costumes and customs

Years ago (in our world before digital cameras, hence no photos) we were asked by a friend to make a costume for his son for the school carnival celebration. I don’t really know why he thought we would be good people to ask, but clearly as bar owners he and his wife had little free time for handicrafts.

He gave us a cardboard box and told us what the costume should be, but the details were up to us. Several rolls of aluminium foil later, and with the addition of such details as stick-on dollar signs, a coin slot and tray, and a dangling electric plug, we had created a rather wonderful one-armed bandit that won the prize for best costume.

It’s always bothered me, though, that it was thought acceptable to dress an eight-year-old up as a fruit machine. Yes, it was modelled on the one that stood in the corner of the bar where the lad spent his afternoons getting occasional help with his homework from the inveterate drinkers who hung out there. But it didn’t seem quite the right image to encourage.

kids dressed as glasses of beer for carnival
This is Spain, of course, and no-one thinks twice about these things.

Which is presumably why there were little children blacked up and wearing grass skirts, waving shields and spears as they dragged a big cooking pot through the village in this year’s carnival parade. Not to mention the poor blighters in the picture.

I was confused to see the woman who was leading this particular group walking backwards indoctrinating them: “Los niños no pueden beber alcohol. El alcohol no es para los niños. Los niños no deben…”

If alcohol is so bad, perhaps kids shouldn’t be dressed up as overflowing glasses of lager.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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