When Ears Inspire

Colorful Costume

Ever since our friends Rowan Derrick and Melissa Jackson invited us to a theme Halloween party, Jim and I mused over what we should do for costumes.  The party’s theme was “post-Apocalypse,” riffing off Rowan’s long-time fondness for the “Fallout” series of computer games, as well as that she had some great decorating ideas.

Now, post-Apocalypse has never been one of my favorite settings.  Who knows?  Maybe I imbibed anxiety about nuclear war with my mother’s milk.  (I was born about a month before the Cuban missile crisis.)  I grew to adulthood under the shadow of the Cold War.  To this day, I remember college discussions in which many of my contemporaries stated that we’d see a nuclear missile attack before we graduated.  Certainly an awareness that for most of my life I lived in a “ground zero” location hasn’t helped.  (Yep.  I still do.)

However, there’s one book set in a post-Apocalyptic setting I really love: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.  It is not hopelessly grim, but lacks Mad Max romanticizing of how much fun it would be to all wear fur and ride motorcycles.  Maybe why this novel resonates with me is that it offers hope for a devastated future seeded by a medium I really understand and believe in: Books.

So, for a while Jim and I thought we might go as “bookleggers,” but a lack of affordable monks’ robes proved a stumbling block.  If we didn’t have robes, then we’d need to keep explaining what we were.  After all, like bootleggers, bookleggers tend to dress much like everyone else, because that’s the best way to avoid detection.

 Eventually, we settled on going as mutants.  In the third section of A Canticle for Leibowitz these “Children of the Fallout” have a very interesting role.

When we went to look for costume items, my creative conception took a swerve when I found myself irresistibly attracted to a set of brightly-colored cheetah ears with matching tail.  While Jim got a set of very nice wolf’s ears and tail, then accessorized so that he was transformed into a very swashbuckling mutant wolf-warrior, I wandered over to the bright side.  If you’ve read A Canticle for Leibowitz this isn’t completely out of line, although I admit, my interpretation was a bit unique…

I wish the photo showed my hair better, since it steaked in five very bright shades!

(In case you wonder, I already had the yukata and obi.)

Writers are always asked: “Where do you get your ideas?”  Well, in the course of this particular creative journey, I found myself musing over an idea for a short story.  If I write it, I guess my answer will need to be “A Canticle for Leibowitz and a set of cheetah ears in all the colors of the rainbow.”

7 Responses to “When Ears Inspire”

  1. Beverly Martin Says:

    Wonderful costume! I am willing to visit your post-Apocalypse future!

  2. the6thjm Says:

    I remember playing the game “what shadow will you leave on the wall when the bomb comes?” (We also lived in a ground zero – an aircraft parts manufacturing city.)

    Your costumes reminded me of a different post-apocalypse tale, the animated movie “Rock & Rule” in which the only survivors of the nuclear war were dogs, cat and rats and they evolved to fill humans’ niche (basically an excuse for the animators to drawn anthropomorphic animal-humans instead of just humans).

    (Let’s see if I can post an image.)

    • janelindskold Says:

      Wow! I completely missed this one. There was a time when I’d watch anything animated, especially if not for kids. I guess my local video story didn’t get it!

      • the6thjm Says:

        It was the least known of the trio of rock music animated movies at the time: Heavy Metal, American Pop, and Rock & Rule. This one had (as noted above) Debbie Harry and Cheap Trick and others doing the songs for it. The other two were anthology movies but this was a single unifying story with lots of fun bits. Unlike the others, this was PG instead of R.

        I first heard about it when they turned a bunch of its songs into music videos using animation from the movie, for a late night TV program I watched one summer. Eventually, I found the movie.

        I think it might be on YouTube now. There was a DVD at one point but it was a really dark transfer that was too hard to see.

  3. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    I also live very near a ground zero city. We have several navy bases and a couple marine corps bases too. I took comfort that it would be over fast back in the 80s. Glad we’re all still here. I love your colorful costume. I just put on my Eeyore onesie pajamas to escort my grandson (Jack Skellington) to beg for candy.

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