Friday, July 5, 2013

5 Ways to Make Attending Your Local Parade More Enjoyable

1. Choose your path to the parade route wisely. If you know a small kitten just got crushed by a driver a couple hours before, and that its leg is pretty much ripped off, and flies are swarming its body, and you can sort of see some of its innards, you may want to steer clear. If it means you have to walk completely out of your way, it might be worth it. 

It's bad enough that you have to see it, but then the rest of the walk, as you pass shady tree after shady tree that's already taken by other eager parade-goers, you're going to have to answer a lot of questions about kittens and the afterlife, scientific questions about decomposing bodies, and practical questions about who disposes of roadkill and how. You'll also probably get to wax poetical for awhile about the owner of the kitten and how he or she will probably need therapy. And your kid might also explain to you that kittens can't see when they're born, which might be a possible explanation why one might wander into traffic.

On a positive note, at least nobody will be complaining about being thirsty at this point in the day.

2. Whatever time you think would be an appropriate time to go find a prime parade-watching seat...go earlier. Choose a reasonable time to leave your house and walk to the parade route. But don't leave at that time. The early bird and the worm, people. You snooze, you lose. 

In fact, if you want shade, you'd better scope out your spot before there's even any shade yet. Better yet, bring some caution tape and put it under your prime location like it's reserved for the King and Queen of your town. Make it look official. And do it the night before the parade. 

3. Insure that somebody throws some candy to your kids. When you sit in the sweltering sun for 45 long minutes while they hold ziplock baggies, ready to retrieve any and all candy that people in fire trucks and on ambulances and in various modes of transportation will obviously want to throw at them (because why wouldn't they want to throw candy at your adorable chidren?), be prepared to be disappointed. Because guess what? Even the mayor will probably just throw one measley Lifesaver mint at your two children, and if you're particularly lucky, like we are, hopefully that mint will hit the pavement like a crystal bowl plummeting off of a tall tower, breaking into a million pieces, and then it can be shared. 

But what you should probably do is pack some tootise rolls (something that won't melt in 182 degree heat) and throw them at your kids yourself. If you throw them up in the air right, maybe they'll think that somebody threw them off the tractor that just went by--the one driven by the guy who is often drunk at the local restaurant, and who's dressed head to toe in camoflage. 

4. Bring a personal fan. This might be useful when a guy with white hair, whiskers, and a sizeable beer gut finds a buddy to talk to and parks himself right next to your obviously small children 10 minutes before the parade is about to start, and proceeds to smoke what has to be an entire carton of cigarettes. Your fan might help you blow some of the smoke away from you and toward the people who didn't bring your disappointed kids any candy. Plus, you can blow your fan on your kids when they start whining about being hot and thirsty.

If this doesn't work, you could bring up the topic of lung cancer really loudly.

Mace is a third, less friendly option. 

5. Bathe afterwards. Seriously. You stink. And this is what you smell like: sweat; probably other bodily odors, too; cigarette smoke; bug spray; possibly alcohol (the stench of that is everywhere, too); probably charcoal; hot dogs; and sunblock. You smell like America. Of course, you don't smell a thing like candy.

Don't bathe yet, though...because you still have a few hours to go until the fireworks. Happy 4th.

Oh, and try not to pass the dead kitten on your way home, okay?