This is the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City and we are watching it, whenever it can viewed between the commercials. The commercials are short, about 30 seconds so as to accommodate the attention span of most TV regulars, but they are presented in a series, like serial killers, that easily last 2 minutes.
The featured part of the parade is the large inflatable balloons, held secure with ropes by ‘balloon handlers’, who act much like the snake handlers at a zoo. If a balloon was to escape, there are hundreds of NYPD officers armed with AK 47s to shoot it down. Otherwise, the prevailing wind might move it towards the Trump Tower and an all-out assault would be necessary because the Trump Tower is now a protected zone. Machine guns, rockets and helicopters would shoot down the balloon so that the city could be declared safe.
One of the first balloons that we saw was the ‘Angry Bird’, measuring some 44 x 45 x 45 feet in all directions and it had 7 foot wide angry eyebrows. Little kids were fainting as it came down 34th Street and several men with ‘open carry’ permits had their hands on their holsters.
The next items on TV were 14 commercials: turning off pain with Icy Hot; getting the Xll Trainer 5X calorie burner; vitamin skin care; white diamonds featuring Liz Taylor; Farmer’s dum-dum insurance; and so on. After the commercials the cameras showed screaming hordes of people lined on both sides of the street, in apartment windows and on top of buildings who were delighted to watch the balloons and marching bands. The bands were enormous, with over 250 members playing drums, various other wind instruments of torture, and with pretty girls doing cartwheels and waving banners.
Float after float floated by: the National Hockey League, with a small ice ring and people with sticks swinging at a puck; a Turkey float sponsored by the Cranberry Cooperation, featuring an over-sized cranberry with someone inside of it; the Spirit of America, representing the Olympics but without drug testing; the build-a-bear float, with people working on putting bears together; the Exon float featuring bio fuels to “power the world”, and so on.
But between every float were more commercials: for example, HEB (“no store does more”—a beautiful vague line), Keurig coffee, with the scene of a son calling his mom as they tenderly drink coffee together; even an ad by socialsecutity.gov, which seems appropriate as Black Friday is tomorrow.
Yes, Black Friday and many stores will open today so that customers, bloated with their turkey dinner, can fight over all kinds of merchandise, reduced to 50% or more from the MSRP (the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, which no one pays if they have coupons or are smart).
This morning when the Black Friday advertisements came with our local paper I needed a wheelbarrow to haul them in.
Back to the parade. Many of the floats have ‘live’ singers on them. They most often sing lyrics from some film that we have never heard of. The lyrics are interesting if not educational: “Baby I get sick of you”, followed by “You’re the only thing singing in my head, my head, my head”. It almost sounds like some of the modern day church choruses. There is hip-hop, too, with gems like “There’s no feeling but feel it” and “I don’t play by the rules of the game”.
An ad comes on by Google, telling us of the best Korean restaurants and more about Black Friday, which “is going on now”, although it is only Thursday—perhaps Gray Thursday would be a good name for it.
I switch over to another channel during the commercials and the National Dog Show is on. I watch it a bit—the dogs are better groomed than anyone I saw on the floats. I think the ads must be over by now (it has been 10 minutes) and I return in time to catch one for the Big Apple, which appropriately features a big apple balloon and a man singing “Trust me, myself and I”, accompanied by 50 men and 20 women from the NYPD.
There are also 650 Dance Stars representing dance studios across America. Some of the stars are very large and puff as they contort their extremities to the beat of the band.
Kilgore, Texas also features a Dance Drill Team and they look very sharp in their Texas uniforms and hats. They whiz by in a hurry so that the Interstate float can feature I-35, I-79, I-45, etc., and The Blue Ridge Parkway. The singer belts out “Baby let’s rock where they ain’t no rain” in honor, perhaps of the drought now affecting the southeast of the US.
The Sinclair Dyno, measuring 36 feet by 72 feet is supposed to exemplify an Aposatarus from 1933, the year I was born. It is an impressive monster balloon, but is superseded by Mt. Rushmore, bearing 4 president images, all filled with helium. There is a singer on this float too and he “feels like windows rolled down” and assures us that “I never thought I’d feel like this”. I have been too long looking at balloons representing greater America and am happy to see that the next ad is by Coke so that I can “taste the feeling” that the singer has told me about.
It is about time for a football game, but the Macy Parade will go on for another hour or so. I feel bad that I will miss more of the parade, and “I never thought I’d feel like this”.