Let me tell you parents out there: You can raise your children in a loving household, showing them the difference between right and wrong, fucking up before their very eyes, and by golly, when they get to adulthood, they are going to do as you did, not as you said. In other words, they're going to muddle through, making all the same mistakes you did ... and you have to watch, just watch and hope that some of the sensible things you told them sank in.
Today I am dismayed to report that my daughter The Heir has risen in total rebellion of all I hold dear. I'm heartbroken. Heartbroken, I tell you!
Tomorrow is Philadelphia's annual Mummer's Parade, and as my six readers know, I'm a regular participant in this gala. I am in a Comic Brigade called the Two Street Stompers.
And boy, oh boy I am proud to be a Two Street Stomper!
Many Mummer's units are comprised of extended families and friends who have been marching together for years. It's sometimes hard to find a club to join.
In 2011 when I decided to become a part of the Mummer's Parade, I read in the newspaper about a new group called the Vaudvillains. The name was intriguing, and Mr. J actually knew someone in the group. So that was my first call -- to the Vaudvillains, who are mostly artists and writers. Actually I sent a text to Mr. J's friend, he asked his club, and he got back to me. The Vaudvillains were not accepting new members.
I'm sure there was nothing personal about it, but I still felt totally and utterly rejected by the Vaudvillains. This doubled my determination to find a club that would have me.
That's when I started making phone calls. That's when I found the Stompers. My first conversation with their captain was warm and welcoming, his philosophy being basically "the more, the merrier." If I could come up with the reasonable fee for a costume and beer, I was in.
The first year I strutted with the Stompers, we finished first. It's a competition, you see. We are in contention with numerous other brigades ... one of them being the Vaudvillains.
During this calendar year, my daughter The Heir moved away from home. She now lives in West Philly, down the block from the Fresh Prince. She's an artist, and she runs with the artistic set.
Bet you can see where this is going.
At least she had the nerve to tell me.
She is going to be a marshal for ... the Vaudvillains.
Oh! Disloyal and rebellious offspring! In vain did she protest that the Vaudvillains practice in a big studio chock-a-block with discarded art supplies that she could cart away for her own use! So what if one of her house mates is in the group? Shouldn't she remain steadfast for her own dear mama? And oh yes, she is apologetic, full of excuses like the high cost of art supplies and a chance to network with her own kind. Snap! I'm crushed. Crushed, I tell you! Crushed!
Now see, this is where you need to have two children -- an heir and a spare. Hearing of her sister's perfidy, my daughter The Spare promptly went out and bought posters. Last night she and her best friend spent the better part of the evening creating signs to cheer on the Two Street Stompers. That's Mama's little girl! Never mind that she lives one block from the parade route. She knows where loyalties lie. I'm sure she'll hiss and jeer at the Vaudvillains if she still happens to be watching when they glide past in all their artistically-created, socially conscious, message-laden costuming.
(I'll add here that we Two Street Stompers have a message with our routine as well. It's that men look funny in women's swim suits.)
(For the record, I'm the second gold girl from the left, front row.)