I Hate A Parade

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.



Filed under General Tomfoolery

24 responses to “I Hate A Parade

  1. kim

    I lived in Europe for a year and in Germany they have this weird Halloween/carnival/Mardis Gras parade called fashing (sp?) It’s in Feb but everyone wears costumes (and gets drunk) The people in the floats throw shit at you (candy, little toys, whatever) but they do so with FORCE. It’s like it’s a challenge to see who can take out an eye first. Seasoned veterans bring umbrellas and hold them upside down to catch stuff without being wounded. If it wasn’t for the beer, I’d have been outta there!

  2. Keith Konior

    Three things I love are your blog, the blog of your lovely better-half, and the music of Billy Joel. Reconcile that, motherfucker!!!

    Really, you and Nina are just the bees knees.

  3. betheboy

    @Keith – Now I’m confused.

    Thanks for not holding my Billy hate against me.

  4. Seriously? There’s Mets fans who hate Billy Joel?

  5. hahahaha @Art. there’s at least two!

  6. I was in the fucking marching band. and we had white band shoes. and often marched behind horses. with the instructions “do not try to step over “it” if you come across any horse manure, you’ll screw up your step.”

    oh dear.

    the only good parades i was ever in were the two times we marched at disneyland. the second time we went we led mickey mouse out! that was kind of exciting. kind of. hey i got to ride space mountain for free all day because of it. lol

  7. You have just committed blasphemy to your New Orleans readers with your hatred of parades. We live for that shit here.

    Granted, ours are filled with naked people and copious amounts of alcohol, so maybe you’d actually like them down here.

  8. I was a forced participant in Girl Scouts and even worse, my mom got guilted into being the leader. So, I not only had to walk in the parade, I had to help prepare the stupid decorations for it. The oreos and juice waiting at the end of the 1 1/2 mile walk were so not worth it.

  9. NovySan and I were in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin. And we somehow ended up leading the Halloween Parade in New Orleans. And I used to ride a horse in the Jubilee Days Parade. So, yeah, I guess I like parades. Especially if I’m in them.

  10. actually now that i think about it, ive had to be in parades for a couple of other things too. Girl Scouts for the Christmas parade and then I was in about 4 or 5 Christmas parades because of work. Those were kind of fun though, because we’d all get liquored up before hand and ride in the back of the radio station truck waving at people, completely bombed out of our minds on Baileys. Hey we had to keep warm!

  11. I went to Carnival in San Francisco’s Mission Dist. one year and there were topless women in the parade…kinda hard to hate that.

    HOWEVER, aside from the rare gratuitous nudity, I will agree that most parades suck ass. As a kid I always remember them as crowed and hot and I hated having to stand for so long.

    In Jr. High I was in marching band so I got to experience parades from the other side, which was OK except that our uniforms sucked. As everyone knows, nothing screams “GREAT FUCK” like a guy with a plume in his hat.

  12. betheboy

    @heyjoe I can get behind the topless parade.

  13. Small children love a parade. And it’s amazing the things you’ll do simply because your child will like it. Really annoying toy? Yeah, but it’s less annoying when you know it’s going to occupy 20 straight minutes of attention. HOT HOT GROSS parade? When we get home, Gabriel will be exhausted, take a good nap, and eat all of his dinner.

    I have no such defenses for Billy Joel.

  14. Novysan

    A Parade Story Just for Will.

    As @ChiaLynn mentioned, we had been invited to participate, rather than spectate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin and found ourselves dressed in tie dye, faces painted, pushing a 400 pound sound system up and down the hills of Dublin (I know, Dublin
    SEEMS flat, it’s not.). As a set of grandstands approached, I noticed I
    was having a little trouble walking. My stride seemed clipped. We were
    halted in front of the grandstand and I found out why I was having
    trouble. My costume pants had worked their way down past my
    hips, and just at that moment, they dropped to my ankles. Quickly
    grabbing my pants and frantically pulling them up, I noticed not 5 feet
    to my left, a seated chap in a green robe, with a very impressive gold
    necklace around his shoulders, a woman seated next to him, and a police
    officer with an ornate gold mace staring directly at me.

    Yes, my pants had fallen to my ankles 5 feet directly in front of the
    Lord Mayor of Dublin.

    After this I had no trouble smiling for the crowd as I giggled the rest
    of the parade route.

    It was only at the end when I told our host what had happened that he
    informed me that the woman seated next to the Lord Mayor, was in fact,

    So that was my St Patrick’s Day. How was yours?

  15. I love parades, but do not like Mr. Joel. I don’t know…maybe I like parades because I’ve actually been in a few. Or maybe there’s just a different excitement tethered to them when you live in Texas and other southern states. But they always equal fun in my book!

  16. Novysan – I think I was at that parade.

    Now, is it pronounced “Johl” or “Jo-ell”? I say the latter, and my Canadian friends crack up…

  17. I confess a nostalgic fondness for Joel’s “42nd Street,” but by the time he came around to giving the world the dirge dump known as “Allentown” he pretty much deserved to be punched in the larynx. Plus he married Christie Brinkley before I had a chance to get over the shock of Rick Ocasek somehow managing to get hitched to Paulina Porznikova. Or was it Rick/Paulina first and then Billy/Christie? Either way: unfair.

    I’ll also cop to attending a Rose or Doo-Dah parade or two, but my favorite parade was a Hollywood Christmas Parade better known to me as The Night I Helped Save Ted Lange From An Assault. It was around the same time as that awful Joel song, and I was an LAPD explorer scout assigned to crowd control for the event. I was pacing along with the convertible carrying Lange (“The Love Boat” actor who played Isaac the bartender) when for whatever reason some crazy dude burst from the sidewalk toward him, yelling that Isaac ain’t muthafuckin’ shit. I moved to intervene, making the mistake of trying to reason with the nutcase and got spun around from an elbow to my temple. Another scout came over and got in front of him, giving me enough time to unholster my four-cell Mag flashlight and go low with a forehand swing that came in contact above his kneecap. The other scout’s light caught him in the ribs. Dude went down hard and in agony, writhing there until the real cops moved in, hooked him up and took him away.

    We were “officially” reprimanded for use of force violations but our adviser smiled as he dressed us down. It wasn’t long after that when scouts were banned from carrying large flashlights or being placed in unsupervised positions that might require their use.

    Yeah, best parade ever.

  18. I can relate to that Will! Not only do I remember parades in general, but I remember THAT actual parade!!! :)

    We would all line up at the damn train station (RAIN OR SHINE) and march our way down Great Neck Road! I had to do it about 4 times a year ’cause I was a band geek!! The only good thing was at the end I would get Mammas pizza!! What’s even worse was if I remember right, for the Little League Parade we would have to march all the way down to Tanner Park!!! ARRGGGGG!!!!

    One a side note, you should see how beautiful that place is now.

    Anyway … thanks for the painful flashbacks!

  19. betheboy

    @Scott – As we got older I used to regularly get off of the train and take that same walk down Great Neck Road at night. It didn’t seem so bad then. There are few things that feel so comfortable as walking down the street in your hometown.

  20. Sarah

    So did you hate the parade because it was a parade or because you were a Baton Twirler? For some reason, that’s what I pictured you doing in the parade.

  21. Elizabeth

    Will, I know that Scott means that Tanner Park is beautiful now, not Great Neck Rd…that still smells like urine.
    Marched in that same (horrific) parade in the 4th grade, think it’s partially responsible for me quitting the flute. Don’t give up on parades though, they can be great under the right conditions.

  22. betheboy

    @Elizabeth, the things I miss about Copiague are, in order: Alberts Pizza, tanner Park and the pee smell on Great Neck Rd.

  23. TheOtherWill

    If you can figure out how to ship them,I will send you an Albert’s pie if you send me some In-N-Out burgers.
    I love the way the rest of the country reacts to your stories about Copiague.
    The funny thing is I have yet to see you exaggerate in even one of your blogs,it’s all true.
    And yes I did that F’ing parade the one year I was in baseball.
    That was when I found out if you push a shopping cart up the escalator it reaches the top platform.

  24. betheboy

    @theotherwill you may also remember that pushing said cart onto tracks will cause the train to be late for the next stop.

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