By BOB WIRE
I’m not a big costume guy.
When you wear a costume every day, Halloween kind of loses its novelty. This became a big problem last year when I got together with a couple of old Fencemenders and played at a Halloween house party. I called the host the day before the party and asked him a few questions.
“Hey, this is Bob. This Halloween party of yours, is it a costume deal?”
“No, we’re going to save the costume party for Independence Day. Of course it’s a costume party, Bob. Is that a problem?”
“No, not at all. I can deal with that. I’ll just come dressed as a honky-tonk god.”
“Actually,” he said, clearing his throat, “there’s a theme. We want everyone to come dressed as their favorite TV character from their childhood.”
“Oh. Sounds great. How fun. I’ll be ready.”
Suddenly I had to find a peasant blouse in 44 regular so I could dress as Maria Rodriguez from Sesame Street. Ah, Maria…even as a young boy, I remember wishing Big Bird and Snuffalupagus would get the hell out of the scene so I could concentrate on her large Latin melons, straining against her dress like a nation of unregulated migrant workers seeking an organized labor union. But I don’t have the cans to pull it off convincingly, so I had to think of something else.
I thought about going as one of the Partridge Family. Which one? Well, duh—the 10-year-old smartass drummer, Danny Bonaduce. Hell, we’re the same age, and we both have bloodshot peepers and a ginger goatee. I wouldn’t need much for a costume, really. A couple of restraining orders, a bucket of black market painkillers, a hand-stamp from rehab, and a fake contract from a desperate L.A. radio station. Piece of cake.
But I decided to give Danny a break. More people probably know him from reality shows anyway. So, how about Mr. Rogers? That would have been easy: a cardigan, a pair of loafers, and a Republican haircut. Then I’d just adopt that smarmy, slightly creepy way of talking that sounds patronizing even to an infant. Would have been a big hit at the party.
“Guess what we’re going to do today. Can you guess? Sure. I knew you could. That’s right! We’re going to mix some Red Bull with a couple shots of Jagermeister, and take a little ride to the Magic Kingdom.”
Nix. I needed something a little more edgy.
You know who I really used to dig watching? Mannix. He was one bad son of a bitch. He didn’t have the soft heart of Jim Rockford, and wasn’t saddled with the Zen crime fighting philosophy of Steve McGarrett.
No, Joe Mannix was the purest, most violent, most bullshit-free private dick in TV history. He’d usually get laid twice before the opening credits finished rolling, and show up at his office to occasionally find that his secretary, Peggy Fair, had been kidnapped. Or some hophead was threatening to poison Southern California’s water supply. Whatever. He’d take a pull off his cigarette, climb into his convertible, and drive around Los Angeles, invariably getting shot and/or beat up by his old Army buddies. He exuded Armenian cool, and always had a bitchin’ ride.
But where was I going to come up with a summer weight grey linen suit by the weekend? Ah, forget it.
I scoured my childhood TV memory banks. With only three channels, it didn’t take that long…there was the Gilligan’s Island crew, of course. My, ah, stout physique might have had me leaning more toward the Skipper than his little buddy. But let’s get real. Why would I be the Skipper? Is the Skipper ever going to get his face sat on by Ginger or Mary Ann? Hell no. They’re both playing hide the salami with Mr. Howell, trying to worm their way into his will. Plus, if I was the Skipper, I’d need my Gilligan. (Boy, I never in my life would have predicted typing that sentence.)
I considered Captain Kangaroo. Anyone under 40 would never get it. They might mistake me for a gone-to-seed Andy Warhol. Fred Flintstone? Shit. You ever try to play guitar in a tiger skin toga? George Jetson, the yin to Fred Flintstone’s yang, was a possibility. Simple—all I had to do was steal Ace Frehley’s stage outfit from KISS. Not bloody likely.
What about Opie? I’d roll up my jeans, grab a fishing pole and can of worms, and say stuff like, “Gee, paw, how come Aint Bee always smells like pee?”
Nope. Too wholesome. Ah, what about the Banana Splits? I used to love that show, and I don’t know why. It was the tail end of the 60’s, and The Banana Splits represented the television industry at the height of psychedelic drug madness and apparent lack of adult supervision. If you are of age to remember that show, you know there couldn’t have been one straight person on that set. Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snork? These are not names you come up with under the influence of coffee. Did and Marty Krofft must have dropped more acid than Timothy Leary at Hunter Thompson’s bachelor party.
But I had to reject that idea as well. I didn’t even have time to come up with a Banana Splits costume, which would have been constructed simply by sewing together a couple of bath mats and a day-glo afghan I got from the Poverello yard sale.
The clock was ticking and I was out of ideas. So I decided to go dressed as the guy in the Cialis commercial. I’m here to tell you it’s not easy to play an electric guitar while wearing a bathtub.
Have a great Halloween, Missoula, and keep an eye out for the little ones out there.
Check out all of Bob Wire’s posts in his blog archive.
Think of it as Gonzo meets Hee Haw: Missoula honky tonker Bob Wire holds forth on a unique life filled with music, parenthood, drinking, sports, working, marriage, drinking, and just navigating the twisted wreckage of American culture. Plus occasional grooming tips. Like the best humor, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes savage, Bob Wire demands that you possess a good sense of humor and an open mind.
Bob Wire has written more than 500 humor columns for a regional website over the last five years, and his writing has appeared in the Missoulian, the Missoula Independent, Montana Magazine, and his own Bob Wire Has a Point Blog. He is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded three CDs of original material with his Montana band, the Magnificent Bastards. His previous band, the Fencemenders, was a popular fixture at area clubs. They were voted Best Local Band twice by the Missoula Independent readers poll. Bob was voted the Trail 103.3/Missoulian Entertainer of the Year in 2007.