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Menace

Power is intoxicating. Everyone loves having the ability to make their decisions into reality — to think "this should be something that happens," and then actually be able to make that thing happen. 

It is also dangerous. 

And it is especially dangerous when applied to four-year-olds. 

Four-year-olds lack the experience to wield power responsibly. They have no idea what to do with it or how to control it.


But they like it.


The dinosaur costume was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. The previous Halloween, which was the first Halloween I could actually remember, my parents had dressed me as a giant crayon, and the whole experience had been really uncomfortable for me.


But being a dinosaur felt natural.


And powerful. 


The feeling had been slowly intensifying ever since I put the costume on that morning, and, as I stood there in the middle of the classroom, staring off into the distance in an unresponsive power trance, it finally hit critical mass.

I had to find some way to use it. Any way. Immediately.


The other children screamed and fled. The teacher chased me, yelling at me to stop. But I couldn't stop.  I was a mindless juggernaut, a puppet for forces far greater than myself. I had completely lost control of my body. 


All I knew was that being a dinosaur felt very different from being a person, and I was doing things that I had never even dreamed of doing before.


Of course, I had always had the ability to do these things — even as a person — but I didn't know that. I'd just assumed that I was unable.  As a dinosaur, I didn't have any of those assumptions.  It felt like I could do whatever I wanted without fear of repercussions.


The repercussions were also exactly the same as they were before I became a dinosaur.


I just experienced them differently.


My parents had to come pick me up at noon that day.  The teacher explained that it must have been all the Halloween candy.  "Some kids really can't handle sugar," she said.  "It turns them into little monsters."


I suppose it was a reasonable enough conclusion, but it only served as a distraction from the real problem.


The thing about being an unstoppable force is that you can really only enjoy the experience of being one when you have something to bash yourself against. You need to have things trying to stop you so that you can get a better sense of how fast you are going as you smash through them. And whenever I was inside the dinosaur costume, that is the only thing I wanted to do.


The ban on sugar provided a convenient source of resistance. As long as I was not supposed to eat sugar, I could feel powerful by eating it anyway. 


I'm sure the correlation started to seem rather strong after a while. I'd find some way to get sugar into myself, and then — drunk on the power of doing something I wasn't supposed to —I would lapse into psychotic monster mode. To any reasonable observer, it would appear as though I was indeed having a reaction to the sugar.


My parents were so confused when the terror sprees continued even after the house had been stripped of sugar. They were sure they had gotten rid of all of it. . . did I have a stash somewhere? Was I eating bugs or something?

They still weren't suspicious of the costume.  


I lost weeks in a power-fueled haze. I often found myself inside the costume without even realizing I had put it on. One moment, I would be calmly drawing a picture, and the next I'd be robotically stumbling toward my closet where the dinosaur costume was and putting myself inside it.

It started to happen almost against my will.


Surely my parents made the connection subconsciously long before they became aware of what was really going on. After weeks of chaos, each instance punctuated by the presence of the costume, I have to imagine that the very sight of the thing would have triggered some sort of Pavlovian fear response.


They did figure it out eventually, though.


And the costume was finally taken away from me.


I was infuriated at the injustice of it all. I had become quite dependent on the costume, and it felt like part of my humanity was being forcibly and maliciously stripped away.  I cursed my piddling human powers and their uselessness in the situation. If only I could put on the costume . . .  just one more time.


But that was the costume's only weakness — it couldn't save itself. I had to watch helplessly as it disappeared inside a trash bag. 

There was nothing I could do.


And so my reign of power came to an end, and I slowly learned to live as a person again.





937 comments:

  1. YOU ARE AMAZING, I LOVE YOU, THAT IS ALL. I used to be Shamu.

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  2. This just makes me wish I had a dinosaur costume when I was young... I'm guessing my parents wish otherwise.

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  3. Omg. You in little girl undies. That is the most hilarious thing EVAAAR.

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  4. THERE you are!! Couple of things:

    1.) Where have you been?
    2.) Don't leave!

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  5. Yay! I'm glad you aren't a dinosaur anymore... and glad they didn't give the costume to Goodwill. No good could have come of it.

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  6. I love this post and I'm really glad that you're back. I'm so ready for your book to come out this month!
    I've always been addicted to sugar and, well, I thought I was invincible when on the powder as well. ;) My parents made me stop eating sugar when I was young and then I became addicted and even now, I feel it creeping up on me. I want to be a baker, this makes so much sense to me now. Ahhh.... you solved the mystery as why I want to bake!

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  7. I had a scarf, it was my cape. I was an all powerful superhero, who could do ANYTHING.

    They took my scarf away, too. :'(

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  8. "If eat sugar anyway, then more powerful than parents." This is me, so much. Change sugar to chocolate, but whatever.

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  9. Holy shit, I have an adult costume that kind of looks like that.

    I am putting it on as soon as I get home and trashing my house

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  10. Lol. But kids in animal/dinosaur costumes are the cutest...!

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  11. We all had costumes. Some get thrown away and some still hang by little tiny shards from our backs.

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  12. LOVING this!! So glad you are back! I was able to do stuff without a costume...but that just convinced my parents that I was "extremely busy". I prefer the term super creative...in a slightly chaotic way :)

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  14. Brilliant! I love your writing so much. Funny, warm, fuzzy. Just brilliant! :) Thank you

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  15. I feel a sudden and pressing need to buy a dinosaur costume...

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  16. Haha, I was the least rebellious kid in the world! I wish I'd had more costumes growing up (though maybe I'd have ended up doing the same as you...).

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  17. You should buy yourself a big adult dinosaur onesie.

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  18. Actually crying from laughter. Sadly I never had this reaction to a costume...but I am going to be Ursula for Halloween. It's not too late to hope, right?

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  19. Love the artwork in this one! Especially the panels playing with the focus. Great stuff as always!

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  20. My husband had a crocodile costume that did that to him. His mom made it for the Peter Pan themed Halloween with his siblings. She even sewed a watch into the chest. He cried the entire night because he wanted to be cookie monster, but slowly the power of being an adorable crocodile sunk in, and he became unstoppable.

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  21. Wednesday is no longer meaningless!

    I kind of need a dinosaur costume now.

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  22. Dinosaur costumes could be the new anti-depressant.

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  23. Glad your back Allie!
    Hope you're feeling better :)

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  24. You tell the best stories! Thanks for coming back! :)

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  25. I dub this the "Where the Wild Things Are" Effect. And let me note, I always fantasized about an awesome Halloween costume that would have an effect like this, but I always ended up a plush kitty or puppy dog. :/

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  26. With great costumes come great responsibility, I question what would happen if you were to put on the dinosaur suit now.... would you still hear the screams of your classmates..........

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  27. Glad to have your stories back! I hope you are able to keep em coming! Depression is a bitch, way to beat the crap out of it with a dinosaur story!

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  28. I love your writing SO MUCH
    I cannot stop laughing...that costume must have been brilliant!

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  29. I didn't have a dinosaur costume. :( I bet that's why I didn't turn into a monster of rebellion until my pre-teens.

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  30. Brilliant. Somehow you manage to put into words what so many of us experience in our dinosaur costumes.
    Thank you!

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  31. ♥ THIS was the karmic counterpart to my Really Crappy Morning ♥

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  32. I think you've just described how my daughter will acting in a year or two. Great.

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  33. Whoooo hoooo! Yay, Allie. It was worth the wait.

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  34. brilliant! i have missed reading your posts! glad to have you back :)

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  35. I'm loving the new things you're doing with the art. Subtle differences, but you're really growing as an artist. (I feel kinda weird saying that, but fuck it.)

    Rock on.

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  36. You're amazing (and I'm glad to read from you again)!! No dinosaurs for me, just princesses and fairies (yawn)!

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  37. And this is why you're the best. :)

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  39. WOOOOOHOOO! So happy to have you back!!

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  40. The costume was your Incredible Hulk, your Mr. Hyde, your evil twin. The thing they all have in common is that they are you, just the side that you always suppress. The monster lives within you, even today.

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  41. But you got the sugar back, right? What a cliffhanger!

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  42. I love these sooooooo much.
    You make my day.

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  43. OMG! This explains everything as our son once had a dinosaur costume and the teacher even called us about it! But then the teacher called us even when he wasn't wearing his dinosaur outfit. :-(

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  44. I need a dinosaur costume stat! Maybe my boss would finally give me that raise I asked for...

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  45. LOVE IT! You are awesome. I submit to the dinosaur within.

    Also as soon as I saw you had a new comic up, I texted my brother: "new hyperbole comic up. run don't walk." Thought you'd appreciate knowing that you are part of a sibling bond. :)

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  46. You made my day, Allie! Thank you so much for posting. This was both funny and creepily intense. But in a good way, like a velociraptor.

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  47. I love it! I love dinosaurs and even make Dinosaur planters and I know how awesome the power can be. Glad to read this and see another post.

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  48. Hey! I just wanted to share with you that I have had deep depression for decades, but finally found a cure. I take 1-2 teaspoons of the spice Turmeric (mixed in something like V-8, or sprinkled on something) every day-- and in one week it did more for me than 5 years of Zoloft and Abilify. I am no longer 'maintaining'-- I am cured! I just wanted to share it with you. Here's an article link:http://www.naturalnews.com/041625_turmeric_anti-depressants_depression_treatment.html . You can buy it in any grocery store in the spice section, but I buy it here: http://www.myspicesage.com/?main_page=search&query=turmeric . Here's to happy health! love ya, Jim Evans, tenofclubs@msn.com

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  49. So very happy. Also, I think I'm going to find a set of underwear into which I can imbue this sort of dino-power. I'd be a lot more interesting to work with.

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  50. LOL! I'm dying!! The pictures!!! Toooo funny! OMG... It would rock my world if someone would put this to dramatic music like they did with God of Cake. This is seriously awesomesauce!

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  51. I love this! I felt the same way but with my Wonder Woman Under roos.... Which became a problem when i used to strip down in the living room and become the all-powerful WONDER WOMAN! )

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  52. I missed you!! Ahh I just checked hyperbole and a half two days ago to see if there was anything new (: So happy you're writing!

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  53. I believe my son thinks he is a dinosaur. No costume, just animal.

    Love this!

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  54. Trying to get fired from a job can do the same thing. It's awesome. Great story!

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  55. blink blink Holy shit... I need a dinosaur costume for work.

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  56. So glad you're back! Don't leave again or I will drag out MY old dinosaur costume and hunt you down.

    Much love,

    Long-time creeper languishing in your absence, First-time poster.

    xOxxoXXoX

    I think I should add an emoticon so you know I'm joking. Soo... =D

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  57. Reminds me of alcoholism/addictions in general a bit.

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  58. I was a lion when I was four. There was no costume involved. For a brief period of time, I WAS. A LION.

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  59. Please start blogging regularly again!!! I've missed you a lot!!!

    Follow please! (Anyone, not just Allie)
    http://andasideofcynicism.blogspot.com/

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  60. Hee!

    This makes me wish I were still teaching sociology classes. I could have students read it and list the social psych concepts it illustrates as extra credit. It could even be a nice in-class diversion provided that enough people had laptops and phones to share. (Would they? I don't know how college works anymore.)

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  61. Loved it! I was such a boring kid... I think my parents should thank me for letting them off easy! ;) Of course, I never had a dinosaur costume. Things might have been different.

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  62. OMGOMG. I made my son a dinosaur costume (and his sister a unicorn) - but they both fought over that costume and wore it until I had to cut the feet off because they had grown too tall and then when the torso became too short they finally gave it up. Clearly I'm a slow learner about what kind of chaos/power comes with that thing.

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  63. Love this post, the view on the world that is too easy to lose. Finding it in your post is a gift. Thanks.

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  64. A NEW POST!!!! Made my day Allie, thank you!

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  65. This happened to me once with a Wonder Women swim suit. It was also blamed on sugar.

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  66. OMG YOU"RE BACK!!!!! IM SO EXCITED YOU'RE BASICALLY ONE OF MY FAVORITE PPL YOU ROCK ALLIE!!!! hope your doing better! :)

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  67. This is so wonderful! I love your stories. I will have to send you a pic of my four year old son in his Troodon costume. He was a monster, too.

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  68. my mother turned my brother into a tornado for hallowe'en one year.
    need i elaborate on his subsequent behavior?
    i didn't think so. ;)

    <3

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  69. This might explain why I want one of those fantastic Velociraptor costume/puppet things so badly. The idea of hiding around corners to roar and scare people when they happen upon me is so enticing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4cS-eEhuVM

    You were staying in character which makes total sense to me. But there is a kind of power to stay in character like that. Tempting me even in my 40s.

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  70. Oh my gosh. This has been the highlight of my year. I love this :) Thank you, Allie! I love you! :)

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  71. My boy had the same experience with a spiderman/venom reversible costume. He even wore it to school and when we were questioned about it by the teacher, we said "so what?" But we could see when he was really mad, because he would turn it inside out to be Venom when he was really pissed.

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  72. Glad your posting again! I am dressing up my little 6 month old as a dinosaur for Halloween, let's pray this doesn't happen to him:)

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  73. I'm so happy to see a post from you!

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  74. That dinosaur costume was Allie's Heisenberg :O

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  75. omg i laughed SO HARD i've got a four year old and a five year old and i'm relating on a level that resonates in MY SOUL

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  76. This is why my Hyperbole and a Half bookmark is staying in my bookmarks toolbar FOREVER.

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  77. Ah, this is so familiar. I can't even tell you how many times my parents caught me barking and nipping at people's heels in the grocery store before they figured out that I shouldn't be allowed to watch "Lady and the Tramp" anymore.

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  78. Its great to see you back! Now don't wait months before posting again!!!

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  79. I love your posts, including ones about depression. All I can say about this one at the moment is RAWR!

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  80. i frightened my dogs i was laughing so hard

    thank you dear woman!

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  81. Aaaah, that's the best!
    I pretend to be a dinosaur when I'm having a bad day at work. I was a dinosaur just half an hour ago. It was amazing.

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  82. This is eerie. My Mom just bought a dinosaur costume for my nephew- from Goodwill!

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  83. Oh my god. I need this as s children's book. This was hil-fucking-arious.

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  84. so glad you're back! <3

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  85. I literally just pre-ordered your book today, and now this post. Best. day. ever.

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  86. I, too, need a dinosaur costume.

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  87. Friggin hilarious! I (unfortunately) feel like this without the costume. It's part of being bi-polar.

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  88. This clarifies the two years I spent in a princess dress. so much is clear now.

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  89. Yes! Another wonderful story from Allie! I love them ALOT. X)

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  90. Yup, I was a black cat for Halloween one year as a child. I slunk around like a ninja and scratched at people for months. Then my ears and tail got taken away. I am still convinced that I am part feline.

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  91. This should appear in the next issue of Child Psychiatry Today.
    Thanks, Ali! I drop everything - even my own baby - to read your posts. Cheers, Chloe

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  92. If I were you, I'd GET A NEW COSTUME and use it to regain your lost powers! I am quite certain DINOSAURS don't get depressed. Raaar!

    Dang, having said that, now I want a dinosaur suit too!!!

    Chris
    p.s. Rock on!

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  93. I guess that's why Mom took my skunk costume away, huh? Now that was power!

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  94. Oh dear, now I'm kind of worried about the effect the forum's engagement presents had on you. Hopefully you and Man restrained yourselves and didn't destroy your home.

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  95. God, I need a dinosaur costume like that.

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  96. This was perfect. Thanks for coming back!

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  97. Mine was a hobo costume. It transformed me in to a train catching wanderer...

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  98. Hyperboleus Rex!

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  99. I want a dinosaur costume! Would I look totally insane if I wore it to the grocery store?

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  100. I love your artwork in this. The foreground/background stuff with you and your parents, the realistic dinosaur, the montage of you in costume while your mom is thinking...

    You are amazing. I hope you know that.

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  101. So glad to have you posting again!! Don't ever leave us readers hanging like that, OK?

    You must have asked your parents about all this trouble you made - the Wolf Pack game, the God of Cake, the Party . . . are there any funny shenanigans you get yourself into now??

    Website: moxieoverdose.blogspot.com

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  102. You are the greatest. LOVE LOVE LOVE your stories and pics.

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  103. Love this! I now may need to buy a dinosaur costume for when I don't feel powerful enough at work...

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  104. Oh, dear.

    Several thoughts going through my head right now. One is that I was a complete costume junkie as a child and, now that I see someone else put it into words/drawings, I definitely remember feeling safer as a cat/tiger/rabbit/etc. than as a kid. Not physically safer--I was never in any physical danger--but . . . more at home. Later, as I moved up grades in school, my learning disabilities became more problematic and I started having academic problems, and was bullied by the other kids (and one of my teachers. My parents moved me to a different school).

    I grew up to be one of those women who likes to make her own clothes from vintage patterns. That's not a costume in the Hallowe'en sense but it still sort of is a costume. I think the power is getting some attention, but not too much attention, because people are interested in my dress but not actually looking at me. So it's attention but it's also a little bit of a barrier. Which is not to say there isn't anything to me but clothes, but since I've never been good with people, it gives them something to talk to me about that doesn't put to much pressure on me.

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  105. Great tale. Thank you so much for sharing. Love, love, love your work x

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  106. Claudine DeCarlisleOctober 2, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Aaaaaarrrrrgh! Must. Have. Power.

    Allie, you have brought your minions to their knees in laughter and admiration.

    You HAVE the power!
    Thanks for a post worth waiting for.
    Claudine

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  107. Dear Mother Fucking Allie,
    I love you and I needed this in my life today. How'd ya know!?
    Love Always,
    Crystal aka Mischief
    P.S. Don't leave me that long again!!! Please and Thank you ;-p

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  108. As a teacher, this explains a lot!

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  109. Thank you for this! As I am enjoying this post my almost 3 yr old is ripping the house apart...wearing his favorite superman top complete with cape. Now I have something new to threaten to take away from him! Thank you!

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  110. I think that's how I feel now (as an adult) about my calf-length black p-coat. You know tv tropes? This is similar (and you may find it funny) http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BadassLongcoat

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  111. Thanks for sharing this memory with us. It's interesting watching my own kids grow up, and how their personality traits as small children stick around as older ones. A few have disappeared, but many have grown stronger.

    As I deal with my own anxiety, and my fiance deals with his myriad issues, we're on the lookout for anything going on with the kids. We are also trying to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness with our new blog, The Face of Mental Illness. We encourage people to speak about their experiences and share their Face of Mental Illness.

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  112. Hi Allie,

    Your tweet button does not work (it just goes back to the top of the post). and you addresses are rather long, so they can be hard to tweet manually.

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  113. I had impulse issues as a kid, too. One time, I put on my Christmas dress and ate like 100 hershey kisses while my mom was on the phone. Thought I was sneaky hiding the wrappers in an empty kitchen drawer, but she totally caught me. That ended the "leave candy around for Christmas" for a few years at our house. Nice to see you back :)

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  114. I'm sure someone else has also mentioned this, but reading this, I can't help but be reminded of Calvin and Hobbes. And I loved it. Of course, Calvin was almost innately destructive; your capability for chaos was awakened by an outside force. The panel with Velociraptor-Allie in the corner was perhaps my favorite. Overall, hilarious. Absolutely loved it.

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  115. I also had the blue crayon costume once. You summed up that experience perfectly!

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  116. Yay I missed you!!! And go ahead and be creepy and find me your awesome and will creep you until I gain more smiles from reading your stories!
    Xox
    Alexa

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  117. Absolutely wonderful, as usual. Missed you.

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  118. OH MY GOD. This was just... just... beautiful.
    It made my entire week and I think I may have actually hurt myself laughing.
    Allie, you are such an incredibly wonderful and talented human being.
    Thank you for existing.
    And welcome back :)

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  119. Great story. Reminds me of the politics of today. They have way too much sugar and dinosaur costumes. Thank you Allie...can NOT wait for your book.

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  120. This reminded me how much I loved costumes as a kid. Thanks. I think I need to find an excuse to dress up this year. :)

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  121. YOU'RE A FUCKING GENIUS ALLLIIEE!!!!!!!!!!

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  122. I was an eagle. I jumped off of things in my cardboard costume (wings and beak). Yup. Anyone tried to tell me I was NOT an eagle? Pfft. Peck out their eyeballs!

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  123. I haven't even read this yet, but already know it's going to better my life. Just wanted to say thanks for continuing to write!

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  124. So good to hear from you again!

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  125. Grrrrrr...
    The key to power is being the dinosaur even without the costume, hahaha.
    Now I know what costume I want next halloween. I'm glad that you're back!

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  126. You are the best thing about my miserable life. Thank you for making me laugh. I love you. (breathes heavily for extra creepy effect)

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  127. I had that dinosaur costume as a kid too! Loved that thing.

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  128. Life is good, now that you're back.

    Thanks!

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  129. I'm so glad you're back! And with a Halloween-ish entry, no less. The shot of you hosing down the entryway made me laugh out loud.

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  130. Allie, this not only had me in stitches, I think you just helped me understand my 3-year-old son! You are fantastic, and I hope you have many books that sell exceptionally well!

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  131. When I was a little kid, I wanted to grow up to be a dinosaur. Instead I became a barista. My only chaotic power rests in the ability to put whole milk in a mean customer's non-fat latte. That's as much anarchy as I can muster.

    I am glad you got to leave my dream for a while! I am jealous!

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  132. "Nobody cared who I was until I put on the mask."

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  133. (I want Allie to get a new dinosaur costume. )

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  134. This is phenomenal. Keep being fantastic, Allie!

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  135. I'm a new reader, having only found you in the last year. I still love your stuff though. You're blogs are hilarious!

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  136. So many articles of clothing or items of a certain style still provide a certain mindset to me as an adult. How I feel in my head and how people perceive me, still playing "dress up" all these years later.

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  137. ALLIE ALLIE ALLIE ALLIE ALLIE ALLIE ALLIE ALLIE!!!

    *running around in circles*

    I am sososososososososo glad that you're back!

    And did you know that putting on a bodysuit turns you into an Olympic gymnast?

    True story.

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  138. OMG when I saw there was a new post, I literally squealed! As a 43 year old mom of 4, I don't say that often. This post was brilliant! Your insight is incredible.

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  139. Hi. I just wanted to tell you how awesome you are. I found your site, I don't know, four months ago or so. After the first comic, I went on a tear, reading your entire site within a few days. I still think of the panel where the kids are looking up at the babysitter and say, all in unison, "One!" Just hysterical.

    Thank you for contributing to society in the way that you do. You're comics range from silly to hilarious to informative to earth-shatteringly sad. To create art, in whatever medium, that can so easily cause you flow in and out of such a wide range of emotions, it's a pretty incredible gift.

    Thank you for using it. Thanks for playing. And it's good to see you back.

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  140. This should end with:

    "...for now."

    You're an adult now! Make an even cooler dino-costume!

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  141. My mother made me a cat costume once when I was about the same age, but as all I wanted was to be a ballerina I was much less power crazed... My own 4yr old will never be allowed to be a dinosaur now though, she would go completely power mad with it! Thanks for the heads up ;)

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  142. I'm so happy you're back I love your stories and you're such an inspiration to me and my books and my blog! The last post filled up so I couldn't express how much I love you but I do I love youuu! :D

    Jane

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  143. So. You had a venom symbiote as a child. That's pretty amazing. Glad you see you back, I can't wait for your book!

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  144. I have underwear that does about the same thing. They have Animal (you know, from the Muppets) on them. I am an "adult".

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  145. My heart is glad to burstng.

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  146. sometimes in life, we need to put on that costume to feel powerful again.

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  147. You are SO smart! Or, I'm so dumb! Thanks for the: "Parents are most powerful thing in world...Parents forbid eating sugar...eat sugar anyway then more powerful than parents"

    That just upped my parent game...for now. I'm so happy...and sad.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

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  148. This is beautiful! It made my day, which previously was just a boring and tedious blur of study.

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  149. Brilliant and meta-deep. I dig it. Thanks for sharing!

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  150. Where The Wild Things Are ain't got nuthin' on 4-year-old Allie!

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  151. Too funny! Thanks so much! Can't wait for the book.

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  152. Your blog posts are the only ones guaranteed to make me cry with laughter. At work. Please continue. Love you!

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  153. LOVE! SO hard to read this with a straight face while at work!!!

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  154. I saw this pop up on Facebook and SCREAMED down the stairs to my partner, "HYPERBOLE AND A HAAAAALLLLFFFFFFF!!!"

    ... then spent the next 15 minutes gluttonously devouring the post with shrieks of hysterical laughter.

    We LOVE you, Allie. So glad to see you posting! <3 <3 <3

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  156. Hahaha I can't wait to give my godson a dinosaur costume :) his parents will thank me Muahaha!

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  157. This was incredibly delightful and moving to me. I love that little dinosaur kid. This is how the perfect halloween costume should make you feel.

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  158. So very glad to have you back, Allie!

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  159. You are AllieZilla aren't you?
    This makes me very very very very happy.

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I'm super creepy and totally capable of finding you