So have you ever seen the movie PCU? It's an awesome movie. I love it because, while exaggerated, it's a pretty accurate portrayal of many a college experience. Watching it reminds me so much of my time at Ohio University that it makes me want to pick up a hacky sack, play a round of frisbee golf and listen to George Clinton.
Anyway. There's a great part where a guy (Jon Favreau) is about to go to a concert and his friend (Jeremy Piven) says, "You're wearing the shirt of the band you're going to see? Don't be that guy."
It's like, one of the best moments in movies.
Since this weekend is Krewe du Vieux – which pretty much kicks off several weeks of Carnival and parade awesomeness – I think it's time for a bit of a reminder of parade ettiquette, for veterans and noobs alike … or a Mardi Gras version of "Don't be that guy".
Don't be …
1. The guy/girl that's so drunk, your friends have to take care of your ass all day.
Remember, Carnival season is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself. It's the same for the days themselves. It's possible to be out all weekend, all day. Start slow. You don't want to start drinking at 10 a.m., only to not remember any of the parades or how you got home at night. Don't make your poor friends take care of you – they want to have fun too! Remember to hydrate and eat food. Drink, of course, have fun! But don't drink like it's the end of the world. There will be plenty of alcohol all season, it's not going to all of a sudden dry up.
2. The couple that fights.
Nothing is more awkward, or can derail a group that is otherwise having fun. It usually involves one member of the couple getting too wasted. Hey, I've been there. If your significant other is pissing you off, and ruining the moment … hand him off to his friends and go have fun on your own.
3. The person who can't hang.
There will be drinking. Definitely pace yourself. But there will also be walking. A LOT of walking. Wear comfortable shoes. If you can't handle walking long distances or standing for long periods of time, you're not going to have much fun at parades.
4. The tall guy with no self-awareness.
Hey, I get it, being tall is not your fault. But do you have to stand at the very front, blocking tiny children or the 5-foot woman trying to get a good look at all the pretty floats? Nope. You're tall.
5. The child catcher.
Kind of like the villain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang … only instead of kids, they catch stuff meant for kids. Why do you want that stuffed pink 50-cent unicorn so bad, that you're willing to knock down a toddler to get it, anyway? Weirdo.
6. The assholes.
This happens at the bigger parades: people with their kids are camped out all day either on the sidewalk side or the neutral ground side with their lawn chairs, and they've carved out a pretty good spot. Then comes the biggest parade of the night with the best throws, and all of a sudden a mass group of people derail their camp and all is lost. But we can all coexist! The people who were there all day, and the people who come later … just be respectful, and don't be a dick. Don't knock over their kids with your drunken antics.
7. The warden.
But on the other side of the coin … you can't just stake out a piece of public property and act like no one else is allowed to stand by you. If other people start hanging out in front of your carefully planned front-row spot, there's not really much you can do about it. Just pop open a beer and find your zen place. Go with the flow. These parades are meant to be fun, and you can't get too mad about it.
8. The flasher.
This is mainly for tourists and first-years … you don't have to flash for beads. I repeat … YOU DON'T HAVE TO FLASH FOR BEADS. All you have to do is raise your hand. It's very easy. It's like … you're waving at the people on the floats and they see you and throw stuff at you. It's that simple.
Except, if that person on the float has an evil glint in their eye and they're about to throw a whole bag of beads at your head, like he's the pitcher for the Atlanta Braves … seriously, duck. Those things can hurt.
9. The over-zealous collector.
My favorite parades are ones like Krewe du Vieux and The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus (I'll be in the latter this year … find me, I'll be an elf in party glasses) because they involve a lot of hand-made throws. People get very creative. But you're not going to be able to get everything, and trying to would be exhausting. Don't worry about it too much. If you see a cool costume or cool float, let them know. Last year, during Chewbacchus, if someone in the crowd seemed to be a fan of Tolkein and was like "HEY MIRKWOOD ELF" … I would go out of my way to give them something cool.
But like I've said before, don't be the douche knocking down kids and grannies over a few trinkets. Getting a bunch of cool stuff is fun, but just remember … you have to carry all of that on you for the rest of the night. Be selective.
10. The homebody.
Don't let my sarcastic self scare you. Just get out there and have fun. There are no rules, really. Just be repectful to your fellow parade-goers and have an amazing season. It's a great time to be in New Orleans … the rest of the country has to go through a cold and dreary February with not much to look forward to. We have Mardi Gras!
This city is so awesome.