I’m a geologist and always have been. Back as a kid, the Peanuts’ “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” promised me rocks from trick-or-treating. My folks told me “If you misbehave, Santa will give you lumps of coal in your stocking.”

I literally dressed like Charlie Brown in his hole-peppered sheet for Halloween, anticipating a bag of geologic specimens. Nothing but candy on Halloween. I spun the neighbor’s cat (Casey) around and around (in my arms, not by the tail) to watch a cat run sideways, feeling very assured this was naughty enough to garner a fossil in my stocking. I got Hot Wheels and candy canes in my stocking.

My childhood was one of being screwed over by hollow holiday promises.