Grand Illusions

Vulcan Krewe 1My daughter Violet and I join our neighbors for Grand Old Day in St. Paul. The kick-off parade pipes Lynchian perversity inside a crust of small town prosaicism:

Following the color guard and a motorcade of beauty queens waving their wrists down Grand Avenue, the masked Vulcan Krewe, the Imperial Order of Fire and Brimstone–including Grand Duke Fertilious, “the Minister of Propaganda, the Propagator of Progeny, the Krewe member with the most offspring”–smears charcoal mustaches on kids and adults alike.

A Schwarzenegger impersonator, riffing on Jesus–“I’ll be back”–blasts Christian metal from the Godinator float. A clutch of belly dancers advertise the threepenny uprights of the Renaissance Faire later in the summer. The married middle-aged men of the St Paul Bouncing Team have been using Browder sheets to heave young women in short skirts thirty feet up in the air since 1886.

There is too the Northern Nawlins tradition of throwing beads and candy and garlic. And politicians. I seem to rattle Senator Amy Klobuchar–kissing hands and shaking babies–asking her whether she’s going to keep the NSA from spying on us all.

After corn dogs–and later a mango on a stick–our gang makes it to the Family Fun Zone, where the kids hit the coloring tables and the baby Red Kangaroo in diapers. The wee ones assure bummed parents that the rumors of a bar inside the Tiki bounce house are unfounded.

At the pony ride Violet gets into a metaphysical spat over whether invisible things can be seen and felt. Vi comes down on the side of empirical materialism in the negative. Her bestie Layla, 5, takes the position of ontological pluralism. But a few turns upon a circle of chained hyperlipemiac miniatures trotting in their own shit cures many a philosophical blues! Except for the parents, who are reminded of the workweek.

At bedtime story, Vi, who we should add in a stage whisper repeatedly observes fairies in the lilacs next door, kindly corrects my pronunciation of Coloborhynchus before gliding off to sleep.

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