Sunday, February 27, 2011

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

New Orleans Mardi Gras. Three revelers painted...Image via WikipediaYes, it is that time of year again. The time of the year where beads and moonpies are being chucked at people's screaming faces and I feel the sudden inexplicable urge to brave the massive crowds of children, parents, and freaks that only come out once a year, to catch my share of cups and beads and dodge any crazy people waving their arms and staggering from inebriation.

Mardis Gras always brings out the weird in us all. Last night I caught my first parade of the year and only got hit in the head once by a whiplash of beads. That's what I call a successful night of revelry.

Spring has come early this year on the Gulf Coast and I was happy to find that I wasn't freezing or getting hit with frozen moonpies. You don't know how bad it hurts until it's happened to you. And it always seems to happen to me.

It was strange, but as I watched the floats filled with middle-aged men in masks as they slung handfuls of cheap plastic beads at the masses of crazed faces and flailing limbs along each side of the street, I had a sort of happy feeling. Normally, I'm too busy defending my position along the barricade and screaming "Throw me something, mister!" or "Is that the best you can do?! My granny can throw farther than you!" But this year I settled for standing in the back and observing the insanity of Mardi Gras madness.

Since Mardis Gras isn't something that the majority of the world gets to experience, I wondered if other people understand the point behind Mardi Gras parades...in any case, I think it has to do with Lent. Since I'm not Catholic, I don't participate in Lent, and even if I did, I don't think I could give anything up. I'm far too happy with my vices.

In my region, Mardis Gras is more of a social event than anything else. We get out of school on Fat Tuesday, since the holiday is fairly well-recognized and celebrated. And let me tell you, it can get pretty crazy down here during Mardis Gras season. People come from all over to see the parades and to participate in the festivities, parties, and balls.

Traditionally, my family has always been very conservative about attending parades. We don't get swept up in the revelry that seems to wipe all rational thought from the minds of some of those afflicted by the good times rolling down the streets. But we appreciate the holiday, all the same. Someday I want to write about Mardis Gras, and I might even include it in one of my books...who knows. The chaos of a parade would make a great scene at least.   

Until next time...let the good times roll!



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