One specific Halloween party I remember from my youth was when we were at church with all the young’uns gathered round. I’m sure I was looking forward to having a good time, hanging with my friends, and pounding as much sugar down my gullet as humanly possible. There were probably the normal games of beanbag toss, cakewalk, doughnut eating, etc. The only game I actually recall was “bobbing for apples.”
How exciting I thought. What fun this would be! Not everyone was able to get an apple, and they only had two or three tries to get one. Imagine the bragging rights a youngster would have amongst his peers as he was one of the proud few to actually plunge his face into the cold water, rooting around, and coming up with the big red delicious apple.
Many had gone, and many had failed, while a few had large smiles on their wet faces, and a tasty treat in hand…
Then came the moment. It was my turn, and there was no way I was going to lose. Victory would surely be mine, and I would eat the apple with a triumphant grin, wet hair, face, and all!
It was my turn next! Sweaty palmed and adrenaline flowing, I knew I would be victorious. I bobbed around a bit, rooting around, trying to get my teeth into one of those slippery suckers. Then I came up out of the water…
Sadly, I can’t really remember if I got an apple.
I do remember at least one person, and probably many people looking at my wet face and hair, and being grossed out. I actually don’t remember much of the real story until after I had done said bobbing.
Let me back the story up and introduce a fellow friend and neighbor, Pat. Pat was a likable guy, usually happy and smiling, and an overall cool dude. The problem was that he had what my brothers and I like to call a “perma-booger” which was always lodged in one of his two cavernous nostrils. This booger was always there, and if removed, another would just grow right back in its place. It was one of those weird biological mysteries the greatest minds in science have never been able to figure out. So, while you spoke to him face to face, you always had to avert your gaze, or only occasionally glance at it because it was so difficult to avoid.
Pat happened to step up to the apple-bobbing-plate just prior to my turn. Unfortunately, I’d plumb forgotten about the perma-booger, caught up in the excitement, what with my elevated sugar and adrenaline levels and all. I didn’t think to inspect the water before I dove straight in, face first.
The perma-booger must’ve dislodged during Pat’s turn at the apples.
I think I dry heaved a few times after getting into the bathroom to see what everyone had ogled at. In my luscious red hair was none other than Pat’s little friendly aberration. It seemed as if the perma-booger was several feet long. I’m not sure how, unless the thing was wrapped around his brain stem or something.
It took a bit for me to get all cleaned up, and I’m not sure what happened after that. I’ve never been bobbing again since then, and the trauma I endured will ensure I never bob again.
The moral that has now stuck with me for decades after this unfortunate incident is: Don’t bob for apples unless you’re first in line.