It has taken me a long while -- I was slow -- but I guess now I sort of get why some people think the "Ebola House" is funny. Sort of. Still working on it.
Decorated for Halloween as an Ebola disaster area and located in a rich part of Dallas called "The Park Cities," the Ebola House strikes some people as funny because Ebola is such an exotic, distant, far-fetched phenomenon.
It's OK to make fun of Ebola in the Park Cities area of Dallas because something about Ebola itself is funny -- the faraway places it comes from, perhaps, or the kind of people who get it. Something. Still trying to put my finger on the real joke.
And by the way, for a really good look at those places and those people, see "Ebola Outbreak," a Frontline special on PBS. But right now Halloween is upon us, and if the Park Cites area is famous for one thing it's parties. I want to try to keep things in that light-hearted Park Cities party mood.
See also: "Ebola House Update"
I do understand one reason Ebola House is funny is because bad taste is funny. And in keeping with the funny Park Cities party spirit, I just want to make sure my taste is as bad as the next guy's. The one nice thing about truly bad taste: it's all fair game, right? No fair jumping on me for it if the Ebola House guy gets a pass.
I am trying to think about other Halloween house and party themes that might work in the Park Cities, other ways people could trick out their houses and yards to get a laugh. My only concern is about missing the mark on funny. Some of my ideas simply may not work. One reason for running them by you, in fact, is my hope that you will warn me if some of them are not as funny as Ebola House. This way we all learn together and just have a darned good time in the meantime.
So let's do this thing! I was thinking maybe one of the houses neighboring the Ebola House could turn itself into Breast Cancer House. They could have all kinds of scary zombie-looking female figures hanging from the trees and lying under bushes dressed in bloody hospital smocks. Seems like there ought to be a raucous Halloweeny mammogram joke in there somewhere.
Well, not to leave the guys out, what about Prostate Cancer House? You know, do some scarecrow-looking manikins holding their groins like they just took a line drive where the sun don't shine. That could be hilarious, right? Groin holding is always good for a laugh.
I wish there were a way to bring it closer to home for the Park Cities people, but it's hard to do, because they are such a healthy good-looking lot. Maybe that's part of the issue here. Maybe they're so healthy and happy that the whole idea of human suffering just seems like a giggle to them.
Hmm, let's think. Park Cities. Giggles. Is there anything about Park Cities people that makes us giggle? Oh, wait! I got it! Bad Plastic Surgery House! Talk about a rich white people's theme.
The possibilities are almost endless. In fact, if somebody did a Bad Plastic Surgery House for Halloween in the Park Cities, I don't think they'd need manikins. Just invite the neighbors!
You know how old people can make themselves look really scary at night just by shining a flashlight right up under their own chins? You could have a whole bunch of old rich white Park Cities people staggering around the yard in fancy clothes with flashlights up under their chins, sneaking up behind the kids and saying, "Faaabulous" in a low growly voice.
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The staggering would be easy, too, if you did it after 10 p.m. Oh, man, in fact now that's got the wheels turning in another direction. Alcoholism House! Think what you could do with that one in the Park Cities. You could dress up somebody's SUV like a nuthouse van and have two guys in white suits come take the dad away while the children all stand on the lawn and sob. I can't stop laughing just thinking about it!
I bet some really creative person who's even funnier than I am could find a way to put all of those themes together kind of like a Halloween Park Cities theme park: Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Bad Plastic Surgery, Alcoholism House. Otherwise known as, "Hi, Mom, we're home!"
Well, you know, it's always the wannabe like me, the johnny-come-lately to the party who overdoes it and never gets the real joke, so let me know how I did here, and don't pull any punches. As I say, I'm still trying to figure it out. If it's funny for entire villages in Africa to die of a ravaging disease, I just want in on everything else that's funny, too.
Still thinking. Still thinking. Liberal House? Oh, man, that could be the best one!