This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending two parades - the Columbia Heights Jamboree parade and the Minneapolis Pride Parade. They were a study in contrasts to say the least. A review:
Best Parade Entry: For the Heights Parade, this is a tie between the Crestview Senior Citizens Home bus and the Hilltop float. The Crestview bus is in the parade every year and is filled with residents. Those sitting towards the front of the bus have their windows open, are waving, smiling and seem to be having a great time. Every year, however, there are four or five residents sitting in the back of the bus who are barely visible through the tinted windows. These residents look downright angry, as if they were told this was the bus they were to get on for the weekly trip to Cub for Braunschweiger, goddammit, and they don't have time for this shit and Murder She Wrote/Matlock/Perry Mason begins in an hour. I always empathize with these folks, probably because I am glimpsing my own future. The City of Hilltop float is another yearly participant and consists of an old pickup towing a flatbed trailer. On the trailer there is a sign which simply says "Hilltop", created with do-it-yourself stencils from the Walmart craft section and three inflatable stick figures flapping in the wind. That's it. No candy hand outs, no waving royalty or mayors, no flare of any kind. It's brilliant in it's simplicity.
The Pride Parade award for best participant would have go to the gentleman who was walking completely alone (he was between a church group and the DFL party but both groups were trying to create as much distance as possible from him). He carried no sign or banner signifying which organization he was representing. He was somewhere in the 45-50 age range, about 80lbs. overweight (most of which he carried in his midsection), and as hairy as a shag carpet. Oh, and his outfit consisted of a pair of black loafers and a pair of extremely threadbare tightie-whities. Obviously, he was a huge hit with the crowd. Whenever the cheering got loud enough - which was quite often - he would stop, put his hands on his knees, thrust his ass as far in the air as he could and shake that money maker. Given the heavy usage of his undies, it didn't leave much to the imagination. KT's comment was, "it's nothing I haven't seen before, but still, gross." Given I haven't worn tightie-whities since the fourth grade and am hairless as a newborn, I am beginning to wonder a bit about her social life.
Winner: I have to give this one to the Pride Parade, although I think the entrant may have just crashed the parade and thus shouldn't be eligible.
Best Giveaways: The Heights parade was the usual fare of Dum-Dums, root beer barrels, bubble gum, and literature telling us how some dude named Jesus is super hip and we should get to know him or how if we don't vote for this senator/council member/representative our buildings will crumble and our children will end up addicted to meth. My favorite was probably the carload of teenagers that drove down the route just before they closed the road throwing lifesavers out the window with a velocity geared more towards leaving a bruise than supplying a sugar rush.
The Pride Parade also had it's share of sugary items (including Fruity Cheerios - bravo, General Mills, bravo), but also stepped up the game a bit, throwing out items such as Jägermeister t-shirts. There was a lot more preachy literature, but I suppose that is to be expected at an event such as the Pride Parade. The award, however, goes to the organization that was handing out enema kits. Awesome. Fill yourself up with sugary garbage and then clean yourself right out.
Winner: Pretty hard to beat a free enema, isn't it?
Best Spectators: The Pride Parade had about what you would expect if you watched any news outlet - g-strings, tassels, fishnets, leather and lots and lots of skin. The great thing about the crowd is that everyone there seemed to be having a fantastic time - dancing, clapping, smiling, laughing and enjoying the company. Everyone except for the one guy we were stuck next to for the duration of the parade, that is. We somehow managed to end up crowded against the one person who overdosed on crabby asshole pills and washed them down with about a gallon of vodka. Parade hand-outs became not a bonus, but his inalienable right and he was going to do whatever it took to make sure he was getting his. This included going so far as to push kids over a piece of gum (I'm not exaggerating) to chasing and harrassing parade entrants down the route until he got what he wanted. He also challenged one parader to a fight when he was refused a giveaway and wasn't real receptive to those of us around him asking him to calm down. The clincher for KT, however, was when a sucker dropped out of his mouth onto her bare foot. I've never seen her move so quickly from rage to utter and complete revulsion. To her credit, however, she was able to persevere after ensuring that I was between him and her at all times for the remainder of the parade.
The Heights parade was incredibly entertaining people watching as usual. The highlight was a pair of young mothers that set up right next to us. Before elaborating, I feel a disclaimer is due: The following descriptions are 100% truthful. I have not enhanced or exaggerated in any way and have witnesses who will testify to this. On with the description. We heard these two before we saw them. From somewhere behind came the following conversation at a decibel so loud that even I was able to hear it:
"Where should we sit, bitch?"
"I don't give a motherfuck. Just fucking pick a place"
Needless to say I crossed my fingers, closed my eyes and continually muttered "pick me, pick me". I was thrilled when they pulled up right next to us. The visual was even better than the audio. Both were pushing strollers with children under the age of two. One was wearing a tank top loose enough that the side boob shots of her ample bosom were impossible to ignore. To counter the tank top, she wore a pair of shorts that were entirely too short and too tight. They fit like a pair of volleyball shorts, except they weren't volleyball shorts. Also, I'm pretty sure she didn't play volleyball. Her friend (sister?) was a case study in awesome. Lime green tank top stretched over a several months pregnant belly, bright yellow shorts, hot pink socks and blue fuzzy bedroom slippers. As an accessory, she had a cigarette dangling from her lips while she pushed the stroller. I can only imagine the scene that would have ensued had anyone dared chastise her for smoking while being obviously pregnant. The ladies chatted and smoked throughout the whole parade. At one point the pregnant one pulled her child out of the stroller, removed the child's poopy diaper and, without looking, tossed it over her shoulder onto the sidewalk behind her. If you need to ask whether she picked it up later I haven't done an adequate job describing her. Later, the other one noticed the henna "tattoo" that Audrey got on her leg earlier in the day. She pointed to Audrey's leg, then said to KT, "That mussa hurt like a bitch. When I had this dun (she pointed at a small flower on her arm) I screamed like a motherfuck." When KT explained that it was henna, not an actual tattoo, the lady responded, "I can't buleeve she did that. That looks like it woulda hurt like a bitch. She a tuff ass girl." KT didn't bother to try to explain further.
Winner: Heights in a landslide.