Friday, June 19, 2009

Hiatus On Parade

I'm hoping this will be my year!

Every year the local moguls, do-gooders, and civic clubs choose someone to be the Grand Marshall for the July 4 parade. They go for local folks who have achieved some level of respect in the community, including firefighters, retired sheriffs, a returning military hero, or whoever.

I may not fit perfectly into any of those categories, but I have certain other things going for me. I've lived in this town pretty much all my life. I've kept my nose clean. The weeds on our half acre, I trim them from time to time. And I believe I've shown more average literary ability, representing the community well, the creative writing class I took at the local high school being an inspiration, in the daily conceiving and producing of this blog on the worldwide web.

Right now I'm very down in "friends" and "followers" on the blog, which may be a mitigating factor against my selection -- as though popularity with fawning, needy, anonymous sets of eyes out there is really any major selling point. But still it doesn't look good when they come check out the site and they see this guy seems to be declaiming to an empty room, like in a warehouse, with my words echoing meaninglessly off of big abandoned barrels and cobweb-fraught rafters.

Plus -- and I'm actually very proud of this fact, but I know it will not look good to the superficial Chamber of Commerce member -- since I'm on hiatus and have made much ado about that fact, perhaps that is not a subject that they would think represents literary ability or a goal worthy to be emulated. And being the Grand Marshall usually goes to those heroes and worthies who can also set a moral example for the community, particularly the young. But try it -- just try what I do here everyday -- and see how easy it is! You'll wish you'd simply gone to war!

Anyway, however it works out, I know I would look good sitting on the upper seat of a convertible, a big sash in the appropriate place, from my shoulder down to my waist, waving to the people, pointing to the occasional friend, and passing by in the kind of style that announces I have arrived.

Now we come to the inevitable But then what? ... Yes, then what -- It always comes to that.

I'm halfway through the parade and thinking my Grand Marshall gig is just about up, and they never get the same guy twice.

Three-quarters of the way through, there's barely any crowd left because any normal person who goes to the parade will be there on the first half of the route. Because everyone knows the performers and participants are hot, tired, and cranky by the three-quarters mark and don't feel like waving anymore. And anyone who had candy to throw out is now down to about nothing, meaning the pickings are very slim indeed. Any free popsicles or bottles of cold water are long gone. The horses are hot and tired and without warning might stampede

A few of the floats will have turned off now, being too proud to display before parade route stragglers, known in the business as "The Dregs." What you have after the three-quarters mark are registered sex offenders who aren't allowed up route, or guys just out of jail who are too ashamed to be up route lest they run into curious relatives, or drug dealers looking to score off the worthless and forlorn who populate the last quarter of the route. I'm in this section as Grand Marshall and I'm ashamed to be a part of it. The glory of the first three-quarters is over and finished. The folks up route have already forgotten me.

By the end they're stripping the sign off the convertible, the owner is checking out the place I sat for any accidents I might have made, plus he's mad that I had the slightest bit of dirt on my shoes and now it's on his seat. The sash rental place is there to get their sash back, then they deny me my deposit because of all the criminals standing around on that last stretch. I've got a severe sunburn and have to hoof it home.

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