For months now I’ve had trouble sleeping. Seems like I’m always waking up in a cold sweat.
Some nights it’s because I’m worried about the economy. I mean all it takes is one random earnings report to cause a sudden downturn.
“The Trojan Condom Company today announced sales are limp…”
This causes the greatest minds in the network television financial world to grope for answers…
“I think this is because Trojan is facing stiff competition from cheap yet colorful Chinese imports, Peter.”
“You could be right, Willie, and it’s just one more indicator of the expanding labor problem we face in the near future.”
Some nights I worry too much about the “other” big one.
“A new report just released today by the SWRSRTGMF (Scientists Who Release Scary Reports to Get More Funding) said with the right conditions an earthquake of unprecedented magnitude could strike within the next few millennia and cause a complete split of America. In a poll taken immediately after this report Republicans said this was ridiculous while Democrats said it made perfect sense. Both parties appear to be moving quickly away from the middle part of the country.”
Then there are nights when I lie awake shivering at the thought of global warming.
“Shall I turn up the heat, Dear?”
“No, let’s just wait.”
Still other nights, like tonight, I worry about more immediate issues.
“I have no idea what to be for Halloween this year.”
“Relax. You’ll think of something.”
“Relax? How can I re… ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.”
That’s when I found myself at the strangest Halloween party I’ve ever seen. It was being held somewhere south of Santa Barbara in the exclusive enclave of Montecito at an estate the size of Rhode Island. A valet handed me a ticket and drove off into the night in my 1999 Mercury Mystique following five Bentleys and a Rolls Royce Phantom.
“Try not to scratch my car,” I yelled at the valet. “That’s the original paint.”
Inside, the palace-like structure was mobbed with people drinking copious amounts of wine, and eating chicken wings – both right wing and left -- and playing games like bob for the locally grown organic apple and pin the blame on the donkey.
There were costumed people as far as the eye could see including many celebrities. I spotted Oprah dressed as Dr. Phil. Hillary Clinton dressed as Joe Biden. And Sarah Palin dressed like a Sierra Club member.
Fans surrounded Lady Gaga, who was makeup-less and dressed in a beige pantsuit with her hair in a ponytail.
“Oh My Gawd! You are so outrageous!”
“How do you think of these things?”
“You should win Best Costume for sure.”
“Gosh. Please stop. You embarrass the heck out of me.”
Gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman was there wearing an outfit that must have cost a fortune.
“Are those hundred dollar bills?”
“Yes. And the lining is made of eBay stock certificates.”
“No it was made by cheap immigrant laborers that I thought were born here.”
Meg was accompanied by non other than Jerry Brown dressed as a Moonbeam.
“Isn’t that the same outfit you wore to Halloween ’75?”
“Yup. Why change what works?”
Arnold Schwarzenegger was there wearing an ill-fitting Rambo outfit. And the entire Supreme Court was there dressed up as, well, the Supremes. They were entertaining the crowd with favorites like: “Stop in the Name of Love” and “I hear a Symphony.”
I also spotted fellow writers from the Montecito Journal, Jim Alexander and Grace Rachow. Both were dressed as ballet dancers in matching tutus.
“Wow you guys look great. Pink becomes you.”
“Yeah, maybe,” said Jim, “but these tights keep riding up on me.”
“And my ankles are swollen,” said Grace. “There’s, like, no arch support, whatsoever in these slippers.” They pirouetted off in search of Halloween candy.
That’s when I spotted publisher Jim Buckley dressed up like Obama.
“Nice ears,” people were saying.
Before I could tell him how clever he looked dressed as the ultimate liberal, he poked me in the chest and said: “You’re in your underwear. And if you think I’m going to publish this… you’re dreaming.”
“What? Jim? Chief?”
That’s when my wife shook me. “You okay?”
I got up, put on last year’s smooshed pumpkin outfit, then closed my eyes tightly and tried to think of something less scary like the Middle-East crisis.