The Only Acceptable Reason To Watch The Macy's Parade
Nobody watches the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. No one normal, anyway. It's on too early, too Al Roker-y, and too full of minions. With tepid Broadway vignettes, a horrible-looking mechanical turkey, and the reminder that it's almost Christmas again and that time drains like sand through our fingertips, it offers little in the way of actual entertainment.
The parade's one redeeming quality is the balloons -- those bloated commercial giants that fill the skies. They are not mere eye candy, but designed to tickle our primordial fears, delve into evolutionary memory to a time when we fled from great ravenous beasts. That's not to say they are totally neutered. Many people have been injured by these gassy giants, as is detailed in a staggeringly long Wikipedia article devoted to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade "Incidents and Injuries." If this celebration were to truly embrace its dark side, it may be worth suffering Matt Lauer's smugness to tune in.
The Old-Timey Phallus-Nose Balloon
"Lookit the size of his schnoz!" the 20th-century men laugh. The engorged nose casts a shadow that stretches beyond the horizon. All the women in the crowd shift uncomfortably and make the soft, collective noise of hundreds of nose-bridges being pinched simultaneously. Some cover their children's eyes, shooting withering glares at their husbands.
"You know what they say about men with big noses!" the men in the crowd joke. Then everyone lapses into uncomfortable silence as the monstrous balloon violates a building.
A Dying Bart Balloon
"Coowwwaaabuuuuungaaa ..." Bart's voice distorts as gas leaks out of his massive wound. "Mommy, what happened to Bart?" a frightened child asks. His mother tries to shield him from being smothered by a rapidly deflating skateboard wheel.
I am great OZYMANDIAS.
"Dooon't haaaave aaaaah coooow ... maaaaaaaaan," Inflatabart wheezes. His eyeballs sag to the side as his mouth caves in, head rolling back at an 180-degree angle. A young girl looks out from the window of her 12th-story apartment. She kisses her Rosary and contemplates death.
The Elf On The Shelf Balloon
"William." The aging balloon-maker shakily downs another sip of brandy, hoping it will silence the voice. "Will. Make me huge," it whispers.
"I am in your mind, and I shan't leave."
The piercing gaze of the Elf on the Shelf cuts through the man's drunken stupor. "N-no. I won't. I won't do it," he protests. A tremor runs through his arm as he dabs a handkerchief over the sweat pooling in the furrows of his brow. "William. You shall. You shall do it, William."
"Thank you for your loyalty, William. Now you die."
The giant Elf on the Shelf balloon smirks, relishing in the dismayed cries of innocent people as it squats over Midtown and drops a humongous Christmas-deuce.
Ice Age's Scrat Balloon
The giant prehistoric squirrel is slowly pumped full of life-giving gas. A muffled "MMMGHROORN" emanates from its pre-formed mouth.
"I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM."
Finally, the great beast has swallowed its fill of helium. The anxious handlers are quick to trap the behemoth in a net.
"Acorn," it murmurs softly. "He's awake!" a handler exclaims, grinning nervously. The handler's smile falters. Scrat's eyes have opened wide. "ACORN," it bellows.
"It is time." The overseer puts a steadying hand on Balloon Wrangler #13's shoulder. "Are we sure we should ... what about the children? Shouldn't we --" The overseer sighs wispily, clipping the conversation short. "Forget it, kid. It's the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Release it."
"ACORN," it screeches. Newscasters faint. Balloon Wrangler #7 vomits. "ACOOOOORN." It barrels down 77th Street. Children cry. Women scream. Men poop their pants.
"ACORNS!" It starts scooping up bystanders, ripping off their heads, and cracking them open like pistachios. Al Roker chuckles. "And I thought my in-laws were nuts!" Piercing screams of ambulances drown out the grief-stricken cries.
Horton Hears A Who Balloon
"They said I was crazy," Horton said with a grin. "That I had a screw loose, with a hat made of tin." He broke through a window, and grabbed a small child. The scene was quite ghastly, phrasing it mild.
"WHAT'S THAT? 'STOP? OUCH? OH GOD?' SORRY, CAN'T HEAR YOU!"
"They said I was bonkers, bananas, deranged. Two crayons shy of a box, and loose at the hinge. But would someone so crazy, demented, and strange, would someone so batty get such sweet revenge?"
A Partially Deflated Kermit Balloon
Nothing survives the mad march of time.
"Jim Henson is dead," says Kermit, face wilting. His voice has become that of Werner Herzog. "An inevitability of organic life." The handlers in pea-soup-green onesies try to remain cheerful. "Death and decay, the only certainty. We parade towards oblivion, all lambs in an abattoir of time."
Al Roker keeps a smile plastered on his face, the corners of his mouth twitching as he fights back a single tear.
A Chin-Butt Garfield Balloon
Garfield's face looms into view. "Father," a young girl of seven asks. "Father, why is Garfield's chin buttocks?" The father frowns uncomfortably. "I don't know."
The butt-chin eclipses the sun, darkening the sky. Jim Davis tries to escape the grip of police officers. "HE WASN'T MEANT TO BE VIEWED FROM THIS ANGLE," he cries desperately. "HE'S A TWO-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTER, I -- MMPHH." A cloth moistened with chloroform quiets his protests.
The crowd is silent but for a lone cough, as Garfield's chin cleft flutters gently in the breeze.
Distant at first, but growing exponentially louder, is the sound of manic laughter. The SpongeBob zooms down the street, moving faster than a balloon should. The laughing intensifies, becoming more crazed, louder, shriller. Eardrums begin to tear. The laugh approaches 200 decibels. Hearing loss sets in, and many weep, grateful for the mercy.
The SpongeBob descends upon the crowd. Its massive mouth, frozen in a terrifying rictus, becomes close enough to touch. The SpongeBob's tongue lolls about wildly. Every car alarm within a mile radius goes off.
Barney The Friendly Dinosaur
"Hello, children!" Barney greets. His half-lidded eyes are full of sleepy optimism. "I love you, you love me, we're ... we're a happy ..." Barney trails off. The eyes of the crowd shine disconcertingly. He continues, uncertain, "We're a happy ... family?"
People start to chant gutturally, words dark and indistinct. Barney looks down at the masses, searching for a sympathetic look. He finds none.
"For the harvest. For the harvest," the chant begins to take form. "For the harvest. FOR THE HARVEST."
"I love you, you love -- AGHHH MY SKIN!"
The crowd flays Barney open on a rusty lamppost. "B-but, children ... children, why?" His feeble pleas are drowned out by the roar of the crowd. Like ants upon a desiccated earthworm, they swarm Barney's purple carcass. His singing becomes fainter and fainter, until it stops ...
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The Self-Destructing T-Rex
The dinosaur balloon looks at the limp, lifeless polyurethane body of Barney. "No," he says gently. "No, I will end this on my terms."
"I am a leaf on the wind."
He impales himself upon a traffic light. The frenzied yells of the onlookers go silent, save for the high-pitched "PHWEEEEE" of gas escaping. The crowd introspects. "It was us. It was us the whole time. We were the monster balloons."
Katie Goldin thinks we shouldn't pardon turkeys anymore, and that frankly, they're getting what's coming to them. She also Tweets stuff for Cracked.
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