Sunday, February 10, 2008

No Spitting on the Track

We see signs, banners and billboards every day that become part of the background of our movie. And because we see the signs so often, sometimes we don't see the signs at all. Sometimes the signs make sense, as if they were omens and sometimes a sign is just a sign. I drove by a volunteer fire department Saturday that is advertising for its 'Mardi Gras Dinner' Sunday evening, for ten dollars, in the fire house. Almost all aspects of that sign bothered me. If I'm gonna give you ten dollars to have dinner at your house, it'd be nice to know what we're eating and I'd like to NOT be eating it in your garage, brother, with the dark oil stain from where we normally park the heavy-duty rescue truck (damn transfer case leaks, doesn't it? Yeah, we got one, and maybe more than one, in Norwich like that, too).

"We scrubbed for hours and got a lot of it, heck most of it, out of the concrete but once those stains start, it's hard to get 'em out of cement as it's porous, doncha know?" says the Chief and you know he feels bad that he has to keep apololgizing for it and all I'm wondering is what happens if RIGHT AFTER the food is served, there's a fire emergency? Do the firemen all dash away and leave their mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberries and meat (I don't know what kind of meat so I just improvised there, thanks for not making a big deal about it) to fight the blaze, and do we all go along and help them, and hope nobody eats the food while we're gone?

By the way, fire department, ASH WEDNESDAY was this past Wednesday, this is the FIRST SUNDAY of Lent--how can you seriously be thinking about anything to do with Mardi Gras AFTER Lent has started? There's a special place in a very warm place for people who cannot keep track of stuff like this (and considering you're firepersons, it should be a good fit).

It's like Bobby F, with whom I grew up, thinking Christmas was Santa Claus' birthday (!) Oh yeah, we both went to Catholic grammar school-a great investment by Bobby's parents. It wasn't bad enough his sister got pregnant by the time she was sixteen, C'mon Virginia don't make me wait-and she didn't obviously, and his parents waited until she was like 34 months pregnant before shipping out to her aunt in Missouri or someplace none of us had ever been to (obviously to have the baby. She came home without it and none of us ever asked and she went back to school and that was, what?, about forty years ago, a whole other lifetime, and I have NO Idea what has become of Bobby or his sister or her baby.) I can tell you that when you tell Sister Thomas Anne, who must be long dead by now, in fifth grade that Christmas is Santa's birthday, her face turns some amazing colors and today she'd go to jail for child abuse probably, but today isn't then and then she hit Bobby so hard across the mouth for being fresh I may have seen drops of spit from his mouth fly halfway across the classroom.

Until I lived in Germany, I believed folks who told me that Mardi Gras was French for carnival. Life Is a Carnival, believe it or not. Except in Germany, it's called Fasching and its satirical potential is so explosive that it was the FIRST thing the Nazis banned after the gleichshaltung (seizure of power). Couldn't have any of that, now could we? It's bad enough Charlie Chaplin ridiculed Hitler in The Great Dictator, but Fasching parades and parties traditionally take aim at politicians and government leaders and the bier hall putsch crowd certainly had no sense of humor-just ask the gypsies, the Jews, the homosexuals and (insert your guess for victim here).
Jetzt bliebt mir den spuk weg. Their list of proscribed activities was longer than the permitted ones--a bit reminiscent of the Patriot Act (which the NY Giants repealed last Sunday in Arizona).

I asked one of the people in the gym about the sign on the door leading to the oval over the gym floor and he hadn't realized it was there but it made sense, he suggested. Very probably at some time, folks did spit on the track and, we both guessed, the sign took care of that. I was gonna ask if it was okay to spit on the folks on the gym floor from the overhead track but I don't want to break the budget on signs so early in the year. I have Mardi Gras dinners to get to, even if Harry Connick, Jr. is trapped behind the wheel of that Lincoln SUV with a big pot of crawfish. If we can just get FEMA to approve a dump truck full of tarter sauce we could arrange ourselves a delicious accident. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it-how about you?
Careful there! Don't get any on the track.
-bill kenny

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