So I went to a parade the other day. I was curious to re-experience the phenomenon since it had been quite some time. The last time I saw a parade was from within as a member of the high school’s marching band playing my trombone.
Yeah, it’s really been that long. I avoid public events religiously. I recently lived ten years in a small town. During that time I successfully avoided all the parades, county fairs, classic car shows and even the yearly carnivals festively known to the locals as “dirt bowls.” I’m a hardcore avoider and parade dodger.
The parade started with the police and fire departments showing off their rides. Meh. I grudgingly gave them a pass since this is apparently the traditional way to start a parade. I fleetingly wondered how much it was costing me.
Then came some beauty queens riding in the back of convertibles. Meh. Mildy amoosing.
This was followed by the “citizen of the year” aka a person I don’t know in car.
At last, the grand marshal. A person in a car. I was starting to swoon from … too … much … excitement. Suddenly I realized I could have been back at home watching Star Trek: The Animated Series on Netflix.
In case you missed it, the theme of the parade was “Undying Love For The Internal Combustion Engine.”
Okay. Blah blah blah. What else you got? Here are some other miscellaneous observations from the parade:
There’s supposed to be floats where people throw candy into the crowd. As far as I can tell, this didn’t happen. I demand a refund. Not to say that I would trust that shit in mouth. I wouldn’t. It’s the principle of the thing.
Speaking of things missing, there were no old men on tiny little bikes wearing weird hats, either.
Speaking of floats, there weren’t any. What what? What kind of cheap ass parade is this?
Due to the shortage of actual floats or anything remotely of interest, a team of “platinum sponsors” were pressed into service. As far as I could tell these were wealthy men and/or their families in, you guessed it, a car. I’d say about 94.2 percent of the parade fell into this category.
Do you know how much fun it is to go to a parade and see a platinum sponsor like ordinary people from a real estate office walking down the street in their street clothes? Do you?
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
At one point I broke down into tears, lamenting for all to hear, “There has got to be something other than cars. Please, oh God!” My prayers must have been answered because a few blokes came along on their all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). There was, however, nothing to indicate why these chaps were parade worthy or even why they were of interest. It was like the parade organizers were saying, “Hey, chumps! Take a look at this shit!”
I never saw anything that flew, even though at one point I prayed for a hot air balloon. (There were lots of miniature cousins, though, released like space probes in search of the nearest aquatic creature they could kill.)
Believe it or not, though, shortly after I mentioned my desire for a train, one actually came along. Okay, that’s one for you, parade. (It was actually a train simulated on a car, but I’m feeling generous.)
At least once I saw a football team all decked out in their uniforms. They were riding on top of a bus. (Another form of transportation!) They grunted and made sounds in unison. I remember earlier when I said, “Hey, let’s go to the parade so we can see a football team.”
Another item off my bucket list!
To my credit, I resisted the urge to make any comment about how many current and former football players have ever been accused of bad things.
As we watched, much to my wife’s embarrassment, I kept a running commentary going at full throttle. “Where are the horses?” I demanded. “A parade is nothing without fresh horse poop.” Eventually we did see three horses being ridden by cute gals in Liberace outfits. Now this is what I’m talking about! Alas, even this momentary diversion was yet another advertisement, this time for a county fair located all the way in the Delta Quadrant. I thought “local” was supposed to be desirable?
Now please direct your attention to our next attraction. It’s some scraggly looking fellows riding motorcycles. For those keeping score, please mark your programs. We just hit for the cycle. (Heh!) All in the name of your entertainment.
Please note the volume level of these conveyances. We see some of you clapping enthusiastically. You have been flagged for collection and processing later. Congratulations! You will be Soylent Green.
For the rest of you, please note the dead animal flesh adornments. We’ve spared no expense.
Words fail me on this one…
Just to prove how hurtful we can be, here’s another bus with a scantily-clad woman dancing like a stripper on steroids. Good clean family fun. We’re here for the children. Wow, she’s really getting into it. Remember, the Oregon Supreme Court said this is legal.
Again, just to be clever, we will give absolutely no information about this exhibitor (heh) or why they should be of any interest to parade enthusiasts.
This next thing makes noise. That’s all it does.
It sounded just like a bomb going off. All around people who were enjoying their food cart snacks and alcohol (in the politically correct biergarten) suddenly jumped, looked afraid and wet their pants. Everyone was scanning the scene. Was that a bomb? After Boston you think they’d have thought better about entertainment like this or least provided some warning.
The people who enthusiastically clapped were also flagged for extraction, round two.
And now, for absolutely no reason at all, please enjoy a bunch of wrinkly white men driving sports cars. Why is this of interest? We have no explanation for it. But we are required by law to let them out of their cages once a year.
More cars! Just like real ones only older. Even from 50 feet away and trying to pretend like I didn’t want to die I was able to choke on the authentic smog and fumes. Wow. These are cool! I didn’t know they still made that kind of fuel.
Near the front of the parade, getting preferential treatment, came some politicians. Some I’d even heard of before. Most rode in cars and waved furiously, apparently trying to promote wind farm energy by example.
The mayor himself was there and on foot. Just like in real life he stayed exclusively on the other side of the street working the crowd. As always I felt left out.
The parade goers brought and estimated 4,200 dogs. That was about 4.2 bonus canine watchers per float. Honorable mention: One cat on a guy’s shoulder. That was way cooler than all the dogs put together.
Hanging over the event was the Official Cloud sponsored by cigarettes. Why allow other humans to have the right to breathe when you can fuck ’em instead? Indeed. No matter how packed in like sardines we get just keep going. Smoke as if your life depends on it. By the time I got home I smelled like I’d been in a Las Vegas casino for three minutes.
Honorable mention also goes out to the humble mobility device. Without this little workaholic many Americans wouldn’t have been able to attend. Beep, beep!
The Big Goodbye
After a whopping 90 minutes there was no end in sight. My wife asked, “Can you see anything heading this way besides cars?”
“Nope,” I replied. “Nothing but cars as far as the eye can see.”
“Let’s get the fuck out of here.”
Humanity is gone, man. Get out while you still can.
Here’s video I captured of the event. You have to admit, the narration hits the perfect note of my usual style and flair. I really went all out. Pedal to the metal!