Trick or…whatever

October 30, 1998

There are fewer and fewer "trick or treaters" every year. Last year it was one kid who didn’t even have a costume and said, "Do you, like, have some candy or what?" Because of this decline, a law that barred adults from buying Halloween candy for their own consumption has been repealed. You may remember that, in the old days, when you came home with Halloween candy, your parents would have to thoroughly inspect it for rusty nails, razor blades, syringes, and would sometimes have to perform complex chemical tests for arsenic and mercuric chloride before you could even touch the candy you’d brought home. It took me several years before I figured out that what my parents were doing when they were "checking" my candy was grabbing some of the good stuff and leaving me with a large percentage of Rubber Gummies, Tasteless Toffees, Bits O’Bland, and those completely inedible lumps in the orange and black wax wrappers that smelled like peanut butter. Some years we even took our candy down to the hospital and got it X-rayed. I suspect this was a chance for doctors and nurses to lift a little extra candy, and stopped the American Medical Association from releasing their special report to children called "What Your Parents Are Really Doing With Your Halloween Candy". Despite the fact that the law has been repealed, I haven’t bought any candy this year, which means, with my luck, that hundreds, perhaps even thousands of trick or treaters will show up on my doorstep. Fortunately I have plenty of rusty nails, razor blades, and even a few syringes to give them. And if any parents complain, I’ll just say, "Like, can’t you get your own, or what?"

Enjoy this week’s horrifying offerings.


Here are some ideas for your epitaph, if you are going to leave one!

On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:

Here lies
Ezekial Aikle
Age 102
The Good
Die Young.

In a London, England cemetery:

Ann Mann
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann.
Dec. 8, 1767

In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:

Anna Wallace
The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.

Playing with names in a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:

Here lies Johnny Yeast
Pardon me
For not rising.

In memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery:

Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.

In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery:

Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.

A widow wrote this epitaph in a Vermont cemetery:

Sacred to the memory of
my husband John Barnes
who died January 3, 1803
His comely young widow, aged 23, has
many qualifications of a good wife, and
yearns to be comforted.

A lawyer’s epitaph in England:

Sir John Strange
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.

Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont:

I was somebody.
Who is no business
Of yours.

Lester Moore was a Wells, Fargo Co. station agent for Naco, Arizona in the cowboy days of the 1880’s. He’s buried in the Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona:

Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No Les No More.

In a Georgia cemetery:

I told you I was sick

John Penny’s epitaph in the Wimborne, England, cemetery:

Reader if cash thou art
In want of any
Dig 4 feet deep
And thou wilt find a Penny.

On Margaret Daniels’ grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia:

She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her.

In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:

On the 22nd of June
Jonathan Fiddle
Went out of tune.

Anna Hopewell’s grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont has an epitaph that sounds like something from a Three Stooges movie:

Here lies the body of our Anna
Done to death by a banana
It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low
But the skin of the thing
That made her go.

More fun with names with Owen Moore in Battersea, London, England:

Gone away
Owin’ more
Than he could pay.

Someone in Winslow, Maine didn’t like Mr. Wood:

In Memory of Beza Wood
Departed this life Nov. 2, 1837
Aged 45 yrs.
Here lies one Wood
Enclosed in wood
One Wood
Within another.
The outer wood
Is very good:
We cannot praise
The other.

On a grave from the 1880’s in Nantucket, Massachusetts:

Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there’s only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.

The grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania is almost a consumer tip:

Who was fatally burned March 21, 1870
by the explosion of a lamp filled with
Danforth’s Non-Explosive Burning Fluid

Oops! Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York:

Born 1903–Died 1942
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the
way down. It was.

In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:

Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And no place to go.


Idiots and security:

I was signing the receipt for my credit card purchase when the clerk noticed that I had never signed my name on the back of the credit card. She informed me that she could not complete the transaction unless the card was signed. When I asked why, she explained that it was necessary to compare the signature on the credit card with the signature I just signed on the receipt. So I signed the credit card in front of her. She carefully compared that signature to the one I signed on the receipt. As luck would have it, they matched!

Helpful Idiots:

At a grocery store in San Jose, they have new credit card/bank card readers at the checkout stands. If you don’t know how to orient your card to swipe it through the reader, the checkout person will say, "Strip down, face toward me." Am I wrong, or is this just asking for trouble?

Idiots and choices:

A customer at a sub shop ordered "a small soda." The owner responded, "I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t have small, just medium and large." (Both cost 99 cents.) The kicker came when the customer, a rather well-dressed business type, disappointedly said, "Okay, I guess I’ll just have to have the medium then."

Idiots and Geography:

After interviewing a particularly short-spoken job candidate, I described the person to my boss as rather monosyllabic. My boss said, "Really? Where is Monosyllabia?" Thinking that he was just kidding, I played along and said that it was just south of Elbonia. He replied, "Oh, you mean over by Croatia?"

Advice for Idiots:

An actual tip from page 16 of the HP "Environmental, Health & Safety Handbook for Employees.": "Blink your eyelids periodically to lubricate your eyes."

Idiots in the Neighborhood:

I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason? Many deer were being hit by cars and he no longer wanted them to cross there.

Idiots and Computers:

My neighbor works in the operations department in the central office of a large bank. Employees in the field call him when theyhave problems with their computers. One night he got a call from a guy in one of the branch banks who had this question: "I’ve got smoke coming from the back of my terminal. Do you guys have a fire downtown?"

Idiots Are Easy To Please:

I was sitting in my science class, when the teacher commented that the next day would be the shortest day of the year. My lab partner became visibly excited, cheering and clapping. I explained to her that the amount of daylight changes, not the actual amount of time. Needless to say, she was very disappointed.

Idiots In Food Services:

My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the individual behind the counter for "minimal lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg.

Idiots Do Math:

A co-worker was telling us about her sister who was coming to visit her for the holidays. Someone asked how old her sister was, at which she paused, thought for a bit, and then answered, "She’s half as old as I am, that’s how I always remember." So someone else (okay, it was me) said, "That’s neat… So every year that you age, she only ages half a year?" My co-worker thought about that, and then said, "Oh, yeah, I guess it only works on even years."

Idiots and Cooking:

On the back of frozen Skyline Chili, the directions read, "Heat 4-5 minutes, turn 180 degrees clockwise." I wonder, if I were to turn it 180 degrees counter-clockwise, would it not cook correctly?

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