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by Oren the Otter
©1999 Oren the Otter -- all rights reserved

Ah, Halloween. That bizarre time of year when deceptions are not only permitted, but expected, when one can hide his or his real self behind a facade and for a little while, become anyone or anything, and go from place to place collecting goodies without ever having to pay a cent... pretty much like the internet.

But it's also a special time for individuals like me, when we get to drop our human guises and be ourselves for a day without fear of ridicule... or is it?

Last year, on Halloween morning, I showed up at the store where I work at 8:00, bright eyed and bushy tailed, literally. I had forgone my normal routine of showing up in human form and simply shown up in the shape of a six-foot otter. Boy, was everyone surprised.

The first to make a comment was Jim, the janitor. He was flatly unimpressed by the way my flippers were tracking rainwater all over his nice, clean floor.

Ron, the group manager, was more amused. He attempted to tie a knot in my tail to see whether I had any feeling there.

But the worst part, the most humiliating thing of all, was the embarrassment I would endure every time someone would come by and smile then turn to their children and say "Look at the big teddy bear!"

Bugs Bunny once commented that animators can't seem to tell the difference between a rabbit and a mole. I wonder if the inability of my customers to tell the difference between an otter and a bear is somehow related.

To add insult to injury, we were later visited by McGruff, the crime dog. All of the cashiers said that we looked alike. The indignity! I'm a riverdog, not a crime dog!

Still, the story has a happy ending. When a little boy came up and gave me a hug and said "I love you, Mister Otter!", it made it all worthwhile.

All right, so the last part never actually happened, but hey, it's my column. I'll tell the story how I want.

Finally, I'd like to end my column by offering a few Halloween safety tips.

Oren the Otter
tlhaQ biQ Ha'DIbaH

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