Teenage Punchline, Mischief night, 1970


Being the youngest of five boys I was pretty much predestined to be the practical joker of the family. Sometimes pissing off your big brothers is the only way to get noticed, even if the result is a painful punch in arm. I swear there must have been a target on my upper arm because each one of them wailed on my arm in the exact same spot. But pain aside it was worth the effort to piss them off. Dirty smelly sock in their pillowcases, fake puke on their dressers, fake shit in the bed, fly in the ice cube, dirty soap, stink bombs, I did it all. My cornerstone trick was to place a book atop the lightly opened door so when they came home drunk it would crack them in the head as they walked in That is until the last time I pulled it using my chemistry book my middle brother. He was so pissed when that heavy text book crashed on top of his head he threw it towards my head as I lay in bed giggling odd job style effectively turning the periodic tables on me.

So mischief night was pretty much a challenge to me. TP’ing trees were cool and if trivial history reports can be believed it was when a brown bear first experienced the joy of the softness of Charmin. Shaving cream flowed like silly string and eggs got hurled by the dozens, but everyone did that. Of course a bag of strategically placed dog shit set on fire was popular but using the front stoop was beneath me. It was up to me to raise the mischief stakes.

I choose my victims wisely most of the time. On this particular evening I thought it woul be hilarious to care my steady girlfriend. Her younger brother was enlisted to distract and prepare her with some scary stories. The usual array, maniacs in cemeteries on the loose, strange noises and typical Goosebumps style tales. So my cute little blond high school sweetheart was feeling a bit anxious when I set my plan in motion. I had snuck in her house, into her room and hidden myself in her hamper. I know it seems kinda creepy now but back then I wasn’t a pervert yet. There I waited while her brother warned her about the lunatic seen around the neighborhood the last few nights. Coupled with the twice told tales I was certain she was on edge and when I surprised her she would jump ten feet in the air. It was all I could do to contain my laughter covered in her dirty laundry as I imagined the results.

I heard her enter her room and tried to ascertain exactly where she was so I could get the most benefit. I lifted the top of the hamper up ever so slightly and slowly hoping to get a good view when I noticed her walking directly toward me. As she got into striking distance I jumped up throwing the hamper lid in the air and gave her my best maniacal goblin scream. That night I learned something new I had not even considered. I learned that my cute tiny little blonde bombshell had a right hook that could earn her the golden gloves award.

My head snapped sharply to the right and I could feel my eye socket swelling already. By the time I regained my composure and turned to face her loud scream prepared me for the delivery of the left cross that was to follow. That cute little bundle of fifteen year old sweetness damn near knocked my ass out. I went reeling to the ground and she stood over me like a warrior ninja waiting to finish me off. When she realized it was a lame attempt to scare her and she had just punched the shit out of her boyfriend the mood changed. Huge surprises come in small packages. She hit harder than my brothers.

Now of course there is a silver lining here, my cute little hey babe felt absolutely horrible for having put my lights out and causing my eye and cheek to swell up coaxing her to apply the perfect amount of tender loving care for a sixteen year old impressionable boy. I just never imagined the impression she made would be on my face. After a number of kissing and soothing followed by a hint at possible extreme measures to make me feel better the reality set in. “What the hell were you doing hiding in my laundry trying to scare me?” I rubbed my sore face and decided the prudent thing to do was leave that unchallenged and just apologize. No more mischief for me….PEACE

All Shallows Eve


It comes as a surprise to many that Halloween is my least favorite holiday. The Existential baker is basically a fun loving dude who seldom misses an opportunity to party but like most things these days I feel the celebrations and revelry have spun way out of control. Back in the day we donned wafer thin material over our bodies with a hard plastic mask that fastened with a cheap rubber band across the head. That was the costume du jour. Spiderman,. Superman, Beetle Bailey (What?? It was 1st grade and I was impressionable) , whatever, those hard plastic face masks caused massive facial sweating while the slit for the tongue allowed us to dribble spit inside it as well. Those days were fun. Today however, the average costume costs near $30 with a ridiculously expensive $850 dollar collector edition Halo Master Chief taking the prize for most extravagant. Its become a who can outdo who for the best kid costume sparing no expense. Toddlers and tiara’s for a day. The adult costumes are even worse, many going to crazy lengths to be the talk of the ghostown. There are stores which dedicate their entire showrooms for that one holiday. I guess that’s why the begin advertising in August but at any rate in order to be in the height of Halloween fashion one needs to completely transcend just dressing like a goth or a slut. My Mom’s trick was to fool me into thinking I was a hobo by making me wear my older brothers ripped up clothes carrying a pillowcase as she marked my face with a mascara beard.


Don’t get me wrong I loved trick or treating as a kid and went to great lengths to choose the perfect costume. I enjoy the fun size bar as much as anyone although today my standards of fun span much more than a half inch of chocolate bar. And of course part of my misspent youth involved some pranks and mischief but in my adolescence I found limiting it to just one day was just inviting trouble. I never did the burning paper bag of dog crap prank but I had my moments. But Halloween is overdone and has been taken to the edge. I mean, how are they gonna top it with the next generation?

With so many of us taking immature adulthood to new heights and responsible parenting to far below sub basement levels perhaps it will become a day set aside for today’s “whats in it for me” irresponsible adults so arrange for a babysitter. Start with a ghost haunting in the home because it would be full of boo’s. Or I mean booze. Picture this, at everyone’s door a stash of alcohol or other happy hour helpers at the ready. We dress up as authority figures, like maybe a mall cop, or “event security” and go door to door with our shot glasses and red solo cups. Ring the bell, and when the owner answers we all yell “Buzz or Beatdown” The owner then either pours a glass of beer or wine, fills a shot glass with their favorite liquor, or places a doob ash side in their mouth and proceeds to give a shotgun of silly smoke all around. I would go with the doob cuz there’s less of a chance of a beatdown from someone stoned than there is with alcohol laden drunkards. At worst a stoner will kick your shin. The occasional home of a chemist or pharmacist may have some prescription drugs or tripping product and everyone in the neighborhood will be sure to stop there before heading home. That would be a hellacious way to celebrate but there will be more sick outs the next day than the ay after the super-bowl.

But its not up to me as to how anyone chooses to celebrate their holiday and my job a it were is to come up with an offering of cupcakes that are themed out for October 31st. So here’s what I have coming up with at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes for next week. The “Drunkin’ Punkin,” a pumpkins cupcake filled with bourbon pecan custard, “Apple Stumble“, an apple cupcake filled with rum raisin, and for the kids “The Tricking Treat,” a chocolate cupcake with candy corn custard and candied topping.

Have a safe and fun Halloween, enjoy the crazy holiday responsibly and remember, never underestimate the power of a cupcake….Peace