided mask held to your face with the world’s cheapest rubber band. Mack didn’t seem to notice, he felt like a no-shit zombie skateboarding punk, how he knew what that felt like is beyond me, but he did. Cayden selected a pretty sweet Darth Vader costume. Leave it to Cay to want to be the villain, no surprises there. His costume was pretty damn authentic the only difference between him and the real thing was about 4-feet and the fact that Darth Vader was probably slightly more merciful towards his foe and a bit more pleasant before meal time.


So off we wandered- Connie, the zombie, Mini-Vader and yours truly. The first sign of trouble came when we spotted a large group of screeching teenage girls. They went shooting past us like they just spotted the Jonas Brothers. Obviously something in the direction we were heading had set them off- kind of like in those nature films when the wild beasts start to stampede because of the presence of a lion. The kids giggled; Connie and I looked at each other nervously. That’s when I spotted the lion (metaphorically speaking of course). About 5o yards to our right was a Hampton Halloween zealot dressed in a monk’s robe and wearing a very authentic looking demon mask. He was moving stealthily from shrub to shrub waiting for the perfect opportunity to jump out and scare the living daylights out of whoever passed his way. This guy didn’t care if you were 6-months old or 60, in a stroller or moving with the aid of a walker; his judgement may have been lacking but his effort was commendable.

I watched as the demon monk moved into position to pounce on my children. Mack and Cay were so busy trying to crack the code on a box of Hot Tamales that they failed to notice that this joker had them in his sights. Everything was set- my boys were looking down, the demon monk was in position, and Connie and I were braced for the ensuing mayhem. That’s when all hell broke loose.

The demon monk sprung from his lair and growled at the boys. Mack screamed while shitting his pants, dropped his candy and pushed his little brother into the path of the monster (obviously loyalty is a trait learned later in life). Cayden reached for his light saber and dropped his box of Hot Tamales to the pavement. As Mack ran screaming into the relative safety of my arms, Cayden assumed the basic warrior stance that I had taught him during our in home Marine martial arts training seminars. The demon monk look perplexed. Little boys were supposed to react like Mack, they were not supposed to defiantly challenge the creature to open combat. Before I had a chance to intervene, Cayden took to swinging his light saber at the demon monk with all of the might his 40lb frame could muster. The monster back peddled while looking over his shoulder for support from his group of Hampton cronies who had so enjoyed watching little kids run in terror just a few minutes earlier. Cayden advanced; the demon monk retreated. Obviously the guy in the monster suit had never met a child such as Cayden. I’m sure he’ll pick his targets more carefully in the future as to avoid the embarrassment of getting his butt kicked by kids who can barely recite their ABC’s.

Cayden wasn’t even breathing hard after the encounter. He went back to retrieve his Hot Tamales and took the opportunity to ask Mack why he was whimpering behind my back. Personally I think he knew why Mack was scared, but wanted to rub it in a little. I guess that was Mack’s punishment for throwing his little brother under the proverbial bus. The remainder of the night was spent hunting down the demon monk; Cayden wanted some more of that action. Conversely, the demon monk must have spent the rest of the night trying to stay out of our path as to avoid a second encounter with the little boy who shattered his Hampton rep.

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Jen posted the following on November 11, 2008 at 3:33 am.

I love your blog! Classic older brother throwing the younger brother under the bus. Cayden certainly does have some gonuts on him, you should be proud.

admin posted the following on November 11, 2008 at 8:02 am.

Thank you for the compliment.

Cayden has no fear, and I say that in all seriousness. I hope he learns some healthy fear soon otherwise he is going to spend a lot of time in the hosptial, he’s kinda like Ben Affleck in the Movie “Dare-Devil”; the boy without fear

Stacey posted the following on November 11, 2008 at 4:42 pm.

I completely forgot how dam funny you are. I laughed till tears fell out of my eyes. You are an amazing and talented writer and I just know I will see you at one of your book signings someday. I just spent 2 1/2 hours of my already long work day reading your blog. I could not stop. Hell, you had several people in the office laughing along with me. Thanks, Dear brother, I will probably miss karate class tonight!

I think I deserve a “shout out” minimally, for neglecting my family by becoming engrossed with your blog! You are the best! I enjoy your blog! I will continue reading.

admin posted the following on November 11, 2008 at 6:03 pm.

Darling Sis, glad you finally got on board by reading my blog. Don’t worry our times growing up are some of my best material, stand by to be embarrassed because not everybody knows that Play-do taste salty.

Tell your friends they can vote for my blog on the bloggers choice awards for hottest daddy blogger, trust me I need the help. love you, shane

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