The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Thursday, October 31, 2002
HAPPY HALLOWEEN: In my early twenties, I decided that the best policy toward Halloween was, each year, to try to create a costume more minimal than I wore the October before. So in 1991, my then-girlfriend and I put on some relatively fancy clothes and declared that we were dressed as "Republicans." A year later, I attached a pair of makeshift fake ears (two pieces of cardboard, I think), put on a homemade button that said "Hi, I'm Perot!," and otherwise relied on a vocal impression to impersonate the presidential candidate. By 1994, my costume consisted of a single magic-marker dot at the end of my schnoz. Asked who I was, I replied, "a man with a big black spot on his nose." And with that, I drove the idea into the ground.

Subsequent costumes were mostly unmemorable, except perhaps in 2000. That year, I went to
Eugene Volokh's Halloween party, which had a film theme: you were supposed to come dressed as a movie title. I affixed a halo to a Microsoft baseball cap, and went as Errol Morris' classic documentary, Gates of Heaven.

Most of the guests seemed to think this was pretty good, though several -- far too many -- guessed that I was Angels in the Outfield. Others reversed the title and asked if I was Michael Cimino's western Heaven's Gate (not bad, but the guy's named "Gates"), while a few others guessed Heaven Can Wait. I guess they'd had some bad experiences with tech support.

I'd like to report that I wore the evening's best costume, but there were quite a few people who outdid me:

* A woman adorned with ten peanut-butter logs. She was The Decalogue.

* A heavyset fellow with a tiny doll attached to his shirt. He was Fat Man and Little Boy.

* A guy wearing a copy of the First Amendment. He was Say Anything.

* A woman carrying half a pair of dice and a Viagra pen. She was Die Hard.

* A man wearing a picture of Clinton and a picture of Gore. He was Liar, Liar.

* A man decked in orange with a watch dangling from his pocket. He was A Clockwork Orange.

* A man wearing a calendar page for May 2000 and the cover of a box of Trix. May ... Trix ... yep, he was The Matrix.

* A man with ten sticks of gum and a bag of mints hanging from his neck. He was "ten gum and mints," which, if you squint your ears real hard, sounds like The Ten Commandments.

I figured out some of the tough ones, but stumbled on a couple of costumes that should have been easy. Like the woman dressed in normal street clothes. I made a few guesses: first Ordinary People; then, noting her drink, A Woman Under the Influence. After a few more tries, she took pity on me and mentioned that her mother's name was Rosemary.

"Ah!" I said. "You're Rosemary's Daughter!"

She gave me a look, and I suddenly felt Dumb and Dumber.

posted by Jesse 11:42 AM
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