Man About TOWN

Hip to Be Square

by Man About TOWN

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Jun
27

The Man About TOWN sees the benefit of age in L.A.

Oh, to be cool.” I remember my father saying those words as he drove me to my first day of ninth grade. My father, who wore khaki pants, a button-down Oxford shirt, and a blue blazer every day of his adult life, was commenting on my outfit. Up to that point, and for several years to come, I thought of his clothing as ridiculous, yet here I was wearing red Converse high tops, red parachute pants, a Frankie-Says-Relax t-shirt, a red bandana tied at the neck, and, the icing on the cake, a mullet I had groomed to glorious new lengths over the summer. My dad was right: there were two people in the station wagon that morning, and one of them was not cool.

Now, some thirty years later, I often find myself sarcastically muttering “Oh, to be cool,” under my breath. On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I practically chanted the phrase. L.A. is the most diverse city in the country, and that diversity breeds and fuses all types of trends. Take dining out for example. L.A. restaurants are a maze of paleo, gluten-free, ancient grains, coconut oil and kale, with offerings such as $7 artisanal toast leavened with ambient yeasts and served with locally-sourced, organic apple butter. As a chef friend once told me, “When the menu has more adjectives than nouns, you know you’re in trouble.” From the bartender “hand-chipping” ice while dressed like an extra from Oliver Twist to the bespectacled woman in a pilgrim hat crafting items for her Etsy store while drinking a “single-origin, fair-trade, low-acidic, mocha macchiato,” there is a palpable anxiety to be cool in L.A. And those are just the hipsters. L.A. is also full of new-age hippies, young punks, trust-fund fashionistas, and a dizzying number of old men in Ferraris. And they’re all writers, and they’d all rather be in New York.

It’s really not fair to pick on L.A., as Brooklyn, Portland, Austin, and Asheville are just as guilty of embracing, and glorifying, trends. Even Greenville is not immune. For proof just spend a morning at the TD Saturday Market. But for every new trend that is born, an old one dies. Oxygen bars become vaping stores, 10Ks become Tough Mudders, low-carb beer becomes high-gravity ale. The undercut fades, and selvedge jeans of today are the mullets and parachute pants of yesterday.

After working my way through new-wave, hair metal, and finally grunge, I gave up on fashion-trend-following in my early twenties and settled on a look my dad had perfected years earlier. A look that is as classic today as it was fifty years ago. Now, when I see a bearded twenty-something in suspenders or a young woman in high-waisted, cut-off denim shorts, I can’t help but wonder if one day they’ll look back and say the same thing I say when I see old photos of myself: “What the hell was I thinking?”

Man About TOWN

Road Test

by Man About TOWN

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Jun
3

The Man lives out a fantasy and realizes the thrill of his own life

At no place is the inner child of a middle-aged man so obvious than in the driver’s seat of an automobile. No matter what we may drive, from mini-van, to sports coupe, to SUV, every man sits behind the wheel thinking the driving skills of James Bond live somewhere deep inside him. It was March of 1986 when I received my driver’s license and the keys to a 1979 Buick Estate Wagon, complete with artificial wood trim. And since that day, and through many vehicles, I have known with certainty that I could outmaneuver and outrun any bad guys who may suddenly give chase. Of course, this is coming from the man who thinks 60 in a 55 is “pushing the envelope.”

To test my theory, I called my friend Matt Mullins, the chief driving instructor at the BMW Performance Center, and asked if he would take me out on the track. Some would say Matt is living the dream. He’s a professional race driver and has worked as a stunt driver on films such as Talladega Nights. Plus, he looks like a movie star and gets to fly around a test track in BMWs all day long.

When I arrived at the Performance Center, Matt started with a short PowerPoint presentation about seating and mirror positions, braking distances, and where one’s hands should be on the wheel. (It’s 9 and 3 by the way.) Then we went out to the track and hopped into a 2012 BMW M3.

As we approached an area called the Skid Pad, Matt punched some buttons on his walkie-talkie and an irrigation system sprang to life, shooting water across the donut-shaped cement. “We’re going to work on drifting,” Matt said, as I tightened my seat belt. We circled slowly with the front left tire close to the inner edge of the ring. Then Matt “tapped” the accelerator bringing all 414 horses to life and sending the back end of the vehicle into a fishtail. He compensated with continual and lighting-fast adjustments to the steering wheel and accelerator, performing a perfectly controlled drift around the entire circle.

When we came to a stop, Matt looked at me and said, “OK, your turn.” I stared ahead blankly. He then asked if I was ok, saying I looked pale. I told him that was because all of the blood had just gone to my trousers.

For the next half hour, Matt let me burn up the tires on a $60,000 BMW. I never got the hang of drifting, and it finally occurred to me that maybe performance driving is not inherent, but something cultivated over years of training and practice.

Later in the Performance Center Café, Matt and I sat over plates of German sausages and sauerkraut (when in Rome) and discussed his driving career. Listing his accomplishments, Matt seemed most excited to tell me about the time he wrote an article that was published in an auto magazine. “I really wish I could write,” he said. “I wish I could, too,” I responded, attempting to show him that I’m prone to bad humor and that the trousers comment was not meant literally. He said he’d love to get more articles published, and I told him I’d love to get paid to drive fast. For the next few minutes we ate in silence, lost in our thoughts. Two men on either side of a fence, admiring the other’s greener grass.

Man About TOWN

Stroke of Genius

by Man About TOWN

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May
7

The Man taps into his inner Picasso

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I was tagging along with the beautiful blonde who inexplicably enjoys my company when I found myself watching a princess create a masterpiece. We had stopped to visit the beautiful blonde’s niece, an award-winning children’s book illustrator, who lives in town. The niece’s daughter Helen is three, and on this particular day was dressed as Belle, or it might have been Ariel, complete with plastic slippers sporting a modest heel. Helen sat at the dining room table and with intense concentration, along with a bevy of crayons and paper, created what can only be called modern art. If interested in viewing this work, I’m afraid it’s tastefully displayed at a private gallery, known as the refrigerator.

Watching Helen color with pure joy made me wonder why all kids have crayons and all adults don’t. If you color, finger-paint, build with blocks, or run around the house singing and dancing as a child, you are just a kid. But do these things as an adult, and you are immediately labeled as someone to be closely watched, or worse yet, medicated.

Visit any kindergarten class on any day, and you will see kids immersed in the arts. They will be painting and sculpting and designing, and the halls will be covered with their works. But as kids rise through school, art takes less and less precedence. By the time a student reaches high school, art is constrained to “elective” classes, or where I went to avoid gym. Picasso once said that every child is an artist; the problem is to remain one. By pushing art to the fringes, schools are telling children that art is not as valuable as other disciplines. That it is a hobby, not a career. We are stripping kids of their natural creativity in a race for higher test scores.

But in some, the creative spirit is too strong to break. In fact, the beautiful blonde who inexplicably enjoys my company frequently draws and paints in her free time. Despite being an author, speaker, and president of a company, she is the happiest and most focused sitting on the porch with a blank canvas and tray of watercolors. To her, painting is a release and more about the process than the end product.

I’ve never been able to draw. My interest in the arts always skewed toward drama and music. But in an attempt to impress the beautiful blonde on her birthday, I bought a pack of colored pencils and painstakingly hand-crafted a card. I Googled “How to draw a pirate,” and followed the instructions to what ultimately, at my hand, became a crude cartoon character with what looked like a pineapple on his shoulder. On the inside, I drew a treasure chest overflowing with coins and jewels, above which I wrote, “It’s your birthday, how about a little booty?” It’s the only card I’ve ever given her that made her cry. That, my friends, is the power of art.

Man About TOWN

Free Wheelin’

by Man About TOWN

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Apr
1

The Man About TOWN embraces a childhood desire

Whenever someone compares the relative ease of relearning a task to “riding a bike,” it is safe to assume they have never seen me ride one. I grew up on a mountainside in western North Carolina where there were no sidewalks or bike lanes, and the roads were narrow ribbons of blind curves with low shoulders. Riding a bike in this area was nearly impossible, so the kids rode go-karts and ATVs and in certain cases lawn mowers. To be fair, the riding lawn mower was an acceptable form of transportation in this small community, especially for those who’d lost their driver’s license. It was not unusual to see a John Deere or Troy-Bilt parked next to Fords and Chevys at the convenience store or laundromat. Driving past such a scene, my mother would usually point and say, “Looks like Randy got another DUI.”

But as a child, even one with access to a riding mower, I still wanted a bike. Each Christmas morning, I would rush downstairs, certain that a shiny new Schwinn would be sitting next to the tree only to discover in its place a saxophone or chemistry set. The closest I came was on my fourteenth birthday when I unwrapped a unicycle. My parents seemed to be working on a theme because just three months earlier they had given me a pair of stilts for Christmas. Perhaps they felt my poor grades and disinterest in sports warranted a suggestion toward circus life.

But I’ve long since left the mountainside and now live just steps from the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail. From my kitchen window, I see all types of bikes and all types of riders. From the logo-covered, spandex-wearing road cyclists on their $5,000 Cannondales to the bearded hipsters in sport coats and selvedge denim pedaling their antique “fixies,” it seems everyone has a bike, except me.

So, ignoring my rule to never do anything that requires wearing a helmet, I decided it was time to purchase a bike. A friend suggested I visit Kip at Lucky Bike (2 Sidney St, Greenville) just off of Poinsett Highway. Kip gave me an enthusiastic thumbs-up when I told him I was in the market for my first bike and showed me his inventory. Kip collects used bikes and refurbishes them, replacing most of the parts: tires, tubes, gears, etc. It’s like buying a used car from a reputable lot run by a top-notch mechanic. Kip said that if I planned to ride mainly on the Swamp Rabbit I should consider a “hybrid” bike, which is a cross between a road bike and mountain bike. I took Kip’s advice and am now waiting for my “hybrid,” which should be ready in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime I have borrowed my friend’s bike a few times to explore the trail and get the hang of riding. Despite never owning a bike as a child, I’ve found each time I ride, I feel like a kid. I swerve and hop. In one brief moment of enthusiasm, I leaned back and jerked the handlebars up in a feeble attempt to perform a “wheelie.” And this is the appeal of the bicycle, to young and old alike. A bike is freedom. No motor, no noise, just a quiet means of escape.

Man About TOWN

City Love

by Man About TOWN

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Mar
1

The Man didn’t realize how good he had it until he’d gone

A couple of weeks ago the beautiful blonde who inexplicably enjoys my company invited me to accompany her in New York while she attended a business conference. I was hesitant at first because I had just completed a record-breaking six weeks of temperance, exercise, and clean living, and Manhattan is hardly conducive to any of those bad habits. But then I remembered the wise words of Oscar Wilde who said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” So I packed my bags and prepared to rekindle my love affair with food, drink, and good-natured debauchery. I was to be the Man About TOWN in a different town.

Despite being born and bred in the South, I have spent a lot of time in New York City. My father was from Long Island and lived and worked in the fashion industry in Manhattan for many years before moving to a small Southern town and falling in love with my mother. He would often take us to New York and drag us to all of his old hangouts: P.J. Clarke’s, The Bull & Bear, The Oak Bar at the Plaza. During one of these trips, I asked my father what he missed most about living in Manhattan. “Anonymity,” he replied, noting small towns were full of people interested in your closet and what skeletons might reside there.

As the beautiful blonde attended her conference, I snuck away to revisit some of my father’s old haunts and raise a fork and glass with his ghost. A gin and tonic and a hamburger at PJ Clarke’s, a dry martini at the Oak Bar, a medium-rare filet at the Bull & Bear. Each time I visited these places with my father, he seemed a little disappointed, remarking at how much they had changed in the years since he’d move away. I found the same to be true now, realizing it wasn’t the food or drink or decor that had formed my fond memories, it was spending time with my father that made these places special. They just weren’t the same without him. I believe the same held true for his return visits—it wasn’t the places that had changed, it was the faces that were different. He hadn’t loved living in Manhattan because of the anonymity; he had loved the familiarity.

Maybe this is why our visits to the city became less frequent as the years went on. And maybe that’s why I found myself longing for the comforts of my town and understanding why I frequent the places I do. It’s not Soby’s or Rick Erwin’s or Davani’s or American Grocery that I love. It’s Carl and Michelle and Rocky and Darlene. It’s people who greet me by name and ask about the kids. No matter how large the city or small the town, what we love is the feeling of community. That was what my father was always trying to recapture when he returned to New York. Just like the old theme song says, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.”

Man About TOWN

Shape Shifter

by Man About TOWN

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Feb
3

The Man About TOWN diversifies his modus operandi

For each of us there are times when bad ideas seem like good ones. For me that time usually occurs in the company of like-minded friends somewhere between the third and fourth drink. That’s when the clear thoughts of rationality start to become opaque, and ridiculous pronouncements such as “we should open our own bar” or “let’s all buy a vacation house together” are actually given consideration. It was during one of these times that I announced I was going to get in shape. To make matters worse, last month I committed this declaration to print in this magazine. I’m not saying that getting in shape is a bad idea, quite the contrary, I just wish I’d kept my intentions private since I now notice friends and colleagues glancing at my mid-section, silently assessing my progress, of which as of this writing has been scant. Worse yet is when they actually comment, usually saying something like, “So, when are you going to start?”

Like any good procrastinator, I began my fitness plan by immersing myself in research in an attempt to discover the most efficient workout program. After days spent scouring the Internet and fitness magazines, I came to the conclusion that there isn’t one. But one thing everyone agrees on is the importance of working out safely to avoid injury. My research found that one of the best ways to minimize the risk of injury is to undergo a functional movement screen (FMS) to identify any tightness and weakness in the body.

My friend Mark Murphy at Premier Physical Therapy and Personal Training offered to conduct the screening at his facility just off of Pelham Road in Greenville. After completing a fitness and health questionnaire, Mark handed me off to trainers Keith and Patrick. Keith led me through each test while Patrick, clipboard in hand, observed, assessing and taking notes on my form. For the first test, Keith handed me a rod, similar in size and weight to a broom handle and told me to hold it directly above my head. I was then to preform a deep squat, keeping my knees in line with my feet. As I lowered my body I could feel tightness in my back and shoulders, and my torso automatically leaned forward. I glanced at Patrick for some sort of feedback, but during each of the tests his expression never changed. He looked as if he were sitting at the final table of the World Series of Poker.

I won’t bore you with the details of the other six tests except to say they included phrases such as “active impingement” and “rotational stability.” Each test is graded on a scale of one to three, one being bad, three being good, with a total perfect score of 21. My total score was ten, which meant my body, once a cooperative employee, had at some point become unionized and now works only through a series of negotiations and accommodations. Keith and Patrick identified my weak points and led me through a series of stretches to perform daily at home to improve my mobility and prevent injury.

I made an appointment for five weeks out to gauge my progress and left with a stack of papers explaining the recommended stretches. Mark promised to help me set up a strength-training routine upon my return, which will fall just shy of my 45th birthday. For a self-described procrastinator, I’m making pretty good time.

Premier Physical Therapy & Personal Training
1310A Garlington Rd, Greenville
(864) 288-2998, premierptupstate.com

Man About TOWN

Back to Good

by Man About TOWN

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Jan
6

The Man About TOWN vows to undo the harm of his indulgences

Upon opening my closet door one recent morning, I experienced an embarrassing hallucination. As I stood there selecting what to wear, I saw my wardrobe come to life. The pants and shirts began to quiver, and the belts coiled up tight in an attempt to conceal themselves. T-shirts and underwear scurried about and a stack of sweaters slowly retreated to the rear of a shelf like a hiker backing away from a slumbering bear. I even noticed one slim-cut Italian dress shirt waving a white flag. I felt their pain.
You see, over the past twelve months, your Man About TOWN has been dutifully being, well, a Man About TOWN. Which, if one is to do properly, requires a significant appetite for food, drink, and charm-filled socializing, which invariably leads to more food and drink. The problem is, all this carousing has increased my waist size from a respectable 32” to a measurement I’m reluctant to commit to print. My clothes have gone from fashionably covering my body to now struggling to keep it cylindrical. In other words, my wardrobe has become a closet full of sausage casings.
For some men, the first line of defense in dealing with a newly acquired spare tire is to adopt what I call the “diagonal waistline.” A physics-defying anomaly where the front of the pants are pushed down and worn several inches lower than the rear. The upside is it saves the wearer from having to purchase bigger pants; the downside is you look like a high school football coach. No, the only true fix for a spare tire is to deflate it.
When a man reaches middle-age, certain things begin to happen to his body that are both confusing and disturbing. Hair goes missing from the scalp then suddenly reappears, seemingly overnight, on the top of the back or peaking out of one’s ears like a follicle version of hide and seek. We begin to make audible sighs of relief when we sit down and groans of stress when we attempt to rise. And the calorie-rich food and drink once burned easily by our youthful metabolism now smolder along our waistlines.
This January, I have finally decided to accept the fact that I am no longer in my twenties, or thirties for that matter, and that my body is now what car enthusiasts refer to as “vintage,” which requires a little more care and upkeep than a newer model. So, for the next several weeks I will eschew the barstools and romantic tables of my favorite haunts and experience the physically active opportunities Greenville has to offer. I will experiment with diets: slow-carb, low-carb, raw, paleo, vegan—and dip my toe in the world of yoga, Crossfit, Zumba, spinning, and martial arts. I will harness my willpower and commit myself to one of the harshest words in the English language: moderation.
I will report my experiences and progress here and let this page serve as a formal record of my commitment to turn back the clock. I can already hear cheers of support coming from my closet.

Man About TOWN

Rules of Engagement

by Man About TOWN

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Dec
11

The Man About TOWN shares holiday advice

If there was ever a tempting time to dip deep into the well of pharmaceuticals, it is surely the holiday season. I’m talking specifically about the 62 days beginning the morning of November 1, when retailers try to convince us Christmas is mere hours away, to the afternoon of January 1, when we awaken red-eyed and groggy, a little heavier, a little older, and full of promises to make better decisions in the coming year. It’s a two-month whirlwind of shopping, cooking, eating, drinking, and maddening attempts to tolerate children and relatives. And though the general sentiment of the season is supposed to be “Good will toward all,” the underlying feeling is more “Where’s the Valium?”
But through years of trial and error, your Man About Town has devised five rules for surviving the holidays. I can’t promise they will alleviate all of the season’s anxieties, but they’ve helped me retain a modest amount of sanity without having to visit my pharmacist.
Rule 1: Moderation. You may think it strange for someone who generally imbibes with the enthusiasm of a sailor on leave to preach moderation, but during the holiday season a level head is crucial. While that fourth bourbon or fifth glass of wine may improve the taste of your sister-in-law’s vegan kale casserole or pull you through yet another secret Santa office party, it is a very slippery slope. And with everyone now carrying a full photo production and distribution facility in their pocket, i.e., a smartphone, being over-served could result in a viral-spreading office-party image of you with a lampshade on your head and Barbara from accounting on your lap. Remember, on Facebook no one can hear you scream.
Rule 2: Simplify Gift Giving. Each year I select one item, perhaps a hand-blown vase or artisanal wooden bowl, and give it to everyone on my gift list. I think of it as the year’s “signature gift.” My holiday shopping takes approximately twenty minutes.
Rule 3: No Room at the Inn. Guest rooms are for out-of-town friends. Hotels are for out-of-town relatives.
Rule 4: It’s the Thought That Counts. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, you will invariably end up with gifts you don’t want. I shamelessly return them and buy what I wanted in the first place, like a new driver or bottle of 25-year-old Scotch. I mean, really, what do you need with a hand-blown vase or artisanal wooden bowl?
Rule 5: A Quiet New Year’s Eve. Despite my affinity for Champagne, tuxedos, and intoxicated merriment, I always stay home on New Year’s Eve. I light a fire, put some Coltrane on the stereo, and toast the beautiful blonde who inexplicably enjoys my company with the most expensive bottle of wine I can find. We rarely make it to midnight—wink, wink, nudge, nudge. That’s how you ring in the New Year!
But however you choose to spend this holiday season, your Man About Town wishes you health, joy, and most of all sanity. And, honestly, isn’t that all we really want for Christmas?

Man About TOWN

Dirty Bird

by Man About TOWN

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Nov
5

A bourbon brine seduces the Man this Thanksgiving

With the yearly feast around the corner, I feel I should make a confession: I hate turkey. Actually, that’s not totally accurate. The truth is I loathe turkey. Turkey breast, turkey sandwiches, turkey burgers, turkey meat loaf, I despise them all. And that’s not even mentioning the possible human rights violation known as turkey tetrazzini. In my opinion, as far as flavor is concerned, turkey falls somewhere between styrofoam and bark.
As a kid, Thanksgiving was my least favorite holiday. Other holidays were fun. Christmas had presents, Fourth of July had fireworks, Memorial Day and Labor Day were all about cookouts, and Halloween was a sugar-fueled, costumed Euphoria. But every Thanksgiving was exactly the same, me at a cramped table stuck between arguing uncles and cheek-pinching aunts, staring blankly at a dry bird stuffed with wet bread. My only condolence was knowing they would all be asleep in an hour. Thank you, L-Tryptophan.
Some may scoff at my disdain for this traditional feast but I feel I’m not alone. In fact, I believe there are legions of secret turkey haters out there who suffer through this dry, tasteless bird only because it is a vehicle for much better fare. Let’s face it, the real stars of Thanksgiving are the fixings—butternut squash, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes crusted with brown sugar. The turkey is the stage, but the fixings are the show.
Even some chef friends of mine have admitted that turkey is on the bottom of their protein list. “I never cook it,” one local chef recently told me. “It’s just dry and tasteless, why bother?” Another said he cooks turkey on Thanksgiving only so he can have a couple of days of turkey sandwiches afterwards. Others said it was all in the preparation and that I should try smoking the turkey to impart more flavor. Some even recommended deep-frying it, which to me seemed liked a bad idea even before I watched a YouTube video titled “Turkey Frying Disaster Compilation.”
But Chef Jason Scholz of Stella’s Southern Bistro in Simpsonville wouldn’t give up on me. He admits turkey is often “dry and flavorless” and probably the reason gravy was invented. But Scholz has a flavoring secret and it involves the only turkey I usually have in my house, the kind that’s wild and 100-proof. Upon the mention of bourbon, Scholz had my attention. The trick, he claims, is to create a brine of bourbon, brown sugar, and spices and allow the bird to soak up these flavors for about 30 hours prior to putting it in the oven. I’m going to try Scholz’s recipe this year as a last-ditch effort to stick with tradition. But I still wish the Pilgrims and Wampanoag had just roasted a pig.

Man About TOWN

Candy Land

by Man About TOWN

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Sep
30

Come Halloween, the Man will exact sweet revenge

As kids growing up in a small, Southern town, my friends and I approached Halloween strictly as a candy-gathering operation. Candy was the main objective and wearing a disguise merely an added bonus. Looking back, it seems odd that children who were constantly told not to take candy from strangers were, on this particular night, actually encouraged to do so. Of course some neighborhood kids would waste the fruitful hours of Halloween night egging houses or threading toilet paper through trees, but we shook our heads at their shortsightedness. Mischief was available any time; free-flowing candy came but once a year.
For several years, the operation remained the same. We would meet at my house to don our costumes and pick at whatever snacks my mother had put out for my friends’ parents, usually Ritz crackers and a brick of cream cheese topped with pepper jelly (the late ’70s were not exactly the golden age of hors d’oeuvres). Then, splitting into groups of two (trial and error had taught us smaller groups equaled more candy per person), we would blanket the neighborhood, buzzing from door to door like bees collecting pollen.
When our bags were overflowing, we would reassemble at my house and spread our bounty on the red shag carpet of my parents’ rumpus room. Here we would separate the wheat from the chaff, organizing our harvest in order of value—high: full-size candy bars and packs of bubblegum; low: pencils, boxes of raisins, and apples. Everything else fell somewhere in between. Then a complex trading ritual would commence. To someone unfamiliar with Halloween this would be a bizarre sight: small cowboys, superheroes, and vampires sitting crossed-legged on the floor, bartering Gobstoppers and Pop Rocks. All this taking place while the grown-ups sat in the “formal” living room, drinking whiskey sours and listening to Percy Faith 8-tracks.
Thirty-five years later, I still get excited about Halloween and choose to celebrate it much the way my parents did, at home with a few good friends waiting for a new generation of trick-or-treaters to ring the doorbell. I always wear a costume, and in past years have answered the door dressed as everything from Britney Spears, à la “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” to a Franciscan friar. This year, thanks to my friend Lydia at the Costume Curio on Laurens Road, I will be entertaining guests as Oscar Wilde in a frock coat, thin-striped black pants, cravat, and ankle boots, plus a glass of absinthe to complete the effect. I can’t wait to see the looks in the children’s eyes when I open the door and reply to their query of “Trick or treat?” with a witty, Wilde quote, a box of raisins, and a pencil. Is it just me, or do kids eat way too much candy these days?