Float Wrap

By BRUCE McCALL

This year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade featured a group of  Floats that introduced some startling new themes to the fun. Missed it? Here’s what you didn’t get to see:

      *Imagineers at the Federal Bureau of Prisons created a rolling  minimum-security facility with all the trimmings, where twenty  convicted Wall Street and other financial-sector felons were seen “doing  time” on a miniature golf course, tennis courts, and cell phones.

      *The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea made a rare U.S. appearance with its spectacular “Great Helmsman of the Galoshes Miracle” float, celebrating Dear Leader Kim Jong Il’s feat of manufacturing a million pairs of top-quality galoshes in all popular sizes  singlehandedly in one day  in his home basement workshop. The huge float, which consisted of a thousand  North Korean schoolchildren doing backflips and somersaults while waving fifty-foot scarves, could be converted in minutes to an amphibian armored vehicle capable of repelling any attack by renegade hooligan puppet legions of the strife-mongering capitalists.

     *Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s “Boredom Express” float was designed to allow overexcited Parade-watchers a respite. The hundred- foot-long float, moving at an agonizing two miles per hour, seemingly took forever to pass by, and its theme of Celebrating Thirty Years  of the International Conference on the Laws of the Sea, featuring a  topographical model of the bottom of Lake Erie, reportedly induced instant  narcolepsy among even the most wide-awake spectators.

     * The United States Postal Service’s first-ever Thanksgiving Day Parade float starred the famous Postal Gun Club, demonstrating their sharp-shooting skills by blasting holes from a distance of fifty feet through postage stamps and each other.

Competetion for a place in next year’s Parade is already underway in workshops throughout the nation. Early favorites: “Intelligent Design,” using animated figures to celebrate the day 450 years ago when God invented the moustache; “Grand Theft Otto,” new X-Box game fantasy sensation, based on the kidnapping of German Chancellor Bismarck; and a reenactment of the sure-to-be-divisive Midterm elections earlier in the month, with a mud-wrestling pit on wheels, in which paunchy actors wearing red-and -blue outfits grapple to the point of concession.

  Bruce McCall is a writer and artist whose work frequently appears in The New Yorker.