Ranting about the Rose Parade brings me joy in the New Year
What I was looking for wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill magic moment. What I wanted was one of those special times you never forget. A time to remember when you’re 100 years old and all you have left are memories and a bad back.Instead of this happiest-place-on-earth memory, however, what I got was an hour of frustration and rant. I had just spent the previous evening watching Dick Clark’s “Commercial” New Year’s Eve, and I was in no the mood to have any more of my wonderful holiday memories ruined by anyone or anything. So when I gathered the family together to view the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day – like my father did for me – I wasn’t putting up with any shenanigans.(Getting back to Clark’s New Year’s Eve show, it wasn’t the fact that poor Dick Clark was having trouble speaking or that most of the entertainment was lousy. It was that every five seconds there was a commercial break, and even when the commercials weren’t showing, Clark’s production company somehow managed to stick 12 or 13 in the background.
Now anyone who knows me knows that I’m all for commercials and making a descent buck, but this was so over the line that I would have had a better evening if I was out there alone somewhere getting drunk in a bar.)The next morning, however, when I dragged myself out of bed to watch the Rose Parade I discovered that it wasn’t being broadcast on any station I could find. It was then I started my first tantrum of the New Year.I stormed around the house cursing all the commercial gods and the idiots that changed the bowl games to different days of the week so they could make more money. I swore that, as God was my witness, I’d find a way to make these morons pay for changing the traditions of my childhood for no better reason than making a stinking, lousy buck. And I promised that I would not, under any circumstances, rest until every business that aired a commercial on a holiday was broken, bent and ruined.
I railed against the man, I cursed commercialism and then – at my wife’s suggestion – I went to the Tournament of Roses’ website to see what had actually happened.Did you know that the Tournament, at least since about 1893, has never held a parade on a Sunday?Back in those days it was decided that a parade might spook the horses of people attending church and therefore disrupt the service, and so the parade never takes place on a Sunday.So my rant against commercialism turned out to be a waste of energy and time. If you know me, however, you know I’ve always said, “No rant ever truly goes wasted.”
If it wasn’t for my tantrum, I would never have discovered an interesting fact about the parade, and I wouldn’t have been prepared on Monday morning with my cup of coffee in hand and daughters curled up around me. Now granted I had to force them, kicking and screaming, to sit still for a minute while I enjoyed the magic moment of watching the parade with my family, but isn’t that what the holidays are all about?May all your rants bring you joy and knowledge in this New Year.Andrew Gmerek writes a Friday column. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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