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May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is the best weekend of the year. For one thing it’s got parades. My daughter marched in our little town parade yesterday, which featured an appearance by Connecticut’s own Lieutenant Governor, ____ _____. I’m leaving the space blank because I have no idea what his name is, but he seemed pleasant enough in a bland politician kind of way. He wore one of those sports coats that only men of a certain age and Century 21 real estate agents can get away with. I was surprised to see that the Lt. Governor has two security guys that travel with him, both of whom had earpieces. Who were they listening to on the earpieces? There were only two of them and they were right next to each other. Can’t they just communicate directly to each other without an electronic intermediary? I really don’t think there were extra, hidden security guys, and I doubt there were any snipers in the bushes or anything like that. My guess? They just feel cool wearing the earpieces. Or they have second jobs at the Gap.

I felt kind of bad for all the assembled politicos in attendance, who have to put their hands over their hearts every time the national anthem is played, and bow their heads at every convocation, benediction, and religious utterance of any kind. They must say “amen” every time somebody else says “amen.” Our Congressman Jim Hines looked he had to sneeze during the ecumenical Memorial Day prayer. His face got all contorted and screwy, and I wondered if his allergies were bothering him like mine were bothering me. I know I would not have thought less of his patriotism if he had sneezed during the prayer, let alone let out several loud farts as I did. I definitely honor our fallen soldiers, but what’s a fellow going to do when he has to cut one? 

Before the parade, we all assembled at the elementary school, which gave me an opportunity to observe the Boy Scouts at close range. Boy Scouts creep me out. Last winter, my son was interested in joining so we went to a Cub Scouts orientation meeting to get a feel for the organization. I was not expecting the overwhelming feelings of creepiness that overcame me during the meeting. First of all, any group which features so many middle-aged guys in quasi-military uniforms is inherently weird. The whole thing struck me as a paramilitary Christian organization whose main purpose seemed to be to tell each other what to do and sell Christmas wreaths. As a Jew, any youth organization in which people earn badges and wear matching uniforms makes me nervous.

The Daisies, which my daughter belongs to, is different. For one thing, instead of uniforms they wear smocks. Smock-based organizations are fine with me because they make me think of finger painting, which I like. Also, Daisies are a feeder organization for the Girl Scouts, which seems more pleasant than Boy Scouts if only because they sell cookies and because I’ve never met anybody older than ten who is still a Girl Scout.

Also marching on this day honoring our fallen dead were the local Little League teams. My wife correctly noted that T-Ball doesn’t necessarily have much to do with the Battle of Bull Run, but it’s a small town and it seemed silly to quibble about inclusion. These are exactly the sorts of arguments that caused so much controversy when gay Irish people wanted to march in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. My feeling with the gays and with the Little Leaguers is that everybody should be welcome. Gay Little Leaguers might have been pushing it, however. Also inappropriately marching was the Boys and Girls Club and the local karate school.

Suspiciously absent, however, was the high school marching band. What is the purpose of a marching band if not to march? Marching opportunities come far and few between in small towns, so it seemed somewhat strange that they were not there. Perhaps these high schoolers hate America, I do not know, but a little spirited John Phillip Sousa would definitely have been welcome.

After the parade, as I said, there was a short service honoring the dead, followed by hot dogs and ice cream for everybody, provided you had money, which we did because I’m on TV.

Memorial Day is one of the few good holidays whose meaning has not become totally obscured over time. Despite the car sales and barbecues, I believe that people still take a few moments on Memorial Day to think about our great soldiers, and the sacrifices they’ve made over the centuries. I know I do. Especially now that we’ve got so many people in harm’s way, Memorial Day is a perfect opportunity to offer a “thank you” for their service. My brother-in-law is currently serving in Iraq, so although I have never before used the phrase “I’d like to give a shout-out,” I’d like to give a shout-out to him on this Memorial Day. We are a better country because of our military. We are also a better country because of the topless shows in Vegas, but that is a subject for a different post.

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Jaime

For the record, I know a seventeen-year-old and two sixteen-year-olds who are still active Girl Scouts.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, they do not sell cookies.

TJ

I know it was there for comedic effect, but the reason the marching band wasn't there (as somebody who spent High School in marching band...), is because it's summer vacation.
The band's best members all just graduated and don't give a shit anymore.
Half of the non-Seniors are stuck on a road trip to see grandma one last time before she kicks the bucket.
The instructor is probably off getting plastered for the next month, until it's time to come back and plan the band's competition show for the Fall.
Generally, the same thing goes for Christmas parades, when everybody's on vacation again. It's hard as fuck to get 100+ High School kids to vote on giving up half their winter break so they can practice in the cold and freeze their lips to mouthpieces.
Marching band isn't exactly a paying job. In fact, it prevented me from getting a good job in High School, because the hiring managers all knew that band kids prioritized making it to practice than showing up for a part-time shift at Burger King.

sylvia

The Girl Scouts also win because, unlike the Boy Scouts, they have a non-discrimination policy regarding sexual orientation.

Katrina

haha band nerd. jk. I was in band- we had to attend every single, stupid parade, regardless the season. I'm from small-town Texas, though. Any and every occasion was prime opportunity for parade-age. We also had the largest downtown square in all of America (i know- huge claim to fame). It actually took several hours to make it around the damn thing. Imagine jingle bells for 2 hours- it was tough. I'm no longer overly jubilant about parades- macy's can suck it.

Nicole

I completely identify with your boy scout related nervousness.

steph

I'm not sure where you're from TJ, but I can guess it's not from the northeast if you think people are all ready on summer vacation. Up here, school doesn't end until the middle of June if there haven't been too many snow days.

Andrea

I was a Girl Scout until I graduated from high school. We sold cookies until the bitter end and used our cookie money to go on a Caribbean cruise. Boy Scouts can suck it! (Except they can't cause that's not allowed.)

Nickel Jean (Daisy Girl Scout Leader)

Wooo-hooo! Daisies rule!

Kelly

Do you live in Stars Hollow?

me again

Smock-based organizations. That makes me laugh.

Reen

This post made me giggle like a dork, thanks to my funniest friend.

Your smock vs uniform argument will soon be put to the test, you realize. Daisies move on to Brownies, Brownies on to Girl Scouts...both are uniform based organizations. Thank goodness for the beauty pageant sashes which balance out the professional looking uniforms. We don't want our girls looking manly! Thank the good Lord that at least those Christian organizations thought it might be cute to don those cute little matching yarmulkes! Shalom indeed!

Also, I'm glad you are not Vulcan.

Patrick

I did'nt know that about your Brother-in-law, but to be fair, I don't know much about your family, having never met them. Why must I be the love that dare not speak its name? Also, its very cool of you to give that shout out, and to, spiced with humor, give a real display of love for the troops, present as well as past. Thumbs up. Can't wait for the new show with Misters Michael and Michael.

The Naked Redhead

I always loved the old Little House on the Prairie books where Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about a parade/celebration where--if you had money--you could get a dipper full of lemonade out of a giant barrell. Bring back the community dipper, I say! THAT'S Patriotism.

Also, a shout-out to my brother, too, who just joined the Army.

Chelsea

my favorite line:

"After the parade, as I said, there was a short service honoring the dead, followed by hot dogs and ice cream for everybody, provided you had money, which we did because I’m on TV."

funny!

Anne

I am a Girl Scout and I am still in high school. There are plenty of us older girl scouts out there!

I agree with you on what you said about boy scouts. They are indeed creepy. I remember this time I was at an encampment with my troop, and the boy scout camp is situated up on a hillside above the girl scout camp. We had a campfire, and discovered boys were hanging from the trees spying on us. It makes me wonder what they were doing besides watching us...

Felicia

I was in marching band in HS, and I would've killed to have a nice, temperate parade to march in. We always seemed to be freezing our butts off in the polyester uniforms and white gloves with the fingertips cut out so you could still cover the holes of your clarinet. Your HS is a full of wimps, surely. Send them to Illinois for a year and see how they do.

ieatbuttons

haha I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks boy scouts is one creepy organization

loling at the smocks=finger painting thing

 Zane

Having just spent the weekend with all the boobs in Vegas and coming home to emails from Girl scout troop leaders ready to plan their badge ceremonies for our Brownies, what a fun blog to read. I am looking forward to the new show and am enjoying all the blog updates on the behind the scenes goings-on. Thanks for always making me smile.

Denny Crane

HEY! M.I.B.

I saw you this morning on my way to school outside the shakespeare company on the upper east side.

You were listening to your headphones and seemed completely oblivious to your surroundings, so I didn't want to startle you or be that annoying person that says "Hey! You're Michael Ian Black! From Wondershowzen and McSweeneys!".

But I did want to let you know that I saw you, so I figured I'd post on your site saying so.

Martha Hagen-Black

Liked this one. Very funny. Love, M

Camille

Congrats on your Entertainment Weekly summer preview mention! Pic and everything!

Mikey

Boy Scouts troop leaders are guys who don't have the guts to stick with the Seminary, so they take the easy route to creepy touching.

A

oh hello there
so due to the fact that i live in a small Connecticut town myself (Ridgefield), which i probably shouldnt have shared over the internet, but that is besides the point (do pedophiles journey to your blog? I THINK NOT), i thought i might want to share a petite portion of my own perspective. anyway, i happen to know many girls who are in their teens in girl scouts, its great for college, which is what most high schoolers in Ridgefield are concerned with. also, boy scouts. so creepy. ive never met a boy scout who wasnt a little off. what do they do at their camp-outs anyway? one of lifes many mysteries i suppose. i know in ridgefield, our towns high school band played. just a tad bit embarrassing for everyone involved [SO TJ! just wanted to correct you, its not because of summer vacation, most likely its because it is such a small town that not enough people give a s..t to participate in a band]. finally, i am a habitual reader of this blog but i havent caught up on it in a long time so thats why this post is so randomly timed (working my way up). okay then, bye! i dislike exclamation marks (i find its such faked enthusiasm)..but i used one anyway. meh.

SkinFaceMcGee

You have quite the creative imagination. I don't know how you managed to spin watching the firetrucks go by from your tin shack under I-95 in Bridgeport into this heartwarming tale of small town family togetherness, but you get an A+ brother. Ps - your IQ has got to be at least in the 140s. Thank you for not wasting it on boring stuff like chemistry. You ah wicked awesome. Not being sarcastic. dot com.

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