Do not underestimate the power of costume

Put on my best Halloween face yesterday for class. Philosophers are always saying philosophy is about learning to die. But dressing up yesterday, and being amongst other festive and funny-scary imposters bearing toxic quantities of sugary syrupy treacly goodies, was nothing but life-giving.

I enjoyed impersonating our common fate, though only briefly: had to come quickly out of the vapor-trapping mask, I don’t know how professional mascots stand it. Especially appreciated the evident time and effort taken by so many of my students to embody the spirit of the day as well. Some of the costumes were elaborate and ingenious. Loved Solara’s Dead Marilyn, to name just one of many.

My familiars reacted in satisfying ways. Older Daughter: “Dad, that’s terrifying!” And then, shown a phone pic of several students: “MTSU is a crazy place.” (Maybe she’ll want to transfer, now.)

And Younger Daughter: “Take it off, I don’t like you with hair!” But it becomes her.

We’ll talk about all this in a few chapters, when Jennifer Hecht considers the happiness angle of “weddings, sports, pop culture, and parades,” and other deliberate self-de-centering festivity.

…no matter how good the movies are, you have a better chance of happiness if you do not let actors do all the dressing up in your life while you do all the watching… Do not underestimate the power of costume.

I don’t, nowt anymore. But my timing could have been better. The year I finally spring for a cheap mask turns out also to be the year our youngest veteran trick-or-treater says she’s outgrown the holiday. I’ll encourage her, with JMH’s support, to re-think that position.

After all, “our adult lives are lived in the costume that biology bloomed out of us, a costuming from within.” It’s good to try other costumes.

via Blogger


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