How the Other Half ‘Lives,’ by Ryan Patricks

Adjusting to ghost life isn’t easy.

The first couple of weeks of being dead are definitely the hardest. Being a ghost is something you have to ease into, like a cold pool, or anal, or anal in a cold pool.

Warning: That last one is super difficult. Do not try at home.

At first, you usually take your cue from the movies you saw when you were alive. You might speak in a spooky vibrato voice or hang out in a pottery class. It’s all a bit overdramatic and a big clue that you are a newbie to the specter world. My buddy, Barry, calls these “dead giveaways.”

Isn’t that clever? Barry is really good at that kind of stuff.

Some ghosts spend those first days trying to scare kids playing in a graveyard or whatever, but for the most part, scaring people is actually really difficult as a ghost. It takes years of practice to even come close to moving something an inch or turning a light switch off. Most of the guys who get into that stuff are kind of dicks to begin with and just like freaking people out. Basically, if you are alive, any ghosts you have encountered are all creeps or dicks. Think about it; you are invisible but you spend your time playing Ouija board at a middle school girl’s sleepover party? Creepy.

Most ghosts are just chilling out at strip clubs or at concerts, but you never hear about us on ghost hunter shows! Most ghosts get a bad rap is what I’m saying.

Ghost life is honestly pretty boring. Movies are a major “paranormal activity” (another Barry joke). Next time you are in a movie theater, just know that there are about a million of us ghosts in there. Unless it’s a ghost movie; those are usually pretty offensive to us. A bloody guy in clanking chains talking about “unfinished business”it’s a horrible, and, frankly, insulting stereotype.

You guys have a whole series of movies on guys “busting” us by zapping us with laser packs. C’mon. The Ghostbusters are NOT heroes. They are the equivalent of the Klan for the ghost community; a bunch of middle-aged guys get together in homemade costumes when there’s “something strange in the neighborhood”?

It is awful.

Your society is really prejudiced against ghosts and it’s tough to watch. My brother gave my little nephew (who is alive) a book called 101 Ghost Jokes and it’s ridiculous. Like, “What kind of makeup does a ghost wear? MaSCAREa!” or “What room does a ghost not need? A living room!”

It’s like, fuck YOU!

We are dead on the outside, not the inside.

Don’t even get me started on Halloween. All you guys think Halloween is the most haunted day of the year, but most ghosts I know avoid Halloween as much as possible. Imagine if the entire neighborhood covered their houses and lawns in racist, sensationalized decorations of  YOUR culture and then ran around dressed as outrageous stereotypes. It’s really messed up!

(The most haunted day of the year in actually Valentine’s Day, cause we get to see you guys do it.)

One thing I really wish I knew is that you live as a ghost wearing the clothes you died in. There is no weight to it or anything, but whatever you are wearing when you die is how your image appears. This is very unfortunate for me, as I died in a scuba diving accident. So all day long I’m flopping around in ridiculous flippers and a big stupid oxygen tank. It’s very embarrassing.

I once met a guy who died of autoerotic asphyxiation. I guess he has it worse. He tried to play it off like it was a suicide and when he took off his belt to hang himself it caused his pants to fall down, but I am not so sure.

I wish I would have died in, like, a nice suit. People don’t really die in suits. Every now and then you will run into a ghost in a suit and ask him how it went down: Driving home from a wedding? On the way to a custody hearing? Those guys lucked out. They look great forever and they get to have the “how I died” conversation. One look at me in my scuba outfit and it pretty much says it all. Some people still ask, just to be polite.

They’ll be like, “scuba diving, huh?” I just nod.

My buddy, Brian, once met a guy who was dressed up like a ghost on Halloween when he died. So this poor guy is stuck for eternity dressed up as a horrible stereotype of HIMSELF! LOL! Can you imagine? I also once met a Nazi soldier who CLAIMED he was acting in a movie when he died. Everyone was nice and played it off like they believed him, but it looked pretty authentic and no one chatted with him for the rest of the party.

What else can I tell you about being a ghost. Oh, this is a bit of a strange one, but there are no little people ghosts. They don’t exist. I don’t know what this means to be honest with you. Maybe they all go to some sort of heaven we don’t know about or something. All I know is they are not here. Not one.

Anyway, I’m writing to let you know that ghosts are not all that different from you. We have feelings. We miss our friends and family. We watch Chopped and complain that they should have a second ice cream machine. We like Paul Rudd. We cringe when we hear Maroon 5.

Barry says, “Maroon 5 sounds like the name of a Crayola crayon, if there was a Crayola crayon that sang like a whiny bitch.”

LOL. Nailed it, Barry.

Ryan Patricks is a comedy writer based in San Francisco. His work has appeared on his mom’s refrigerator. He tweets at @ryan_patricks. His new book, You’re Not Helping... is now available.

The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit your work for consideration, send it here.

How the Other Half ‘Lives,’ by Ryan Patricks