Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Every now and then the public should consider grabbing hold of a tradition and shaking it up a bit.  Take, for example, the great Broadway musical  ¨Fiddler on the Roof¨.  It´s main theme is the destruction of tradtion. The Jews of early twentieth century Russia are forced to change habits that have served them well for years and years, but they slowly learn to adjust to these cataclysmic changes in their lives.  Then there is Baseball.  In one of the two Leagues, the designated hitter rule radically altered the game by not having the usually weak-hitting pitcher hit.  Do I personally like that this rule exists?  Not really.  But has it destroyed the game of baseball?  Of course not.  It has created a brand new tradition that many people enjoy.  I myself cannot deny that some games have multiplied their level of excitement by having that extra strong bat in the lineup.  I could cite further examples of how the altering or even the destruction of certain traditions have made certain aspects of life a little more interesting.  But it is time to talk of one well respected tradition that I would like to vary just a little bit.  Halloween.

There is argument about the exact origins of Halloween.  Some scholars cite ancient pagan traditions while others specify a definite Christian beginning.  But no matter how it started, the term ¨trick or treat¨ certainly doesn´t carry the impact it used to have.  The ¨trick¨ part is pretty much an idle threat nowadays.  On second thought, I would bet that the amount of eggs and shaving cream purchased on the 30th and 31st of October is probably a little higher than normal.  But anyway, the concept of - If you don´t give me a treat, I might do some serious damage to your property. - is pretty much history.  But what if we were to offer a brand new alternative to the word ¨trick¨?  Something that is certainly less offensive, having no element of danger whatsoever.  A word that will offer an interesting choice for the typical costumed trick-or-treater.  What about the word ¨Knits¨?  Knits or Treats.  Yes, I like the sound of that.

Here´s how it would work.  Like always, kids dressed up in silly costumes would come to a door, ring the bell  and yell out ¨Knits or Treats¨ to the home owner.  The home owner might then say, ¨Well, Mr. Frankenstein, you look like a lad who could use a little bit of knitting in his life.  So here´s a nice ball of 50% wool and 50% silk for you to play with.  Now you be sure to have your mom or dad take you to your local knit store tomorrow so that you can purchase a pair of knitting needles.  I´d recommend a 12 inch long, size 8 for this particular ball of yarn.  And you be sure to knit a small square so you can get a proper gauge before you actually commit to a project.¨  Soon, children all over America would take up knitting and every 1st of November there would be a run on knitting needles. 

There is one small problem with this tradition-busting concept of mine.  The Candy Industry.  They would not be pleased.  If this idea of mine took hold, their October sales figures, which undoubtedly are in the billions, would plummet drastically.  And what if my unorthodox idea went even further and instead of  ¨trick or treat¨, we would have ¨tricks or knits¨?  I would be a marked man.  The Candy Industry would put out a contract on my life.  I would have to go into seclusion.  But it would be worth it as Cathy´s business would be absolutely crazy in the month of October and I´d finally be able to buy myself that double extra-large vicuña sweater I´ve always longed for. 

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