I'm a fighter, not a lover.

Monday, July 25, 2005

A fine day for a parade

In 49 states across the country, today is simply July 25th. In Utah, however, it’s the observation of Pioneer Day, a celebration of those brave founders of the state and Mormonism. It’s craziness.

In fact, it’s one of the biggest holidays of the year as far as Utahans are concerned. It kicks the shit out of Independence Day. Don't believe me? I offer you exhibit A: For July 4th, there are no parades and within Salt Lake City proper, there's one good display of fireworks.

Now Pioneer Day, on the other hand: The soccer/football stadium has an extensive firework display, as does nearly every green space within the city. There’s a rodeo. (Seriously.) Several concerts. Street vendors in the park. My cubicle neighbor even reported waking up this morning to a man dressed as Ronald McDonald distributing candy to children via the use of an ATV in his neighbor. And there is roughly an ass-load of parades.

One of those parades in particular stands out. The big cheese, the mothership, aka, the Days of ’47 parade. It runs today, and yet, last night, when I happened to be downtown, near some of the prime parade-viewing-real-estate, I had to make a detour along the parade route. Why? Because I had heard rumor that some families actually camp out in preparation for the parade. This was more than an understatement.

By 10pm last night, the four or five blocks I drove along the parade route were already littered with Mormon families; blonde children fighting sleep and rolling around the sidewalks in sleeping bags. Literally, there was no more room for an additional family to squeeze Grandma's lawn chair in at that time last night. One family had set up an open-air tent and placed a queen-sized bed beneath it.

What is most entertaining about this is that just a few blocks away is Pioneer Park (coincidentally, named for the same valiant few that crossed the Mississippi) where the majority of Salt Lake’s homeless population calls home, and where many of these same families look with disdain at the fact that people sleep on the city streets.

What is most confusing to me about this is why anyone in their right mind would want to do this, regardless of age or whether or not they happen to be a member of the Mormon Church. Or, at least, why anyone in their right mind would opt to camp out for it more than once. After all, it’s a frigging parade. And chances are, it’s the same damned parade that rolled through last year. And will next year. Clearly though, there are a lot of people that see it differently.

While there are other things or events that I can understand someone camping out for, a parade is really just not one of them. In fact, I have been thinking all day about this and I have only come up with two instances in which it would be (or would have been) acceptable to camp out for a parade:

1.) The Red Sox parade after the World Series.

2.) If a parade of beautiful, nude mermaids came tail-flipping down the street in my honor to anoint me with gills, name me Mer-King and provide me with a key that unlocked more than just their city.

Seriously, this could be me! Well, sans the plaid pants. No, I'm not judging you man. I'm just saying. Just saying.


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