Castaway – Spooky Tales From Halloween

castaway wilson volleyball

The following is a formal complaint to Trappers/Palace a seedy set of nightclubs attached to one another in the small town of Guelph, Ontario, at which I spent my Halloween this year.

Dear Trappers and, or Palace,

Last night as you may have come to realize was Halloween; a beloved pastime for kids, parents, and intoxicated University students everywhere. It is a time where we can all come together dressed up, or down in a creative manner that would not be publicly acceptable on any other night of the year. And this year like many of the students in the small town of Guelph, I chose to dress up, and attend your festivities over the beloved tradition.

I was going to dress up as Tom Hanks from the movie Castaway, and it was going to be glorious. I had bought a costume, and a thirty-three dollar Wilson volleyball, which had been hand painted with my very own blood. Okay maybe it was not blood, but needless to say my costume was very realistic, and I spared no expense on my companion, Wilson. Now normally I do not venture inside of you Trappers/Palace, because let us face it you are an unsanitary sweat pool that is over occupied with any drunk person that will pay your set cover cost. And thus coming into the night I assumed that your standard on letting those who dressed up like Tom Hanks, from the movie Castaway into your disgusting night club would be rather lenient. And I had actually begun looking forward to losing my self-respect in the terrible music, lighting, and body odor that would surely surround me as I danced my night away with my compadre, Wilson.

The night started as expected, and my friend Wilson, and I arrived with my real human friends, as we all piled into the line to attend your festivities. Clearly not a lot of intoxicated students in downtown Guelph are well versed in Tom Hanks movies, but those that were showed a full appreciation for my costume. But not only that they shared in a general love for Wilson, my 33 dollar volleyball that was set to replicate the one Tom Hanks befriends in the movie, and which I lied about painting with my own blood.

Trappers/Palace you may, or may not be familiar with Tom Hanks academy award nominated performance in the movie Castaway, so let me fill you in. Tom Hanks, or Chuck Nolan as he is named in the movie, is a Fed-Ex employee who finds himself the lone survivor in a plane crash, which strands him alone on an island in the South Pacific. The story is both heart-wrenching, and harrowing, as we slowly watch his character sight of reality deteriorate. This culminates when Chuck finds a package among the scattered cargo from his plane; a Wilson volleyball, which he had been on route to deliver. But that is not all he finds in the volleyball; for in it that Wilson volleyball Chuck finds a companion, someone with whom he can talk in his isolation, and someone who is brought to life for him by a face he paints on its surface with in his own blood. They live, they laugh, and they love together, while they go through the trials and tribulations of a loving friendship. But in one iconic scene that will forever go down as the saddest on screen moment between man and volleyball, Chuck loses his dear volleyball friend, as it drifts away in the oceans current. Torn by the loss Chuck screams out to his friend several times, crying the name Wilson aloud like an insane man trapped alone on an isolated island, until he finally realizes that his lost companion is merely a volleyball.

It was this man, and this movie which I chose to replicate this year for Halloween, but little did I know Trappers/Palace how closely you would actually bring me to being this castaway. You see, once I got to the front of your line it was expressed to me by your bouncers that I could not bring in a prop, distinctly referring to Wilson. And then just like an oceans current you took my dear Wilson from me, and placed him within a cardboard box, informing me that I would get him back at the end of the night: that was the last time I ever saw my dear Wilson. But you see Trappers/Palace in that moment when you had Wilson taken from my grasp I felt every bit of pain that a lonely, stranded, Tom Hanks felt when he lost his own dear friend. And as I stood there screaming Wilson hysterically at the top of my lungs, in front of the bouncer that ultimately would determine if I would get into you, I found that I truly had become my costume.

Granted my situation was somewhat different, my predicament may seem a bit worse under the consideration that on a student budget I paid 33 dollars for that volleyball, well Tom Hanks just naturally found his just floating around in the ocean. And sure I still had my real friends, but they are not volleyballs, and they never will be. Trappers/Palace you could be nice enough to replace the volleyball you took from me, but Wilson means so much more to me than just the object in a sport for really tall people on the beach, he was my dear friend. He kept me from the isolation that entering your island makes me feel. Together me and Wilson acted like lost misfits, as we claimed the land around us as our own, while doing anything it took together to survive in it. We were Castaways, and you took him from me.

Lastly to Palace, who on earth named you? Have they ever seen a palace? I am quite certain that it looks absolutely nothing like the inside of you. There really is nothing luxurious about a bunch of drunken students grinding on a dance floor to crappy music, as random people shed their self-respect onto the stripper poles laid before a pathetic crowd. It just does not scream royalty.

Also, to the club Taboo, truly you stole my volleyball, but I have taken my frustrations out on Palace/Trappers because writing this much about your piece of crap nightclub would have been demeaning.

–              Chuck Nolan Impersonator, Jacob Balshin


Say Hello To My Little Scarf


Tomorrow is the scariest day of the year- Halloween. Like New years, I think Halloween is a time for us to sit back, reflect, and look forward. On New Year’s we contemplate our year past and set goals for the new one. On Halloween we think of our deepest fears, the old and new ones that will creep up on us between now and a year’s time.

Many people fear death, spiders, clowns- to name a few. I, like everyone, have fears that are akin to the masses. But for the last few weeks I have had a larger, warmer, fashionable fear: scarves.

Scary Scarf

I don’t know if it is the scarf itself, or the idea of becoming a guy that wears a scarf that scares me. Possibly both. But the fear is becoming more prevalent in my mind, and I may be going down a path there is no returning from.

Whether we like it or not, the cold weather is upon us. I know this not because I am a meteorologist, but because I can feel it in my bones. As I walk down the street every morning the coldness seeps into my nipples, tickles my neck, and intrudes my nostrils. An idea has been rolling around in my head for a while. The idea that I could…maybe should…even need to get a scarf.
I’m not speaking one of those flimsy scarves you wear indoors. I can’t cross that line. Although I have begun to embrace some hipster tendencies, I need to stop at a certain point, and I think an indoor scarf is pushing boundaries I am not prepared to go beyond…yet. I am speaking of a purely outdoor, heat inducing scarf.

This seems useful

The issue is scarves are also for style and speak a lot to the wearer. In my eyes it takes confidence to pull off a scarf. Confidence I am afraid I may not possess. Yesterday I went to H&M and attempted to put on some scarves. My scarf shopping companions picked some out for me, even wrapped them around my neck in different shapes and knots. Despite being told it looked good, which I obviously knew it did, it didn’t feel good. So many thoughts entered my head. Besides the style factor, there are many other issues. How many would I need? Do all scarves go with all outfits? What do I do with it once I am inside?

Gosling in a Scarf

As I looked in the mirror I saw a version of myself I was scared to embrace. Scarf Sam. Who is this Scarf Sam? What does he enjoy? What does he stand for? I don’t know. All I knew was that Scarf Sam scared me. I decided to hold off on the purchase of a scarf…for now.

As Halloween dawns on us, I reflect back on my shop scarfing experience. Fear surges down my spine at the thought of my neck wrapped with a fashionable winter accessory. I was told “once scarf is worn, prepare for the scorn.” These words haunt my every thought. The weather grows cold, my neck yearns for warmth. Yet, I am unable to take the leap from regular Sam to scarf Sam. Outdoor scarves are the gateway scarf to indoor scarves. People always say a scarf is not addictive or habit-forming, but that’s what they always say about apparel.

Similar to Al Pacino in the movie SCARFACE I seem to be quickly changing from an everyman to a monster. Guided by my rise to power and fame, my style and character have been quickly changing. I am close to becoming the unimaginable- a man in a scarf. I see my future now. I am in my hipster paradise playing an indie-rock bands Vinyl on my record player as I eat prosciutto and thickly sliced cheese. I sit there in my indoor scarf. Soon I am surrounded by intruders, looking to take me down for my elegant scarf wearing ways. I prepare for the attack. I run to my scarf closet and once my enemies enter the small metro area apartment I yell “say hello to my little scarf!” As SCARFFACE I shower them with scarves of all sizes and colours, strangling them until their necks are warm with silk, wool, and cotton.

Once you wear a scarf, you always wear a scarf, even when you’re not wearing a scarf.


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