'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
MIDDLE-AGED VAMPIRE HIDES FROM THE SUN
At a neighborhood barbeque recently, a young girl asked me, “Hey mister, are you a vampire?”
“Huh?” I replied. “Why in the world do you ask?”
“You’re all pale,” she said, “and when the sun came out from behind the clouds a little while ago, you ran into the house.”
“Oh,” I said with a smile. “No, I’m not a vampire. I’m just Irish. You see, I don’t tan at all. I get sunburned really easy.”
Then I told her the little fable I tell my golf buddies when they see me using a paint roller to slather on a few quarts of SPF-50 sun block before we play. “Well, it turns out my ancestors hail from a region of Ireland where the fog hasn’t lifted in over 5,000 years. Every molecule of melanin has been weeded out of the gene pool. They call this magical place County Eclipse.”
The young girl’s face brightened. “Eclipse?!” she shouted. “I knew it. You ARE a vampire! But you’re an old vampire, aren’t you?”
“Huh?” I replied once again.
The girl’s mother, who overheard our conversation, stepped forward to enlighten me. “Eclipse is the name of this summer’s blockbuster movie. It’s about vampires.”
Oh, right. I had forgotten vampires are all the rage these days in the world of book publishing, TV, and movies. Vampires are hot. Vampires sell. Everything has a vampire angle nowadays. I hear they might do a remake of “Gone With the Wind,” featuring Rhett Biter and Scarlett O-Positive. A new Mel Gibson movie about a Scottish warrior vampire will be called “Stake-heart.” One studio is considering a cartoon series called, “Sponge Bob Square Fangs.” (Insert rim shots and groans here.)
Personally, I don’t quite understand this new fascination with vampires. In my mind, if a vampire movie doesn’t star Bela Lugosi, then why bother? This opinion proves I am, if not an old vampire, then just plain old.
If I had to be in a vampire movie, there was a fairly terrible flick released in 1995 about a vampire who is awakened after 25 years of slumber by an errant golf ball that crashes thru a window and hits him. (Sounds like one of my tee shots.) This vampire then goes to an all-night coffee shop and falls in love with the waitress. The movie is titled “Blood and Donuts.” Perfect for me.
I tried to explain to the girl that I just have fair skin, and too much sun is bad for me. (I am using, of course, the definition of “too much” that means: anything more than 30 seconds.) It’s not my fault my skin turns pink if I walk past a 100 watt light bulb. It’s not my fault people routinely inquire as to why I’m wearing mime face paint, and I have to explain what they see is simply my natural pasty self.
“Trust me, kid,” I said. “I’m really not a vampire.”
“All right,” she said with a bit of disappointment in her voice. Then she asked, “Are you going to come outside and play horseshoes?”
I peeked out the window and said, “Hmm, it’s still kind of bright out there. Maybe I’ll play a little later, when it’s twilight.”
“Twilight?!” she yelled excitedly. “See? I knew it! You ARE a vampire!”
“OK, fine,” I said, rolling my eyes. “You’re on to me, kid.” Then in the most dramatic, Bela Lugosi voice I could muster, I proclaimed, “I vant to drink your blood! And then I vant a glazed cruller!”
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