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Parade Day

It’s Parade Day in Scranton.

Drunk_LeprechaunThe professionals are home today…..or gathered in out-of-the-way bars or man caves, as far away from downtown as possible. They have no desire to be vomited or spilled on, rear-ended, t-boned, shanked over the last parking spot, or forced to play peacemaker during the inevitable Hill Section brawls that will break out when the sun goes down, like wild-fires, all captured on video and posted on social media (Ok…I can’t wait for these, but that doesn’t make me a bad person).

And alas, we all remember the year Scranton became the romance capital of the year, as a parade dwelling couple bent over each other against a dumpster in an alley were made virally famous, to the horror of the Chamber of Commerce and, presumably, their parents. The stuff PTSD is made of.

So again……the pros stay away.

There’s a reason the day is widely known as “amateur hour”, as hordes of 20 something green-clad college students from Schenectady, most of them as Irish as Pope Francis, start drinking Keystone Light at 8am and continue until blackout, emboldened by a pack mentality, peer pressure, and and some Xanax to move things along. Clashes between townies and students are inevitable….and will light up Talkback-16 like a Christmas tree for at least a week.

The sheer disdain professional drinkers have for this day is palpable. Theirs is an orderly existence…….filled with routine. The same bar. The same stool. The same time. Not having to ask for a drink….but having one placed in front of them before they can get their coat off. Three long necks….then a pee. Repeat. Bartenders you can set your watch to. But today? That has been obliterated. Their sacred space has been invaded…..and there is no rank they can pull to get it back. If you want 3 beers today….you better order them at the same time. And if you think you have to pee before 10pm, start lining up now. (the girls have it way worse here…..by 9am the guys have already starting pissing in the sinks to move things along)

And in a nice touch, the weather is uncharacteristically perfect, which increases the potential carnage exponentially.

My musician brothers and sisters are out there…..spread out amongst the numerous bars, somehow negotiating the load-ins despite blocked off streets and zero parking. It’s good pay on parade day….much more than regular gigs….but they earn every penny, with half an eye always on the reeling drunks staggering in front of the stage, threatening to topple the sound system. When the band gets a break, somebody has to stand sentry over the gear, in case somebody takes the guitar in its stand as an invitation to re-create Hendrix at Monterey.

Totally rock and roll. Bands sleep well tonight Bubba. That I can tell you.

And somehow, amidst the maelstrom, a parade actually breaks out, and it’s wonderful. One year my father was chosen as the Grand Marshall, and I know it was a true honor for him. Music and smiles and kids and the joy of a community coming together for a day. Families gather. Old friends reunite. Over the years the cops have really cracked down on open containers, so the trouble mostly remains behind closed doors until after dark. So if you can survive the DUI bumper cars of the expressway and find a place to park, things can remain pretty kid friendly until you make your escape.

Or you can just stay home and watch it on TV.

In a bit..

–tf

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