January 19th is Edgar Allan Poe’s 207th birthday. Everybody loves Poe, so here are 13 special ways you can celebrate the occasion.
1. Find a few Poe stories or poems you’ve never read, and take them for a spin.
2. Dye your cat black. Do this gently, of course – do not harm the cat. If you do harm the cat, it will have its revenge – ha ha. No, it actually will.
3. Try to coax a raven to land on your window sill, using seed or raw meat – whatever ravens eat. Crickets, maybe. If you manage this, then try to get it to perch upon the bust of Pallas you have above your chamber door. (You have one of those, right?) Bonus points if you find a raven that talks. Caveat: the bird will never leave! Ha!
4. Go down to your local police station and offer to do some pro bono crime-solving, like C Auguste Dupin. Sometimes police detectives just get stumped, and they LOVE when smart citizens pitch in, figuring out murders and purloinings.
5. Sleep next to a cadaver. Post selfies to prove it (#AnnabelLee).
6. Dress up kinda fancy, but with as much skin covered as possible. Find the fanciest party, wedding or other event you can, with lots of super rich people who think they’re not part of the rest of humanity. Run into the middle of the party, make sure everyone is watching you – and when you are in the most central location, throw off your clothing and yell “I have the plague!” Bonus points if you use gnarly special effects makeup or if you have a deadly, highly communicable disease.
7. Just have a Poe-themed party. Everyone wears black. You can light lots of candles and play Dead Can Dance, Siouxsie, etc.. Make Goth rice-krispy bars, “blood” wine – oh, you can play Wink Murder!
Caveat: Do not invite the twins. You know who I’m talking about: the dude who’s vivacious one minute and sullen the next; he always brings that stupid guitar. His sister just staggers around like a wet sock, nail-less fingers dripping blood. They seem a little too close, if you know what I mean, right? Anyway, don’t invite them unless you want your place to sink into a bog at the end of the night, like it was never even there.
8. Another good one for the party: Get a mummy. Use electricity to revive it. Make sure you bring a change of clothes for him/her (maybe a “Happy Birthday Edgar” shirt? Black, anyway) because the wrappings and such will fall right off. Mummys are unfailingly polite, articulate and conversant on a wide variety of fascinating topics. Par-tay.
9. Try to find someone who is passed out at the party – drag them into a nook of some type – and quickly wall them up with bricks. You can post photos and stuff: I know it’s an old trick, but it’s always pretty hilarious. Never, ever let them out.
10. Marry your teenage cousin.
11. If there is someone special in your life (for instance, your wife-cousin), commemorate this special day by pulling out all their teeth. Proper dental instruments work best (and are generally easier to sterilize), but regular old tools will work, too. The important thing, and what’s great about this activity, is that you can do it together.
12. Build a life-size, working pendulum, “a crescent of glittering steel” – “razor sharp” – just like in the story! Strap yourself underneath and take it for a spin. If it isn’t working, it might just be too high. Adjust it.
13. Challenge: Kill the old man you board with, dismember and bury him beneath the floorboards of your place (assuming you have the right kind of floor – or, I suppose you could wall him up, like above), have some cops over for a snack and see how long you can keep from confessing. It’s tougher than you think!
The important thing is to have fun. If only he were here, we’d throw his dear heart the biggest party ever. Maybe we’d finally put a smile on that mopey ol’ face!
WE LOVE YOU, EDGAR ALLAN POE !