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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crowds - Marching Bands and Rabies

I'm not "Beer Guy".

Sometimes I like "a" beer, but I've never been "that guy", you know, the cat who can burn through a twelvy in a night or two.

However.....just the other day. I was in the demo kitchen with Kim Ode, she had finished doing an Icelandic Open Face Sandwich presentation, and it was only minutes away from the daily State Fair parade, so we slid out of the building and went over to O'Gara's where I traded the last of my folding money for a couple of Harps.

The weather was picture perfect and Kim and I stood in silence for a moment.

When it's summer time, and the weather puts you in a light sweat, you don't really need to talk. sometimes it's just best to savor your adult beverage and look at the people that fate decides to put across your sight line.

Being the host, I didn't want to be rude, so I did a double take and checked out Kim. She didn't appear to be in a high maintenance mood, in fact she still kinda had that journalist scowl that sometimes gets stuck on her mug, I just decided to leave her alone, who knows? Maybe she was concocting her next story.

Then all of a sudden, like maybe the 47th guy with a presidential beard walked by me. It kind of freaked me out.

ZZ Top facial hair has never worked for me, but none the less, I'm usually on top of fashion forward trends, so I was pretty shocked to see that these observations were now becoming habitual.

A little over a year ago when Tydus and I were in Seattle I saw a million middle aged - to old guys bite this look, and for whatever reason, they always reminded me of homeless vampires.

BOOM - CHICKA - BOOM......BAH - BAH BAH - BAH............

The first marching band of the parade was making it's way down our street.

From a distance, I could see that their uniforms were green and white, and because of that color combination.....Kim Ode squinted her eyes......

"Those are my guys from Edina!" Kim bragged, and then she screamed out some guys name.

Kim Ode just isn't the kind a person who screams out peoples names, so I now knew that this guy was wicked cool, or maybe that Harp lager was kicking in.

So now the band sidles up across from us. Ronald McDonald was in a truck behind them, and when I asked Kim if she knew that the first Ronald McDonald from the 50's was gay, and it kinda became a marketing nightmare for our friends at the Golden Arches....my trombone playing friend never even registered my question.

Her attention was a million miles away, something had knocked her off her axis....

"Look at this, these kids aren't even playing their instruments" she said "They are just marching in place with the drummers cadence. This is a short parade....those kids should be playing every second they are on the avenue."

I have never played an instrument, so I just shut my mouth and took my friends word for it.

Then some other band came tromping by, but these guys weren't wearing those Sgt Peppers uniforms that bands typically wear. These guys wore earth tone shorts and T-shirts.

If that wasn't bad enough, the band didn't have matching shoes.

When I criticized this, Kim somewhat defended them by talking about budgets getting cut, but the father in me responded under my breath.....

"Yeah....I don't suppose they could shovel 2 drive ways or mow 3 lawns,"

Our beers are 1/2 way done now, and in a matter of fact tone Kim informs me that her college aged daughter just underwent her first series of rabies shots.

Huh?

Did I miss something?

It sounded like an episode of Little House on the Prairie, but Ode said that her kids college apartment had a bat in it, and instead of killing it with a tennis racket, she just covered it with a towel.

And on another night, she woke up and a bat was circling her futon.

Apparently, if you sleep with a bat....they can bite you, and often you won't even know.

The kid got the shot, and will continue getting the shots, but I was told that the 10 foot telephone pole sized needles have been replaced by a more conventional implement of healing.

Gulp....no beer left, so now it is time for me to clean up my work station.

"Mister.....can I have some samples?"

"I would like a sample, where are you putting them?"

"What time are the samples going to be done?"

These were just some of the requests I received while mopping up my demo kitchen, and each time when I explained we were not allowed to hand out samples.....

My words were met with rolling eyes, sarcastic glares and even implied accusations that I was cheap, and lying so these tortured souls wouldn't be able to receive their entitled food dowry.

The woman in orange called the Cheesecake presenter a narcissist / infomercial, but when the guy with the "John Waters" caterpillar mustache swam up to my fishbowl to tell me Hitlers views on controlling food......

It was at this point I knew........

The crowd had shifted.

A negative vibe had entered the Fair grounds.

Somebody had forgotten to close the cage.

If you've ever worked events, you totally get what I'm talking about.

But if you haven't let me take a quick second to explain how it works.

Most of the time Fairs, carnivals, circus's or even football games will start out on a high note. People will usually be affable and coexist with one another without giving it much thought, but the second a cold breeze blows through the forest....look out.

It's a lot like a domino chain, people will start to bit** on the midway, and within an hour you'll see blue haired seniors throwing daggers with their cold stares,all over machinery hill.

Mob mentality is seldom discussed,people don't even think to look for it. but when you are an observer like Klecko....it is really easy to see.

There is no middle ground with the masses, either they are excitable, or the next thing you know...the flood gates will open and The people in the AARP polo shirts will want a well intending soul crucified because the recipe for their cooking demo in posted online,instead of a a hard copy form.

They don't have "that internet."

Energy travels, it really does.

When crowds stay within an events boundaries, foul moods will spread like viruses.Peoples immunity systems won't fight against what they don't understand.

But I'm gonna issue you a challenge.

Talk to people you know who are vendors at different events. Ask them if Klecko is way off track.

But more importantly, your event experience is yours, don't be so weak minded that you will let a couple of buffoons wreck what was meant to be a fun experience for all.

With that said.....I've been having a blast, with most of you.





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