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Opening Arguments

Beggars can be choosers

At slate.com, the "Dear Prudence" column gets a Halloween letter:

I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more “modest” streets—mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75 percent of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. Kids arrive in overflowing cars from less fortunate areas. I feel this is inappropriate. Halloween isn’t a social service or a charity in which I have to buy candy for less fortunate children. Obviously this makes me feel like a terrible person, because what’s the big deal about making less fortunate kids happy on a holiday?

Yes, you should feel like a terrible person, and a whiny jerk to boot. Do you feel so bad about lving on one of the modest streets of the best neighborhood that you would deprive less-fortunate kids of their one-night-a-year candy adventure?

My neighborhood must have a reputation as a generous one, because kids from all over come there for trick-or-treat. Their parents drive them in and park in the dentist's parking lot up on the corner of Broadway, then walk the kids through the neighborhood. And it doesn't faze me a bit. I hide in the back with the lights off and ignore them just like I ignore the neighborhood kids.

Hey, at least I'm fair.