Ahh, Halloween. When giddy young children frolic about the neighborhood in search of the one house dishing out full-sized candy bars and average adults dress up like dead celebrities.
Children high on Nerds and Tootsie Pops are darling, of course, and I love an army of teenage mutant transforming storm troopers at my door as much as the next mom, but it is revelers like my brother Michael who help make Halloween my favorite holiday.
Michael lives the happy life of a hot and happenin’ thirtysomething in Chicago. He has a great job, lives a few blocks from Wrigley Field and can play guitar as late as he wants every night of the week, for Michael has no wife, no fiancée, no live-in girlfriend.
One Halloween, Michael decided (at the last minute, because when one is single one can do anything one chooses on a moment’s notice) to attend a Halloween party at a bar in downtown Chicago.
Wearing a banana suit, because he lives alone with no one to talk him out of it.
Taking a cab from Wrigleyville in a banana suit on Halloween was not a problem. The cabbie did not question him. In fact, he hardly seemed to notice. And attending a party dressed like a King-Kong-sized banana was not a problem either.
No, the problem came the next morning when Michael, still dressed as a banana, woke up at a female friend’s house, a couple of miles from his home. She did not judge him for leaving his wallet at the bar the night before or crashing on her couch. That is a true friend. A truer friend would have discreetly driven him home, but she did not own transportation. So she spotted him $2.25 for the bus and sent him on his way.
Michael contemplated his next move. While the $2.25 was most helpful, a change of clothes might have come in just as handy. For some reason, however, the thought of changing into a girl’s clothes was out of the question. That would have completely stripped him of his dignity.
Into the street he went, wearing black tights, a black T-shirt and an overgrown banana peel.
He crossed the street just as the bus was pulling away, taunting him into running after it, waving his arms and yelling, unconcerned with the stares he was receiving on the streets of Chicago in the early hours of Nov. 1.
Fortunately the bus slowed down, and Michael, the man-sized banana, hopped on, breathing heavily from the short run, and was greeted by a busload of awe-struck passengers and one crying toddler.
“They started yelling at me to slow down for the banana,” the bus driver said, pointing to the people behind him.
One passenger was sympathetic to his plight, though. A young guy, in a display of kindness appropriate for All Saints Day, leaned across the aisle and simply patted him on the back. “It’s OK, man,” he consoled. “Everyone’s done the Banana Walk of Shame at some point.”
Have a happy, happy Halloween!