Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Every Halloween all the ghosts have a fancy dress party. 'What does a ghost dress up as for Halloween?' I hear you ask. I'll tell you; at Halloween ghosts dress up as the living. Eugene (beloved husband and father, 1927 – 1988) is particularly enthusiastic. He gives everyone a good laugh, donning a wig and a suit and clomping around in heavy boots. He puts on a real show, shouting out statements like 'oh boy, I think I'm going to be late for work' and 'I'm really angry at the government'. Eugene's mockery of the piffling concerns of the living is always of great amusement to the other ghosts because the ghosts have passed on to a realm that transcends all trivia. From their vantage point, the whole of human life seems an unimportant charade. The ghosts regard living human concerns in the same way that a living adult might regard a child's concerns. A kid breaks a toy and it is the end of their world, they weep and wail and curse unjust fate, but the adult knows that it doesn't really matter. The adult knows that the kid will grow up and forget all about that toy. Likewise, the paltry triumphs and petty indignities experienced by the living every single day are regarded by ghosts as inconsequential.

The ghosts see us live, suffering or thriving, laughing or weeping, and they know it doesn't matter because they can also see the great astral engine, grinding and shaking and generally being monumental. All dwarfs in comparison to the great astral engine that powers the cosmos and beyond. So, the ghosts guffaw as Eugene mocks, pretending he is in love or at war or going for a haircut of returning a faulty product to the shops. 'I'm going to write to the newspaper about this', says Eugene, feigning outrage in his dopey living human voice and all the ghosts hold their transparent tummies and laugh and laugh and laugh. And then Eugene gets tired and sits down as spectral tears of uncanny mirth are wiped from eerie eyes. The sense of fun abates and a lull descends. 'What'll we do now?' asks Katja (beloved daughter and drug mule, 1969 – 1997). 'We could have a bit of float around the place', suggests Bill (shot for cowardice, 1891 - 1917) but no one likes that idea. They can do that anytime. It's usually around now that the ghosts once again become aware of the astral engine, churning and coughing and keeping them here for ever and ever. They may mock the trivial preoccupations of the living but, deep down in their former hearts, ghosts envy the highs and lows experienced by those still alive, no matter how naive or piddling. The ghosts miss the innocent exuberance and even the incidental despair. Ghosts envy the living in the same way an adult might envy the simplicity of a child. It may be silly but it's life. The ghosts silently reflect on this as they sit in their cloudy prison, hearing the great engine chug and being haunted themselves by the ghost of a laugh.

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