Quick! Ask me what my three least favorite things are….
Okay, I’ll tell you: My three least favorite things are Billy Joel music, the fact that Billy Joel has been allowed to record music and the fact that people listen to music made by Billy Joel. While those three things are all hateworthy, I often wonder what I’ll hate once Billy Joel dies. I’ll probably still reserve one hate spot for the fact that he existed but I’ll need two new things to truly despise and I’m not sure what they will be. Actually, that’s not true; I know what one of them is.
Currently at number four on my hate list: parades. Parades are the only things that should be allowed to like Billy Joel because he’s all that’s keeping them off of my least favorite things list.
Like most things I dislike, my anti-parade feelings started when I was a kid. In Copiague, the town I grew up in on Long Island, most kids were encouraged to participate in in things like team sports, boy or girl scouts or music programs. These activities were supposed to teach us something but I wouldn’t say I was encouraged to do them. I think the phrase that best describes the situation would be “forced to participate.”
Activities may be great for building character but they are also great for getting kids out of the house for hours at a time. The worst part wasn’t the sports or activities (which weren’t all that bad), the bad part was the parades we were forced to march in in conjunction with the activities.
Several times a year all of the kids who were involved in organized activities gathered at the train station on then walked from the 3/4 of a mile from there to the shopping center at the end of Great Neck Road.
These parades may not sound so bad but believe me, it was like the Bataan Suck March for every kid involved. It was probably worse for the parents who had to stand on the side of the road watching one semi-retarded kid after another trudge down the street in a hand-me-down uniform while the band played Stars and Stripes Forever.
My parents would have hated it if they hadn’t just dropped me off with instructions to call when it was over. I have to hand it to my parents, they were pretty smart when it came to avoiding things like parades, taking kids the dentist and encouraging me to do anything some other things.
The only time I ever enjoyed a parade it was not really a parade, it was the overnight practice for the Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. I’ll never forget coming up from the subway at 3 am to find 34th Street filled with artificial light and all of the acts practicing their routines. Of course, it probably helped that I was really drunk at the time. Like my parents when they tricked me into activities that involved parades.