You will be surprised to hear this, but most mornings I am able to get dressed almost entirely on my own.
Some days, however, I'll hop out of bed, sort through random items of clothing scattered on the floor, try a few on, then go and stand in front of my wife or my daughter.
Then I'll point at one item and ask hard-hitting fashion questions, such as: "Can you see the gravy stain from across the room?" Or: "Is that funky smell coming from my shirt, or the dogs?"
But today I am going to do things differently. Today, I need your help getting dressed.
I need your help because a high-powered team of marketing executives at this newspaper decided that, to push the boundaries of journalism, I should dress up in a dorky Halloween-style costume and go to Boo at the Zoo on Wed. Oct. 26 to promote peace and goodwill by handing out candy and prizes to the public.
Unlike a standard child, however, I am not trusted with the responsibility of deciding what to wear to Boo at the Zoo, which kicks off Thursday and runs until Oct. 30 and features some really spine-tingling rides such as the Creepy Castle Fun House and some swell theme areas such as Fairytale Lane and the Alien Mother Ship, to name a few.
What our marketing geniuses decided is that we should hold a contest in which you, the newspaper reader, vote on which of four dorky costumes I should wear. You will do this in a sincere and humanitarian effort to win one of five nifty prize packages up for grabs (see below box for details).
This is why I visited the Harlequin costume store on Hargrave Street recently to have photographer Aaron Ives shoot me in four outfits that costume expert Jennifer Cooper felt would look flattering on someone the size of a large kitchen appliance, starting with...
1) Zorro -- The truth is, you feel pretty suave when you are wearing black pants, a puffy shirt, a cape, a leather mask, leather gloves and boots, a Zorro hat and, best of all, brandishing an actual imitation pointy sword.
I informed Jennifer, the costume expert, that I was a dead-ringer for Antonio Banderas, but she wasn't so sure.
2) A lion -- You are probably wondering how much a human being sweats inside a furry lion suit. Well, based on my experience, a lot. Being a fan of the B.C. Lions, I was initially excited to try this outfit on. But it turned ugly when I left the changing room.
3) A pirate -- This is not the first time I have dressed up like a pirate. It is difficult, using mere words, to describe how cool you feel wearing a bejewelled vest, sequinned captain's coat with lace sleeves, a tri-corner hat, knee-high boots, a black sash and pointing a flintlock, but I will try: You feel really cool!
4) Elvis -- If you can imagine stuffing 280 pounds of Jell-O into a 50-pound gunnysack, you'll have a clear idea of what happened in the dressing room. As I worked through my Elvis karate moves, I tested the upper limits of this Spandex suit's stretchiness.
Anyway, there are your four choices. Now I want everyone to hit their computers and vote for their favourite costume. And I look forward to seeing all of you at Boo at the Zoo.
But, please, remember this Halloween safety tip: If you see Elvis staggering around, stay at least 50 feet back, because that skintight suit is gonna blow any minute.
Make me a loser, you can be a winner
HERE'S your chance to make me look like a doofus and win a swell prize at the same time. Pick one of these four dorky Halloween costumes for me to wear at Boo at the Zoo.
Email your choice to firstname.lastname@example.org (be sure to include contact information, such as your name and phone number) and you'll have a chance to win.
We'll pick five winners from the folks who voted for the most popular costume and award them prize packages containing a family pass to Boo at the Zoo, a double pass to a Free Press movie premiere, a movie DVD and a signed copy of my book, Bite-Sized Doug.
Don't forget to come see me Oct. 26 at Boo at the Zoo. I'll be handing out candy and random prizes.