Perceptions can Trick or Treat You

When I was a kid, there lived a scary old woman on my block. The kids would get together and tell stories of why we thought she was so scary. Maybe it was because she was a secret witch, or maybe it was because she secretly captured children and ate them. Although we could never come to a consensus on why she was evil, we all unanimously agreed that she was evil.

All it took was a brief second of eye contact with her peeking out behind her living room curtains and we would have nightmares and create a million more reasons to be afraid of her.

One Halloween, one of the kids was chosen, on dare, to go and knock on her door. She always kept her house completely pitch black on Halloween night, and as far as anybody could tell, nobody had ever had the courage to do that before.

He went up to her door and timidly knocked. I think he was afraid to ring her doorbell for fear of electrocution or something. He knocked, waited, knocked again, and then ran. It took a while before we could pass by the house again, at least by ourselves. We were sure she was plotting some kind of evil and painful revenge on whatever kids had disturbed whatever she did in their in the dark on Halloween.

One of the cool things about Halloween is all the candy that we got. Most of it was normal, everyday candy you would see at the store, but there would always be one really cool neighbor that would get some kind candy that we’d never seen before. Candy that was made specifically for Halloween. Edible ears, fingers, spiders made out of chocolate. Stuff you’d expect to see in a Harry Potter movie.

One year there was this neighbor that gave out full sized candy bars. Not the small miniature sized ones, but full size snickers, and mars, and three musketeers bars. He must have spent a fortune on candy. It didn’t last long, though, as soon as the kids found out, he quickly ran out.

I was riding the train into town the other day, and this guy sitting next to me started talking about his business. I’m not sure how we got onto that subject, or what his business even was. The conversation just kind of ended up on this. So he was explaining that he had this old roommate, and his roommate was involved in a similar business, which somehow had something to do with his. And he said that he was helpful in the beginning, but then he moved on to bigger and better things, which left him all alone to figure these things out. One of the things that he said was to be sure to always pay attention to opportunities that are around you. And the trick to always finding new opportunities is to see them where others do not. Which means you need to always be able to look at things from a different perspective, and different angles. That way you’ll see this differently than others do, and be able to really get a lot of benefit from this.

My favorite candy of all time was those yellow, waxy candy corns. I never really saw them except during around Halloween. Even though waxy candy corn really doesn’t have anything to do with Halloween. I guess it’s just one of those things. Something that you know you really like and you can really look forward to enjoying this when you get the opportunity.

And one summer, something really interesting happened. The old woman had this cat. And apparently, she had never gotten around to getting it neutered, or spayed, or whatever they do to cats. And this cat had a bunch of kittens. This of course, was very interesting to all the kids, and when we saw this old woman outside taking care of the kittens, she suddenly stopped being a scary witch. She was really a nice old lady that was just scared of going outside. When the kittens came, she was forced to go outside and help take care of them, and the kids noticed them, and it became like a neighborhood project. A few of the kids even took some of the kittens home. She seemed to be a friendly grandmother type after that. She even invited some of the kids inside and let us see her old record player and records from the great depression era. It turned out to be a pretty cool experience.