At the Doo Dah Parade, I Expanded My Horizons and Learned a New Word

Am I the only person out here who was ignorant of planking before today?  The Doo Dah Parade began 45 minutes late this afternoon, which meant many bored and restless parade-goers lining both sides of N. High St. in the Short North.  (Correction–Susie and I stationed ourselves at the tail end of the parade, and we were out on High St. awaiting it at the time it was stepping off from another point in the Short North.  07/05/2011)  There was a sign on the façade of the Short North Tavern proclaiming a 1 p.m. stepping-off time, but they were nowhere near ready to go.  Children kicked and chased beach balls back and forth across High St., and then Susie saw some of the alleged adults trying out planking.  This means lying down in the street face down, arms at your sides, long enough for one of your cohorts to snap a picture.  Said picture will most likely be on the Internet within hours.  Susie heard about it when one of her Facebook friends posted about it, and then ran pictures of her and her sister doing it.

So she tried it today, lying parallel to the center line on North High Street.

Susie demonstrates her new interest, planking.

Since the Doo Dah Parade “organizers” posted a schedule on their Website’s home page, I thought that the 1 p.m. starting time was pretty firm.  Susie and I hurried through lunch at Mac’s Café, since we arrived there at about 12:15.  We both ate well, and decided to skip dessert because we were worried about missing the start of the parade.

July 4 tardiness seems to be a time-honored tradition.  When I was 11, Dad and I went up to Lookout Point on Harmar Hill in Marietta to see the fireworks (which were shot from the Washington County Fairgrounds).  They were supposed to start at 10 p.m. sharp, but it was about 11:20 before the first rocket screamed into the air.  In the meantime, there were many restless, tired, bored, and hot kids being eaten alive by mosquitoes, and their parents’ patience was fraying by the second.  I remember hearing three girls entertaining themselves by pinching one another, chanting, “Pinch!  Pinch!  Pinchy-pinch!”  (That night, I wrote in my diary about “three giddy girls” who “were age nine, looked seven, and acted four.”  This from my mountain of years!)  Dad and I didn’t get home until past midnight, and my mother–in a rare moment of genuine righteous anger–was angry about the late start, and talked about writing a letter to the editor complaining about the progressive lateness of the fireworks display. 

In an earlier entry this week, I wrote about the 50th anniversary of the death of Ernest Hemingway (which was July 2).  While looking for something else, I found my tattered Lancer Paperback of Ernest Hemingway: The Life and Death of a Man, by Alfred Aronowitz and Pete Hamill.  It appeared in 1961, very shortly after Hemingway’s suicide, and I bought it because of the description on the back cover, which describes Papa’s life as one anyone would envy:

He lived his life as he chose.
He went wherever he wanted to go, he fished whenever he wanted to fish, he hunted whenever he wanted to hunt, he loved whenever he wanted to love.
He lived a life of truth: the only worthwhile endeavor for a man.
His life and writings touched and changed millions of others; the legacy of genius he left will never be forgotten.
He died as he chose…

 The Doo Dah Parade featured the usual suspects, especially the Marching Fidels–a retinue of Fidel Castro lookalikes, complete with beard, olive-drab army jackets, and cigars.  The Fishnet Mafia, sponsors of the monthly Rocky Horror Picture Show at Studio 35, were out in force, doing the Time Warp again (and again!) all the way down High St.  Some of the marching acts were beyond description or theme, such as this one:

The work day beckons at 8 a.m., but luckily I only have a half day.  I just “happened” to schedule an appointment for the afternoon after the return from a long weekend, and when 5 p.m. comes, I’ll have to overcome the hard-wired urge to head toward Cleveland Ave. and the Columbus State bookstore.  I won’t be working there until next Saturday morning, so Susie and I will be at poolside tomorrow evening.  (Christ, I sound like a character from The Stories of John Cheever!)  The weather looks like it will cooperate; the high is supposed to be 89 degrees and cloudless.  I may even go in the water myself!  (During the ’70s, I used to shudder when I watched the “Take the Nestea plunge!” commercials on TV.  They would still have to pay me a five-digit sum to act in one of those!)