Connect

Oh look! Another post not Pup related! lolol

As technology becomes more pervasive, the ever present choice of connecting with my family on social networks keeps coming up. Up until now, it hasn’t really been much of an issue as most of the direct family I do assoicate with is not at all computer friendly. My youngest brother and I are the closest and he is and has been pretty much my only link to the rest of them. He asked me the other day if I was on FB. I guess in speaking with some of the cousins, they expressed an interest in connecting with me. I didn’t reply at the time but I’ve been pondering it ever since.

Growing up the way I did, I’ve been very disconnected from most of my extended family. When I did know them, it was rough and they knew it. They didn’t care a whit enough about me back then to intervene or offer up help so why do I need them now? Nor did they ever make an effort to reach out to me anytime since then. Now that social media has made it basically one-click access to my life, suddenly they’ve found an interest. I am struggling to find any value in that. Of course, my younger brother, being closer to many of them, sort of creates an unavoidable bridge. But is it a bridge I care to connect to?

To be clear, there is nothing in my life to hide. Just the opposite, I live openly and honestly. But at 42 years old I also have zero desire to hear the scandals, stories, and whispers about my life and/or actions. Ultimately, the question is do I feel a stronge enough connection to my extended family to weather said drama?

I don’t have an answer yet as I haven’t made up my mind.

Dad

Continuing in the last vein of thought, I’m looking back over my life with my father. Much of it was harsh but in the end, I felt we made a strong closure.

My dad only passed in the last decade so naturally his memories are stronger in my mind and nothing has blurred. I remember the early days with him when my foster mom was still alive. I remember moving from Louisiana to East TX with an extended layover in Houston.1 I remember how happy my dad was to be in the country.2  I remember how he embraced our new life in the wilderness. He was a man alive and it was obvious he loved his life at that time. I remember him building our house. I remember being curled up in his lap sitting in the giant window overlooking the new wilderness we lived in. I remember him reading to me in that same window. His reading sparked my own love of reading and zest for knowledge. I remember him guiding and counseling me when I was plagued by nightmares and spirits. He didn’t make fun of me or make light of what I was feeling. I remember the pain in his face when my mom started getting really sick. I remember the nights after she died when he would pass out drunk on the floor in misery. I remember not understanding how someone so big and strong in my eyes was capable of tears. I remember the sadness that came after. I remember being left with my older brother while he worked longer and longer hours.

A couple years later, I can remember meeting what would become my new step-mother. I can remember seeing my dad smile again. I remember how that first year with her was warm and good. I can remember the birth of my younger brother and how happy it made him. I can also remember how hard he worked just to keep clothes on our back. I can remember seeing him so tired from manual labor he would sleep for a solid night and day to recover.

Unfortunately, I can remember the growing rift my step-mother forced between us. I can remember the lies she told him to prevent me from telling him what was really going on. I can remember the bouts of anger when he would lash out at me. I can remember the bruises that remained after. I can remember the day I came out to him when he hurt me like he’d never hurt me before. I can remember for the first time in my life being afraid of him. I can remember the anguish knowing he didn’t love me anymore and that in his eyes I no longer existed. I can remember wondering why I couldn’t be like his real sons. I remember the many years never speaking, never knowing if he ever thought of me.

I remember when he got sick, the kind of sick you don’t recover from. I can remember my brothers telling me to hurry back home before it was too late. I can remember seeing the husk of what used to be a strong/vibrant man, now ravaged by cancer. I can remember for only the 2nd or 3rd time in my life seeing my father cry as he told me for the very first time he regretted what he did to me. I remember seeing the relief that flooded his soul upon hearing I had forgiven him years before for all that he had done. I remember him telling me he loved me and that he was proud of the man I had become. I remember him not wanting me to go when I left to return to SF. I remember knowing in my heart that he would be dead soon. I remember the call sitting in my voicemail when arriving in SF that he had passed. I remember the relief I felt for him then and now. I remember being happy I could give him peace before he died.

Dad, I wish our time together had been longer. I wish we hadn’t lost so many years while I was growing up. I miss the bond we had when I was young and you were my shining light in the darkness of a big bad scary world. We weren’t the closest but I still remember the good that you gave me.

  1. What I didn’t know at the time was this was when my foster mom was first diagnosed with cancer. []
  2. Which was even more remote than my home town, if you can believe it. lol []

Mom

*This was supposed to be a post about both my parents but it evolved into a post about my mom.  I’ll do a follow up post regarding my dad.*

 

It’s that time of year when I look back on my life. The anniversary of the deaths of both my adopted mother1 and father are upon me. While decades apart in occurrence, the calendar dates are weeks apart.

It pains me at times that the memories of my mother’s features are becoming less and less distinct in my mind. I can still see her in my mind but the image is a bit blurry now. Ironically, the memory of our time together is still very strong. I can remember spending hours just watching her sew. I can remember her humming while she cooked dinner at night. I can remember her consoling me when I would hurt myself playing. I can remember her feeding the chickens in the yard. I can remember riding in the back seat of the old car. I can remember how I felt when I realized at the ripe age of 5 she was sick, and not the kind of sick you get better from. I can remember begging her to hold on until I turned 7. I can remember her crying because her heart was breaking seeing me so innocent; begging her to stay, knowing she was powerless to do anything. I can remember after she died watching her family go into hysterics at the funeral. I can remember thinking, "if mommy is with god now, why is everyone so hysterical?" I can remember deciding I would never attend another funeral in my life2 I can remember going to her grave site years later begging her to take the gay out of me. (This was when I didn’t understand there was nothing really wrong with me.) I can remember crying on her grave, collapsing in a heap of exhaustion, because I felt guilty for almost taking my own life out of despair when I lost my first love. I can remember the sadness the day I realized I’d lived longer w/o her than I had with her.

Mommy, I still love and miss you. The pain of your loss has ebbed over time but I still remember the love you gave me. I remember when you had no reason at all to take me into your life, you took me with no questions asked and brooked no argument to the contrary from anyone. I’m grateful that before the years of torture and pain from my stepmother that I had a mom I can look back on with love and fond remembrance. And even though I can’t say I think of you as often as I did in those days, I still think of you. I still hold onto the good that you gave me. I hope that where ever you are you know that you made a difference in my young life.

  1. No, NOT my stepmother. I almost never think of her and when I do there is usually a curse word on the tip of my tongue. []
  2. and I haven’t. []

You Gonna Eat That? II

My last post got gobbled up somehow so I’m writing it again.

I had a flashback to my childhood the other day. It was kind of odd because it was a memory from when I was very young. God it seems like a lifetime ago and thinking of it now seems almost surreal. Anyway…

Picture it. It’s the 1970’s. Yours truly is about 3-4 years old. There’s me, my foster mom/dad and my 2nd oldest brother at the time. Mom was sewing and making clothes, my brother was in school, my dad was at work, and I was left to my own devices. We had a yard at the time that covered about an acres of land with a few trees on it. One tree in particular was my favorite. It wasn’t very big but had an odd limb that grew out not too terribly far from the ground. I couldn’t reach it on my own but if I stacked a 5-gallon bucket and a 50-gallon drum next to each other I cold easily climb up on the limb and hang out.

It was one of my favorite little spots to pass the time. If I was outside, I had to avoid the geese because they were mean and would jump on me, knock me down, and beat me with their wings. I was a tiny little fucker at the time so must have seemed like easy prey to them. Anyway, here I am one day chomping on a PB&J sammich and sitting in ‘my’ tree having a good ole time. I’d heard my dad come home but didn’t think much of it. I’d see him in a bit.

Everything was hunky-dory until I heard my dad yelling at me. I was startled so didn’t quite process what he was saying. I look over a bit confused and see him (along with my mom in tow) running over toward me continually yelling. This served to scare me more as my dad never ran. They are both clearly in distress and my dad jumps up on the 5-gallon bucket and yanks me down. Not understanding what is happening, I’m full on bawling at this point. I’m thinking I’ve somehow managed to do something and get in trouble. Meanwhile, I’m still chomping away at my PB&J sammich.1

I guess they realized they were making my hysterical so my mom starts trying to calm me down. It turns out my dad discovered a nest of yellow-jackets had built a nest right in the crook of the limb where it met the tree. He hadn’t a chance to take care of it I guess. Anyway, my dad seeing me up in the tree freaked out, afraid I was gonna stung. Unbeknownst to me the wasps were loving my sammich and flying all about. One had apparently landed right on my delicious sandwich right as I took a bite. Yup, you guessed it, I ate it! lol It never stung me, or if it did, I didn’t feel it.

My dad later sprayed them with WD-40, which promptly killed’em. An hour or two goes by and I’m right back up in my tree. This time minus the sandwich, watching the world go by. hehehe

I’m not sure why I suddenly remember this but I thought it funny enough to share. Aren’t memories funny sometimes? 

  1. Even then I had a love for food! []

4-0

I am approaching my 40th birthday.1  I’m an old man now so forgive me if this post tends to wander or go on and on and on and on…. you get the point.  

Many guys would be disappointed or sad at reaching such a milestone but not me. I’ve survived so much in my short life, its gonna take more than a puny birthday to get me down. To quote Olympia Dukakis, “ when it comes to pain and suffering, I’m right up there with Liz Taylor”. I joke of course but looking back over my life, I am somewhat amazed I made it this far at all.

I’ve only alluded here to some pieces of my life over the years. Other pieces I’ve just plain beat to death. I’ve made mention on several occasions that I was adopted as a child. I was actually born to Wanda Clem and Roy Seymour. My arrival into the world was traumatic and should have been a sign of things to come. You see, my real parents were drug addicts and I was born addicted as well. Two months preemie and weighing not much more than a bread basket, I spent the first 6 months of my life in a hospital. Being born preemie in the early 70’s was a big deal compared to now. Being addicted on top of that, my chances of survival were significantly diminished. But survive I did. In the following 6 months, I was left alone often for hours and possibly days at a time while my parents went out and got high. The fine state of Texas finally intervened and removed me permanently. The day I was removed, the social worker found me in a dresser drawer on the floor with a bottle, a blanket, and a pillow. Apparently, I had diaper rash from neck to toes. As fate would have it, my real mother knew one of my soon-to-be Aunts, and came to her pleading for her to adopt me. Her husband said, ‘Not no, but hell no!2  My soon-to-be Aunt came to her younger brother and his wife on the odd chance they wanted to adopt me. I’m told the wife took one look at me and the matter was decided. No arguing, no decisions, it was just a matter of fact. I’m referring to my foster mom of course. The next 6 years were probably the most care-free and untroubled of my life. I was simply a kid growing up with two loving parents. All the previous stuff was completely unknown to me.

Six months before my 7th birthday, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. She began to decline rapidly. Naturally, I didn’t understand. How does one explain such things to a kid? As my birthday rolled around, I begged my mom to wait until my 8th birthday before she left. I still didn’t get it. All I knew is everyone was telling me mommy was leaving and I wasn’t happy about that. She died 2 months later. I can still remember standing over her grave wondering why they were putting her in the ground. It was my first real experience with death and no one had bothered to explain that that’s where dead people end up when they die. I was confused because I kept hearing about this place called ‘heaven’ and I didn’t realize it was in the ground.3 

As it has a tendency to do, time moved on. My dad did his best but I know it was hard on him. Two years later, he proceeded to marry my step mother, or Satan-in-drag (SID) as I referred to her. She absolutely hated me. After my little brother was born, 3 weeks before my 10th birthday, that hate intensified. I spent years getting the full brunt of her taunts, insults, lies, and beatings. She was the only person on this planet I’ve ever felt true malevolence towards. I hated her as much as she hated me.4  The physical stuff was a pale shadow of the mental abuse she put me thru. How my id survived it is anybody’s guess. Of course, there was a time when I was 12 when I almost poisoned her. My dad worked a lot and always took her side when I complained. After all, I was just a lying kid, what did I know? I ran away from home several times. I always ended up coming back like an idiot.

Eight months after my 14th birthday,5 I came out to my dad. Well I say came out, my dad caught me and my then boyfriend going at it. I’ve never mentioned that here before. I always tell people I just told him but that is a fib. He caught me red-handed, so to speak. My father always had a temper and definitely didn’t believe in ‘sparing the rod’. He beat me within an inch of my life. I came away with a broken jaw, 2 broken ribs, and a body so sore and bruised, I could barely walk for 2 weeks. SID’s taunts and overall nasty behavior increased even more. After what seemed like eternity in hell but was only 6 months, I promptly ran away again. Not before my dad came home early one day unexpected and caught SID breaking my nose. hehehe  Oh how the tables were turned. I relished the weeks of fighting between them. Anyway, I ran way again. I always said it was for good but that’s not exactly true either. I lived with my grandmother for 2 years until she passed away. It was 2 blissful years w/o daily anguish and ‘whoopin’s’ from my SID.

Having no where else to go, I went home. But the rules were different. SID wasn’t allowed to whoop many anymore. I referred to her by her first name on the few occasions we actually spoke. She hated it. lol  Being completely afraid of my dad , we barely spoke. I avoided him like the plague. I think it was then he started to truly realize what he had done to me. That lasted all of 5 months before I finally left home for good. I moved in with my first boyfriend and his dad. I’m skipping past the bf’s death and my resulting suicide attempt. Too many memories too fast and I’m trying to get thru this with my mood in tact. Needless to say, it was the darkest part of my life. I survived again, thankfully. And again, I don’t exactly know how.

Life improved somewhat after that. It was hard but I was free on so many levels. I spent a couple years living out of my vehicle but that pales to what came before so I don’t feel the need to flesh that out. And as fate would have it, my life has continued to improve since then. I’ve grown up, become a contributing member of society, and matured in so many ways over the years I’ve lost count. I could tell you so much more about all the details in between but that’s a nut for another day.

So here we are back to my pending 40th birthday. I’m ecstatic actually. I never thought I’d make it this far. What came before has only made me appreciate what I have now more. If I’m lucky, things will continue to improve and I’ll die a happy man. I’ve never yearned for fame or riches. My only wish has always been to live and die with my friends/loved ones around me.  Only time will tell of course but I am ever the optimist. How can I not be?

  1. In gay years, that makes me ancient but that’s besides the point. lol []
  2. A blessing in my book. As awful as my childhood was, I wouldn’t wish that fate on a dog. []
  3. You can imagine how painful that conversation must have been for my dad. []
  4. I threw a party when she died. Got drunker than Cooter Brown and was calling everyone I knew singing “Ding, dong, the witch is dead!” []
  5. I seem to remember everything related to my birthdays. []

Accept

I got a few very interesting emails from folks who disagreed with my last post. The overall theme was the same as my friend I referred to on FB. I must admit I just don’t understand. When has separate but equal ever worked? How are we ever going to get equal rights under the law when we can’t even demand equality from the ones who claim to love us most? Allowing them to hide behind their ‘religion’ is bullshit just like it was for slavery. And please explain to me how allowing your family to pick an choose the parts of your life they ‘approve’ of is not a form of control. As long as we allow our families to segregate us in their lives, they will continue to think separate but equal under the law is acceptable. I’m not saying you shouldn’t love your family, but you should have enough self-respect and integrity to make sure they treat you as an equal or not at all.

I learned the hard way, separate but equal doesn’t work. And for the record, after everything my father did to me as a kid, I still loved him. I didn’t exclude him, he chose to exclude me because I didn’t fit the norm.1  He made the conscious choice to push me away. And by conscious, I mean being kicked out of the house at the ripe old age of 14 with a broken jaw and 2 broken ribs.

Ten years later, we tried to make amends but he still couldn’t accept me. He made it very clear he didn’t want me “flaunting my lifestyle” in his face. Meanwhile, I had survived being on my own at such an early age, not to mention almost taking my own life and being homeless. Even after all of that, deep down I still wanted his love. But after surviving some of the darkest moments of my life, I couldn’t just go back to his love knowing it was built on the condition I act or behave a certain way. So, I moved on with my life without him. I would call or visit only once or twice a year. And even then it was primarily to see my little brother.  Yeah, it hurt but I was stronger for it. I had finally accepted myself for who and what I was.

Ten more years later, on his deathbed, my father was finally able to admit his regret. I already knew as I had seen the pain in his face over the years. but, it was heartening (and very empowering) to finally hear him admit it out loud. It was also a little bit sad that it had taken him 20 years to finally realize his mistake(s).

So no, I don’t think allowing our families to love us with conditions is acceptable. Granted, my story is a bit extreme. My father never gave me a chance to try and educate him. That said, the point is the same. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We have no reason to bow to irrational demands/restrictions by our families of half-acceptance. Demands born out of fear, ignorance, or lies. And until more of us realize that, I honestly don’t think we’ll have equality under the law.

  1. Granted my step-mother goaded him for almost 2-days before he finally lost it but still []

Take A Moment…

…to do something nice for a complete stranger. There are many this holiday season who don’t have it so well. Many more who are flat out hurting. It doesn’t have to be money or big, just make an effort. You’d be surprised what a little kindness can do for someone.

It isn’t the gifts but the idea that people are often a little bit nicer to each other. Call it mushy, sappy, or whatever but it catches on and spreads from person to person during the holiday season. I haven’t been able to really catch the spirit this season until now. Funny how that works ain’t it? lol

My little brother had me in tears last night. It took him being upset to reminded me of the thing I love about the holidays. He was sad because he still misses our dad and his mom. Even though he has two kids of his own now, he struggles on the holidays. They both passed while he was still living at home and I think he often feels lost and alone. He never developed the independence the rest of us had. 

While we were talking, I broke down and told him something I’d never mentioned before. He never knew as a kid that he was one of the only things that kept me sane. He knows full well there was never any love-loss between myself and his mom. But, I always wanted a little brother growing up. And as much as she hated me and I her, she did give me one. Granted, it had nothing to do with me but it didn’t matter. Having a little brother made me stronger and gave me something to focus on besides my own misery. I honestly don’t think I would have made it thru it w/o him. He was really touched by that and we both ended up bawling like school-girls.

Today I find that I’m all giddy and excited about the holiday again. I guess I finally caught the spirit. After I talk last night and today, I’m feeling it. Of course, apple guy arrives tonight so that might have something to do with it too. LOL  Ok, it has a lot to do with it but whatever.

Happy Hanna-Kwan-a-Xmas guys!

Remembering

I’m not sure why but I had a dream about my father last night. He would have been 73 years old this month were he alive. November was his birth month. Funny, I used to never remember his birthday while he was alive. I’m curious why I remember it now like clockwork. Is it because we were finally able to have some sort of peace together towards the end? I’m not sure to be honest.

The dream itself wasn’t overly significant. It was just odd that my father kept coming into the picture. And to be fair, it was a nice dream. No drama, no bad stuff, no painful memories. That is a good thing because I don’t have many good memories of my father. The few good years have been overshadowed by the painful years after my step-mother came along.

Ironically, I find as the years pass I miss my father more and more. I don’t really understand that either. We were never closer after my teen years, for obvious reasons. I still carry the emotional (and physical) scars of his impact on my life. My younger brother doesn’t understand as he was simply too young, but I know my older brother does. He and I got the full brunt of my father’s wrath on many many MANY occasions.

Anyway, back to the point of my little ramble. As much as I tried to shake the memories, they’ve stuck with me today. Maybe dad was looking in on me and this was his way of letting me know. While never a very religious man, my father did believe in the “here-after”, as he called it. My father also believed in other-worldly things like ghosts. There were several episodes in my early childhood where my father surprised me with his compassion and comfort when I needed it.

One time in particular, I was being haunted1 by an apparition for several months. Looking back on it, I think I was on the verge of losing my sanity. This was not a passing nightmare or dream fantasy. It was as tangible and real as the keyboard I’m typing on now. It plagued me night after night for months. It would wake me from a sound sleep, I’d be freezing, and I would clearly see it watching me. My only rational response at the time was blood-curling screams and hurling my body full-force into bed with my father on a nightly basis.

Of course, never missing an opportunity to ridicule me, my step-mother taunted me with names and verbal abuse. She even had the audacity to suggest it was my dead foster mother come back for revenge. Toward the end though, I think even she relented a little. As hard as she tried, her belligerent threats and bullying weren’t enough to overcome my fear. That and one night she decided to ‘show me’ and slept in my bed. The next morning she was unusually quite and never slept in my bed again. She never did explain to me or dad, what she saw/felt, if anything. But after that, I do remember she was less mean to me. She even did little nice things for me, which was totally out of character for her.

After one dreadfully painful night spent screaming and throwing everything I could get my grubby little hands on, my father sat me down the next day to comfort me. It is one of the few times in my entire childhood I can remember my father holding me. He also gave me some advice on how he would handle it. I was doe-eyed because he didn’t ridicule me, he didn’t talk down to me, he was speaking to me as if we were equals. Even if he didn’t believe me per se, he could see the very real fear in my eyes.2  That and I think he too might have realized my little id was fast reaching a breaking point. And his advice worked! Whether it was my confidence to overcome said entity by denying it the energy it needed or whatever, it worked. It was also the first time in my life I faced something on my own. I think much of self-confidence today stems from that one episode.

Ok, so back on topic. I miss my father. It comforts me to know I am holding onto the good parts of my life with him. And Dad, if you are out there sending me a message. I got it, loud and clear. I haven’t forgotten you.

  1. yes, I said haunted and I truly mean it in the literal sense []
  2. And after 3 months of almost nightly attacks, I think he might have been a little desperate as well. When I didn’t sleep, neither did anyone else! []

Home and Back Again

This trip was interesting to say the least.  It was good to see my little bro.1  We’ve always been the closet but it seems to be getting stronger.  He is learning just being gay hasn’t changed who I am.  We also had a long talk about our siblings.  He then told me some very funny stories about my relatives and their views on me.  One relative even asked him if we still hugged (Yes, he ridiculed them for being so silly).  He also had apparently told everyone to mind their p’s and q’s as he wouldn’t tolerate any disrespectful behavior.  Anyway, I thought I’d share some funny incidents that occurred over the weekend. 

Funny #1
Halloween night we had a big bonfire.  Two of my brothers were there as well as two of my cousins and their families. Of course, my immediately family already knew about me but their spouses and kids only knew from being told.  My older cousin was completely blown away by the fact I made gay jokes and wisecracks.  We were watching something on TV and I said, “I know I’m gay but even I think THAT is so gay“.  You could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet for about 30 seconds before everyone started laughing.  A very tense milestone (for them) had passed.  She later confided she had warned her kids not to use the word gay around me for fear of hurting my feelings or alienating me (Keep in mind, profanity is a given in my family).  I was touched by the thought but I assured her it was ok.2   I did encourage her to think about the underlying implications of allowing her kids to talk that way.  While the intent might not be derogatory, the affects can be. 

Funny #2
The younger cousin had admonished her own family in a similar manner.  Her husband I guess didn’t know what to expect (having never met me) and apparently, there was some animosity about the visit.  After a couple hours, he pulled me aside to tell me I wasn’t what he expected.  I asked if he was expecting the stereotypical limp-wristed fembot.  It took him a second to digest what I was saying but he finally admitted he had indeed.  I assured him these are the stereotypes simply because they are so obvious.  I explained that while I could “nell out” with the best of’em, it isn’t my normal demeanor.  I also told him he probably knew more than he thought because not everyone, especially in a small town, likes it known.  That gave him a moment of pause but he took it well I think. lol   Not knowing it, he gave me a back-handed compliment by telling me had he not already known he would never have guessed. 

It was very heartening to see some of my extended family expanding their horizons.  And while there are some who will never be ok with it, I came away knowing I’ve given them something to think about. 

I share these stories because I’ve always believed it isn’t the TV and media that sways most folks.  I think it is their friends, family, coworkers, etc who decide to come out and live openly and honestly that changes their minds.  There are always some who will see you differently but, wouldn’t you rather be liked (or not) for you really are? 

  1. He is 28 but he’ll always be my “little brother” []
  2. And while it really isn’t ok, small steps people, small steps. []

OY!

I am back home in East Texas visiting my little brother.  He broke his leg last week so I thought I’d surprise him with a visit.  I already had a long weekend scheduled1 so it worked out good.  I had originally planned to fly down to LA for a weekend of debauchery.  Oh well, I can be a dirty slut any time. 

moby bored

The above pic is me looking pretty bored. lol  Let’s face it.  There isn’t much to do out here except hunt, fish, breed, and watch DVD’s.  Too late to hunt/fish and I sure as hell ain’t breedin’ so we sat around watching DVDs. 

Last night, my older brother, two of my cousins and their families came by for a big ole fashioned bonfire (read get drunk and talk shit around a big fire).  I usually don’t drink much but being free and in an environment where my only worry was stumbling up the steps, I figured what the hell.  

I can report malt liquor and fireside smores go well together.  Of course, my head is killing me today.  Homemade booze is good but it also packs a powerful kick.  Oy!

Hung over

You can see how hung (over) I was. hehehe  After a nice greasy breakfast and a serious in-flux of liquids I’m feeling somewhat alive again.

More later…

  1. I hate working Halloween and often do my level best to get it off. []