October 30 is a day that’s pretty famous in sports and entertainment. In 1945, Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers that effectively broke the color line in professional baseball. And boxing fans remember October 30 as the day The Rumble in the Jungle was held in Kinshasa back in 1974. That’s the greatest boxing match in modern history, where Muhammad Ali used the rope-a-dope to get the better of George Foreman (yes the man who has an electric grill named after him is actually a very famous boxer). I’m not a fan of the sweet science, but that really was an epic event.
Of course what really scared the bejeezus out of people was Orson Welles doing his immortal radio broadcast of H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds on CBS Radio way back in 1938.
Sure, we all believe you when you say that no one connected with the broadcast thought it would panic anyone. You keep sticking with that story.
October 30 is a little less storied and a whole lot more infamous in the chez nous, as today’s iteration of the date happens to the twentieth anniversary of the 1995 Québec Referendum. I won’t go into the details of it, because one’s opinion of the event depends on what side on happened to be on, or whether one actually cared. That would be “no, not really” for most of the world, and surprisingly enough, the generation that was born in the decades since that event (thank you, iPhone for helping espouse a world view).
Most people can’t (or won’t) remember, but the Referendum of October 30, 1995 happens to be why Halloween 1995 was essentially the worst local Halloween on record. Ever.
Following the vote most people on the Big Croissant irrespective of which side they supported didn’t let their children out, because the collective fear was that we weren’t really quite certain what supporters of the other side might do. Fear of verbal and physical harassment and abuse against the kids, fears of kidnapping of the kids, fear of candy poisoning, fear of finding needles/razor blades in apples, etc etc ad nauseum. It was such a terrible way to destroy what little kids were really looking forward to that autumn, but I can’t blame the parents back then because the fear was palpable, the lack of trust in one’s neighbor lingered for a significant period (I’m not saying it was years, but it was) and minorities are still feeling the after-effects of the concession speech. No wonder the pumpkin upchucked its cookies.
The anniversary is being talked up today by media pundits and old political warriors remembering the good old days, though chances are good to excellent that the event will probably only be brought up by media moguls for the next little while, while most of the rest of us grab some Maalox™ and leave the past to rest.
For my October 30, I personally am going to go get something made from potato and then sit back and look forward to tomorrow – Halloween 2015 – to be the 24 hours worth of this as it should be:
I might even attempt to dress up as Jupiter (the planet), because I’m possibly too fat.