October 29th, 2001
I don't like Halloween.
I don't like it for a couple reasons. One I had this awesome Great Pumpkin costume in 1st Grade and I followed that up with a fantastic Headless Horseman costume in 2nd grade and everything since has been a let down. The second reason I don't like Halloween is that I am an actor. I take dressing up like a fool very seriously. I do it professionally…or at least I have on occasion. And it kind of bothers me to see every tom dick and harry doing it. Halloween is amateur night.
But honestly the real reason I don't like Halloween is that I don't like being scared. There are basically three kinds of costumes you see around Halloween. 1 is lame. Basically what I've been doing since 2nd grade. If I make any effort at all I pin a sign on my back that sez "Regular Guy" or something like that.
The second kind of costume is cute and funny which is fine until you're at a party and you have to talk to someone dressed as a bunny or a box of cookies or whatever and you just feel embarrassed. For them, for yourself, for the person walking by dressed as bug. It's degrading.
The third kind of costume is the scary kind. And in Los Angeles that can be seriously scary. You know how you're walking along and suddenly this guy with an Oscar winning head wound shambles in with a photo realistic pole stuck through his chest. Or somebody goes to town on their demon costume and they've got blood red cat's eye contacts and latex skin and fangs and they get all into the role so you're not real sure if maybe Satan has crashed the party for real and we're all going to hell tonight. It seems awfully unlikely but a lot of unlikely, awful things have been really happening so it kind of gives you pause.
But since it is nearly Halloween I wanted to share with you something really scary. The scariest thing I have ever seen. Something that gives me night sweats and goosebumps and whole nine yards.
About a month ago I was walking along near the Fox Plaza building in Century City. You know the Die Hard building? Its got this wall and then about 50 feet down from this wall is Olympic. Now this wall is about 4 feet wide and it almost goes up to Avenue of the Stars, which I was walking on, but there is this gap about 6 feet wide between the end of this wall and the Avenue of the Stars railing.
So I'm walking along Avenue of the stars and I see these 2 fourteen year olds on skateboards get up on this wall and then skate up to this gap and jump the gap, over the railing and onto oncoming traffic on Avenue of the Stars.
Now why did they do this? Because they are 14 year old male humans and that what teenage boys do. They risk their lives.
Now they made the jump and when they landed on Avenue of the Stars and fell on their asses in traffic. Cars slowed down and stopped for them so they didn't get killed. These kids high-fived each other and went on their way.
Why is that so scary? You have to know that I am a new father of a baby boy. My son Yogi is 2 months old now and healthy and happy…well healthy and hungry would be more accurate. But someday he's gonna be 14 and he's going to think he's invulnerable just like those kids and he's gonna do questionable things like jump 6 feet over certain death into oncoming traffic. I was that age once. That's what young men do. They put it all on the line and they live like there is no tomorrow with passion and arrogance and madness and joy. And that's why we worship them and write poems about them and invent BMX and skateboards and wish we could be like them and send them to war. It's a beautiful and terrible time.
But it still doesn't sound scary does it.
So here's the scary part. When my son Yogi was born I was there in the hospital room. It was a cesarean birth and it was five weeks early and Shelley and I were completely shocked that this was happening so I didn't know what to expect.
So the doctors dug around inside and pulled out our new baby and handed him to this guy named Brad who was manning the warming station. I gave Shelley a kiss and then I realized I could/slash/should go look at my new son over on the other side of the room.
When I got there Yogi wasn't breathing and he wasn't moving and he was skinny and wrinkled and blue. Brad was sucking mucous out of his mouth and nose and kind of nudging Yogi on the shoulder. But there was no response.
There was no response. No movement no nothing. This went on for what seemed like an unreasonably long time. Like 25 minutes. Long enough for me to start to hop back and forth on my feet and moan a little under my breath. Long enough for me to grab my head and look around the room in a wild eyed panic. Long enough for my heart to stop and my throat to close up. Long enough for me to start wondering if this was about to become the very, very worst day of my entire life. Long enough for me to wonder how I was going to get through this. Long enough to wonder how I was going to get Shelley through this….Long enough.
See that's what is scary. Death. Death is scary Death is SCARY DEATH is Scary Death….is….Fucking….Scary.
Teenage old boys are maybe the only people in the world who are not afraid of death. And THAT is scary.
But then Yogi started breathing and crying and he has been ever since. See all newborn babies are blue and it wasn't 25 minutes it was more like 15 seconds. And being a new father is wonderful and fantastic. And I love everything about him and I love him more and more each and every day.
But the thing is. The scary thing is. The stronger he gets and the bigger he gets and the more of a person he becomes, the longer that time in the hospital gets in my mind. When I think of what I almost lost and what I could lose I could really start screaming. And then I think of those 14 year old boys jumping off that wall….