Mamere, the Friendly Ghost (In Which I Don’t Mind Being Haunted)

With Halloween being tomorrow and all, there has been a lot of discussion and cable-TV programming about the paranormal.  Apparitions.  Visits from the other side of the mortal coil.  Some people find this topic “scary.” I quite frankly welcome the presence of ghosts – even mean-spirited (no pun intended) ones – because to me that means there is … an afterworld. And as Prince once said, that is “something else” (and things are much harder in this life).

So I have one and only one ghost story of my own that I thought I’d share at this opportune moment.  I’ve talked about my maternal grandmother in this venue before. Famously strong personality, fiercely independent, frugal to a fault (my Dad, her son-in-law, had to make a calligraphed sign for her refrigerator that read, “When in doubt, throw it out!” for fear that she would eat spoiled food long before she would deign to toss it).

As previously mentioned, she was ‘green’ before that phrase was coined.  She washed and re-used aluminum foil and Ziploc bags. Took junk mail and used the back (blank) side for lists and letters. Waste was her least favorite thing in the world (after ‘Midwestern’ accents).

Back to the ghost story. Mamere passed in the summer of 2000 after a long life spanning almost 93 years and begetting three children, 10 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren (since her passing, that third generation has expanded to 11).  Even in her final months, she continued to educate those around her, editing the newsletter at her retirement home and reading to the visually impaired. So while it was sad to bid her farewell, it was a celebration of a unique life well-lived until the very end.

Shortly after returning home to my Cincinnati apartment after the New Orleans (non-jazz) funeral, I was using my windowless bathroom. The door was shut.  For whatever reason (laziness), I ignored the one-third-of-a-roll’s worth of toilet paper directly across from my sitting place and grabbed a new roll from the back of the commode .  Instantly, the proper roll, the roll that was already attached to the holder, began rapidly unspooling.  And unspooling.  Until all of the toilet paper was gathered on the floor,  comme ça:

I just had to laugh.  I was convinced this was my ecological grandmother reprimanding me for grabbing a new roll before it was high time to do so.  Now …. in doing so, of course, she essentially wasted a roll to prove her point, but what’s she going to do.  She was incorporeal.

I told this story tonight to my friend Bridget, who asked why I didn’t flip out or get scared (side note, this was after watching The Sixth Sense, the twisted-ending of which Bridget had no knowledge?? How???).

But why didn’t I get scared?  I don’t know.  I expect because I knew it was just my grandmother, and she meant me no harm.  Just wanted to gently remind me that she was still watching, and still hoping I made good decisions around the house.  And in life.

Happy Halloween, everyone. Remember that candy corn is a fat-free food.


Friday Lyric Quiz, 440 (In Which Y’all’s Neighborhood is Terrorized)

Lo! The lyric quiz returns, with a tribute to songs – some terrible, some decent – referencing creepy-crawly monsters that go bump in the night.  Halloween rolls around Monday, and while to many it now means seeing shivering 20- (and, gulp, 30-) somethings dressed as “sexy” Finding Nemos and Freddy Kruegers, back in the day it meant a rising of the undead.  (Today’s landscape is slightly more terrifying).

Stay safe, keep warm, enjoy those party-size Snickers, and share a killer, diller, chiller, thriller here tonight.  (Whoops – spoiler alert).  And if you want a completely random laugh, check out this one-minute long, safe-for-work, utterly hillarious prank call to a tele-psychic, courtesy of Howard Stern staffer Richard Christy.

Answers to Friday Lyric Quiz #440

1.  “The world is a vampire, sent to drain. Secret destroyers” (mid-90s)

2.  “You say Lord, I say Christ. I don’t believe in Peter Pan, Frankenstein or Superman” (late 70s)

3.  “And like a little girl cries in the face of a monster that lives in her dreams” (early 2000s)

4. “You stumble out of a hole in the ground. A vampire or a victim it depends on who’s around” (early 90s)

5. “They’re out to get you, there’s demons closing in on every side” (mid-80s)

6. “And yes I call the shots I am the umpire I sprinkle holy water upon a vampire, vampire” (early 2010s)

7. “A disease of the mind it can control you, I feel like a monster” (late 2000s)

8. “And the violence caused such silence, who are we mistaken” (mid-90s)

9. “I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vics” (late 70s)

10. “The zombies were having fun, the party had just begun” (early 60s)

Answers to Friday Lyric Quiz #439

(Nirvana is the artist for all songs)

1. “Cut myself angel’s hair and baby’s breath” (early 90s)
Heart-Shaped Box 

2. “With eyes so dilated, I’ve become your pupil” (early 90s)
Drain You

3. “After dinner, I had ice cream, I fell asleep, and watched TV” (early 90s)

4. “Spring is here again, reproductive glands” (early 90s)
In Bloom

5. “I will move away from here, tou won’t be afraid of fear” (early 2000s)
You Know You’re Right

6. “Our little group has always been and always will until the end” (early 90s)
Smells Like Teen Spirit

7. “I do pick a number too, I do keep a date with you” (mid-90s)
About a Girl

8. “She caught me off my guard, it amazes me, the will of instinct” (early 90s)

9. “Find my nest of salt, everything is my fault” (early 90s)
All Apologies

10. “Sunday morning is every day for all I care” (early 90s)