Bless me Father...

From the desk of Greg Giesen

I went to a Halloween costume party the other night dressed as a priest. Actually, I went to the wrong Halloween costume party the other night dressed as a priest. Turns out there were two houses right next door to each other having parties and I, having never been to my friend’s house before, walked into the wrong one.

And then things got interesting.

Since I was so sure this was my friend’s house, I decided to simply let myself in, bypassing proper protocols like knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell. After all, these were my friends.

Upon entering, I was greeted by a little eight-year-old girl who happily took my coat. That’s odd, I thought to myself, I didn’t know kids were going to be at this party.

I then paused for a second and surveyed the room, searching for a familiar face. There were none. Actually, I thought I recognized Count Dracula and the Cat Woman, but neither seemed to recognize me. There was also a group gathered in the kitchen, but outside of a couple bad imitations of Johnny Depp’s pirate character, I recognized no one.

Usually in these awkward moments, the party host or hostess will surface and formally invite their guest (in this case me) into the party, but no such luck. No one emerged. It also occurred to me that I have never met my friend’s friends before.

I suddenly became a little self-conscious. Here I was dressed in a priest’s outfit, standing aimlessly in the hallway, while starring at a room filled with Goblins, Ghosts, and shady characters. It was like I was an extra in a bad movie, called in to perform some kind of exorcism. Oh yeah, and apparently I’m invisible at the same time.

I need to do something, I reasoned, so I did what anyone would do in this situation…I headed for my safe haven—better know as the bar.

I don’t know if you’ve ever worn a priest outfit to a party before, but it can be an interesting experience to say the least. I’m walking over to the bar area of the (wrong) house and notice that people (who I don’t know) respectively moved out of my way as I passed. You know, kind of like the parting of the Red Sea. What’s more, many nodded and said, “Father” as I went by. And I nodded back, like I was blessing them or something. Weird.

I pour a beer (I know, it should have been wine) and started chatting with the Shakespeare character standing next to me. Within seconds he asks for some advice on a personal situation, like we’ve know each other for years. I gladly gave my two cents, just happy to have someone to talk to.

Moments later another guy in a robe comes in from having had a cigarette on the back porch and says to me, “It was so strange out there. I was hearing voices.”

Are you telling me this because I look like a priest, I thought. I laughed and awkwardly, hoping he’d go away. He did.

Eventually a cave woman found her way to me and introduced herself. “So how do you know Paul?” she asked.

I said, “I know Karen.”

“Who’s Karen?” she replied.

“Karen, the host of the party.”

“This party?” she questioned with a confused look on her face.

“Isn’t this Karen’s house?” I asked, feeling the floor start to give way underneath me.

“No, this is Paul’s house. I think you might be at the wrong party!”

In that moment I could see heads turn towards me as the room became uncomfortably silent.

“This isn’t 3757 Briarwood?” I joked, already knowing the answer.

“No, this is 3755.”

“But we’d love to have you stay Father!” yelled Johnny Depp #2.

“Why not, you’re already here,” added Cat Woman.

If there ever was a time for an exorcist, this was probably it. I smiled as my face turned three shades of red. Even the guy in the devil’s outfit looked pale in comparison.

“I should probably at least make an appearance next door,” I mused, as I backed out of the kitchen. “But I’m sure I’ll be back.”

The walk from the coat room to the front door couldn’t have happened fast enough as I humbly walked out of the house and over to the party next door.

Having just had a surreal experience, I rang the doorbell next door this time and was immediately greeted by Karen, the host of the party.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” she said as she brought me into the house.

“You have no idea,” I said and headed for the bar.