Everything smells like pumpkins, including this newsletter if you stick your face close enough to your computer screen.  With any luck you’re spending your evenings burning leaves and old tires in backyard firepits, and you’ve probably spent a couple weekends watching your small children pretend to play football while wearing giant, oversized helmets that make them look kind of like Lord Helmet in.  More importantly, Halloween is fast approaching, and I’m sure you’re getting ready to be scared witless by werewolves and vampires and all the attendant ghouls of the season.  In fact, you probably think this newsletter is going to have a Halloween theme.

Not exactly.  You see, Halloween is not nearly as scary as it should be.  Everyone knows that you’re not really going to die when you go your next haunted house/farm/cornmaze/hospital.  And I saw Twilight like a dozen times, and I did not once shriek with fear.  Here we are in the middle of the scariest season of the year, and there’s nothing left to scare us.

At least not when it comes to Halloween costumes.  But I haven’t given up hope that October can once again scare the living crap out of you.  So here are a few things that should terrify you.  Read and learn…if you dare…(cue maniacal laughter).

Making Suggestions to Your Superiors!  It’s possible that you’ve occasionally thought that your boss was the devil.  Well I’m here to tell you, it’s absolutely true.  Like Santa Claus, the devil has surrogates who go around the country and become bosses specifically to increase the amount of torment we have to endure every day.  Usually they try to keep a low profile, but the minute you say, “Hey boss, I have an idea about X,” he or she (or should I say it) will whisk you into the supply closet, burn you with hot pincers, and lash you with its forked tail.  And you don’t even want to know what will happen if you happen to mention that one of your devil-boss’s initiatives could be improved!  But if you’ve ever noticed the lights at work occasionally dimming for a second, then maybe you can figure out what’s happening to those poor souls.

Meeting Your Neighbors!  You probably know two or three of the families who live in your neighborhood, and you probably know a few of the folks who work on the same floor as you.  My guess is that you know fewer than half of the people you could, and that’s exactly how it should be.  Because it turns out that you just so happen to know the only decent, sane, non-terrifying people in your area.  All the rest of them are hiding something – a dungeon in the basement, a severed hand in their desk drawer, or maybe even a different perspective on the way things should be done.  Whatever you do, stay away from strangers!  It’s a miracle you’re still alive.

Public Speaking!  Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be comfortable speaking in public, and perhaps you’d like to know what my secret is since I do it for a living.  Well I’ll tell you.  I have a secret talisman I carry against my skin at all times, and it is the only thing that keeps my rabid, frothing, demonic audiences from devouring me as I speak.  All public speakers have one.  I got mine in Rio in a dark alley from a woman with two heads and only one eye, and I personally know three other professional public speakers who actually sold their firstborn child in other to acquire their particular amulets.  If you don’t have one, do not stand up in front of groups of people and say words out loud.  Twenty seconds into your presentation the audience will rise up and rush the stage, and you will be overrun.  I saw it happen once, and when the crowd was done the only thing left of the speaker was a pair of shoes and a broken lavaliere microphone.  You’ve been warned.

Are you scared now?  You should be.  It’s my job to make sure you never reach your full potential.  So dig a hole, stayed scared, don’t offer your opinion, and enjoy Halloween!

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