I worked until almost 2 a.m. on Friday night, and needed to be “at the Camaro” in one of the staging areas for the Scranton St. Patrick’s Day Parade, at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday. And when I looked at myself in the mirror the next morning (the same morning), I wondered if there was a way I might be able to dye the bags under my eyes green, in celebration.
Man, I was dragging massive ass. But I really wanted to have the experience of participating in the parade, and was both flattered and intrigued by the invitation. The public relations arm of GM had chosen me for some reason, and there was no way I wasn’t going to be there at the requested time.
So, Toney dropped me off, and I went hoofing it through the blowing rain. It was a bad day for a parade, no doubt about it. But many months of preparation goes into it, and it would probably take a Xenia, Ohio-style tornado for them to cancel the thing. Parade Day must stand!
A Blow-Pop green Camaro should not be a hard thing to find, but I didn’t see it anywhere. I walked up and down the block, and it wasn’t there. Was all this an elaborate hoax? Possibly perpetrated by Metten and/or Mark Maynard? Will it somehow end up on YouTube, where I will be mocked and ridiculed, and sworn-in as the high-mayor of Douche Town? These thoughts seriously went through my head…
I saw a passel of greyhounds dressed in green sweaters, and felt sorry for them. Dogs have built-in jackets (as well as snout-cozies), and shouldn’t be forced to wear people clothes. The poor guys were prancing around on their pipe-cleaner legs, probably embarrassed to the point of physical illness. In fact, what happened later might have confirmed my suspicions.
I also noticed a man dressed in nothing but boxer shorts, hanging around a “float” with a toilet and running shower on it. Yeah, who the hell knows? And there was a group of Renaissance Fair veterans draped in animal pelts and chainmail, brandishing weapons. Occasionally a sword fight would break out, and they all had deadly serious expressions on their faces.
And the mayor has his cabinet…
Eventually I felt a low rumble in my sternum, and saw a green Camaro pull alongside the curb halfway down the block. I’m not much of a car guy (I drive a Camry), but that thing looked pretty freakin’ bad-ass to me. Menacing, even. My mid-life crisis was starting to flare-up, just looking at it.
I gave them time to get settled, and wandered over. There was a group of folks, in two vehicles. I believe they were all involved in the publicity end of things, and everyone was exceedingly friendly and nice.
After a few minutes of chit-chatting, I was invited inside the car and realized it was just going to be me and the driver. Amazing. I was under the impression there would be several local bloggers in there. But no, I was it.
The driver’s name was Chris, and he works for GM in New York, as a public relations specialist. I don’t really know his exact title, but that might possibly be close. He was a good guy, and we talked at length about publicity. I asked if he’d ever done anything in publishing… you know, maybe a hilarious novel by a first-time author, or anything along those lines…
I am a whore.
I learned something very interesting while we talked. Remember when Dr. Pepper vowed to give everyone in America a free soda, if Guns ‘n’ Roses released their Chinese Democracy album by year’s end? Yeah well, that was Chris’s idea. And how much viral publicity did he earn his client with that stunt? It was all over the internet and TV for a couple of weeks.
So, we sat and waited for a long time, while the parade took shape around us. There were essentially five separate mini-parades, all linked-up to form one big honkin’ mondo parade. And I think we were somewhere in the middle.
Eventually a man wearing an expensive overcoat and an air of authority gave us the signal to fall into position. Chris pulled the Camaro into the middle of the street, and I realized there was a bunch of people around the car with bags of giveaway rubber bracelets. The freebies seemed to have shamrocks and Chevy logos on them, but I’m unclear.
The emasculated greyhounds were in front of us at that point, and while we waited for actual forward motion to commence, one of them dropped down in the back and cut-loose with an astounding load of diarrhea. And the bracelet women howled in protest.
When we started moving, Chris attempted to avoid the shit-slick, but the “OHHH GOD!” from the crowd indicated that he hadn’t fully succeeded. “You’ve got poop on your tire!” a disembodied voice told us, from a distance.
Sheesh. It’s a wonder we didn’t fishtail on all that liquishit.
I was expected to send Twitter updates throughout the parade, and I sent about twenty using an app I downloaded to my phone. But when I got home I saw that only four actually posted. What the hell, man?? I tried, I swear I did.
And as we moved along the parade route, people were losing their minds over those free bracelets. They were practically knocking each other to the pavement, trying to get at them. It was incredible. People were acting like Costanza during a fire out there.
Also, there were MANY shouts of “Light ’em up!!” as we passed in the Camaro. I’m not sure what that means, but I assume it has roots in some sort of hickness.
Chris shook his head, and said, “These people just want a show. They don’t care if I take out the Friends of Poland marching band, or anything.”
“Hell, they’d love it,” I offered.
And that’s the way it went, during the whole parade. Near-fights for bracelets, and people hollering “LIGHT ‘EM UP!!” Before we got to the finish line, I asked Chris why they’d chosen me to ride along with them, and he said it appeared I had one of the most popular blogs in the area. I liked his answer just fine.
After the parade ended we pulled onto a side street, and they offered to drive me to my car. But I told them I’d been dropped-off, and since we were only a couple of blocks from Cooper’s… right here would be just fine.
I took one last photo of the Camaro, said my goodbyes, and headed for the bar.
And it was absolute pandemonium in there. It was packed with people, many of whom were bed-shitting drunk. I saw a woman with a terrifyingly red face reeling around the room in a SCRANTASTIC! sweatshirt, and I knew this hunk of her life would be lost forever; she’d never remember any of it.
I ordered a Guinness, to keep with the theme of the day, and had to drink it while wedged inside a coat rack, with my head amongst hangers. Great fun!
And that was that. Toney came and picked me up. She was going to come inside to join me in the coat rack for a pint, but there were no open parking spaces, so she said fukkit.
Thanks again to Chevy for inviting me along on Saturday. I had a great time, and apologize for the Twitter malfunction. I’m sure I screwed it up somehow… But I appreciate your hospitality and great taste in websites!
Here are a few pics I snapped during the day. They’re not the best, because most were taken from inside a car. But hopefully it’ll give you a flavor of the day.
Also, here are some pics I took at the same event in 2007, when I was able to move around a little more.
See you guys tomorrow!