Saturday, October 31, 2009

Don't Bother to Wrap It; I'll Eat it Here

A Halloween Gift For You.

There's an often-repeated story about New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams that he would periodically lose his mind and have to be institutionalized. Luckily (according to the story), there was a sign that he was about to go down the rabbit hole: he would draw a cartoon showing a ghoul in a maternity ward talking to the nurse wrapping his new offspring in swaddling clothes. The caption? "Don't bother to wrap it; I'll eat it here."

And whenever Addams would turn in this cartoon, the higher-ups at the New Yorker would phone Bellevue and have him taken away until he was sane enough to continue his regular life.

I love this story. Now there's no evidence that it's true (the cartoon in question doesn't exist, which would be odd if Addams redrew it many times) and Addams himself is just perverse enough to have come up with this story himself (in any event, he delighted when people retold it).

This makes me love the story even more.

And, ultimately isn't that what Halloween is all about? A chance to move between worlds -- shifting phase between fantasy and reality, between earthly and unearthly, between the dead and the undead?

So... as a token of the season, Amy Engelhardt (aka Mrs. Clicks and Pops) has a Halloween gift for you: Head over to her MySpace page for a free download of "Are You Dead or Are You Undead" from her album Not Gonna Be Pretty.


Anonymous said...

Great song! I'm undead. (Wait, I thought this was a poll...)

Bill Madison said...

The Charles Addams story was one of my father's favorites, which leaves me wondering about Dad's attitude (or Cronus complex) in the maternity ward when I was born. But wasn't the ghoul in question supposed to be Gomez?

I could swear I did see the cartoon in a collection somewhere, but that's probably the power of suggestion: I heard so much about it that I came to believe I'd seen it.