Danny Tyree, 12/10/2014 [Archive]

Christmas Parades: Let The Fighting Begin

Tyrades!By Danny Tyree

My little sixth-grader Gideon just participated in his first Christmas parade (riding a float for the Westhills Elementary School Honors Club), and a good time seemed to be had by all; but curmudgeon that I am, I wanted to peek at the dark underbelly of the tradition.

Granted, there are pretty slim pickings if you Google "I hate Christmas parades" or "Christmas parade + controversy"; but problems do exist.

The weather was relatively mild for Gideon's parade, but parades progressing at a glacial pace through wind, rain and cold can strip even the cheeriest onlookers and participants of their holiday spirit. Maybe "Hypothermia Around The World" would make a good parade theme. (I came up with that one the year Jack Frost was nipping at my prostate.)

Parade organizers face a herculean task making each year's activities seem fresh, but sometimes it's best to stick with tried-and-true themes such as "Home For The Holidays" or "An Old-Fashioned Christmas". You're just asking for trouble if you employ a theme such as "A Fixed-Income Christmas." That one gave a mercifully unnamed community lyrics including "You Kids Quit Walkin' In My Winter Wonderland," "We three kings of Orient are/Give back our keys/We won't wreck the car" and "Do you see what I see? Of course not — your fancy schmancy doctor botched your cataract surgery!"

Transportation sometimes becomes an issue. Some towns ban horses (to keep the streets cleaner) or limit the number of antique car enthusiasts participating. Hmph! The car buffs have enough problems already. They obsess all year over vehicles built before air conditioning, FM radio, airbags and power steering; but they raise H-E-double-hockey-sticks if there's not a 120-inch flat screen TV under the Christmas tree. Go figure.

Many towns now ban the tossing of candy from floats, because of liability issues. 'Tis the season when ambulance chasers become sleigh chasers.

The Americans With Disabilities Act came into play when one burg tried to ban dyslexics from building floats. That came about after one float designer accidentally replaced the "Santa's Workshop" theme with "Satan's Workshop." The organizers were quite embarrassed that the float won a second-place ribbon. One of the judges admitted, "I didn't notice the pitchforks and writhing souls — I just thought he had this Mr. Heat Miser vibe going."

Here and there one will find an overly raucous Redneck Christmas Parade or a suggestively dancing gay group, but so far no one has done anything as provocative as "I saw Cosby doping Mrs. Claus/Underneath the mistletoe last night..."

Occasionally the "reason for the season" debate rears its head, but most Americans have pretty well resigned themselves to the fact that the season now exists to boost business. Christmas is supposed to bring "tidings of comfort and joy," but community leaders really push the idea that unless you spend locally and spend a LOT, your kids will grow up stupid, garbage will go uncollected, fires won't be extinguished and crime will run rampant in the streets. Of course that mantra can backfire. When weather or other circumstances cause the CANCELATION of the parade, the population can drop precipitously. ("Steal a horse! Steal a '57 Chevy! We're getting' out of this town before the apocalypse hits!")

At least these warnings give townsfolk a merry tune to carry with them all year. ("I'll pay off my Christmas, if only in my dreams...")

——-

© 2014 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page "Tyree's Tyrades". Danny's' weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.



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