Monday, October 30, 2000

Stirring the pot on Halloween

        On Halloween Eve, my thoughts always turn to No.2 pencils. These wooden writing implements are the treats my wife insists we hand out to the neighborhood goblins. That's what you get for marrying a former teacher.

        Palming off pencils to ghosts, witches, cowboys, ballerinas, Pokemon characters and assorted scary beasts wearing presidential candidate masks or Bengals uniforms places my house in a distinct minority.

        According to a recent survey in Time magazine, only 18 percent of American households give out so-called “healthy” treats on Halloween. To me, that designation takes in any treat that doesn't help a dentist make his boat payment.

        No.2 pencils are very healthy.

        The ones we give out are not sharpened. Don't want to jab any pencil points into those little beggars' outstretched mitts.

        If the trick-or-treaters get hungry and feel the need to dine on a pencil's wood or eraser, both are sugarless, fat-free and high in fiber. And, the steel band around the eraser provides a natural source of minerals for building strong bodies.

Tricks and treats
               Alas, pencils are not to everyone's taste. So said my friendly neighborhood witch while stirring her boiling cauldron.

        After she blended cats' paws and eye of newt to her concoction, strange vapors filled the air. Suddenly, through the steam, I started having visions of what the rich and famous will give out Tuesday night:

        • Al Gore: Hershey's Kisses.

        • George W. Bush: Dum Dum Pops.

        • Ralph Nader: Corvair spoilers.

        • Pat Buchanan: A chicken — with two right wings — in every pot.

        • Bob Taft: Buckeyes.

        • Mike Brown: The shaft.

        • Carl Lindner: T-shirts with the slogan: “I spent $116.5 million on Ken Griffey Jr. and all I got was a lousy second-place ball club.”

        • Marge Schott: Hershey's Whatchamacallits.

        • Melody Sawyer Richardson: Pork rinds.

        • Patricia Corbett: Nestle's 100 Grands.

        • Bob Bedinghaus: Sweetheart deals.

        • Todd Portune: Price tags for Paul Brown Stadium.

        • John Dowlin: Bumper stickers proclaiming: “I didn't vote for the stadiums.”

        • Bruce Coslet: Game-winning plays, seldom used.

        • Dick LeBeau: Rap CDs confiscated from the Bengals' locker room.

        • Corey Dillon: Broken records.

        • Barry Larkin: Resumes of favorite Reds managerial candidates.

        • Ken Griffey Jr.: Permission slips to leave games early.

        • Pete Rose: Paint jobs.

        • Tony Perez: Pride.

Chuckles & Milk Duds
               • Charlie Luken: Nordstrom bags.

        • John Shirey: “Kick me” signs.

        • Charlie Winburn: Reese's NutRageous.

        • Doug Kirchhofer: Maps to the Firstar Center.

        • CSO Music-Director Designate Paavo Jarvi: Paperback copies of Great Expectations.

        • Jeff Ruby: Mr. Goodbars.

        • Blair Shannon: Snickers.

        • Jim Fox: Baby Ruths.

        • Dr. Laura Schlessinger: Lame apologies.

        • Procter & Gamble: Rolls of Charmin made from Durk Jager's stationery.


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