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Tonic for a Cynic

September 6, 2018
By Darren Fraser , Emmetsburg News

I considered titling this column "I Love a Parade." But, as a going concern, I don't.

I mention parade because last weekend was the Graettinger Labor Day Parade. As parades go, it was okay. Quite similar to the parade the town had for its 125th birthday. Lots of vehicles, plenty of candy launched at spectators.

I am a cynical man. Anyone who has read my editorials knows this. I am not a pessimist, though. There is a difference. It's not a minor difference, say, like the fine line that separates a psychopath from a sociopath. For me, cynicism is my guard against complacency. It is my foil to the status quo. I must remain cynical to question. The government. The truth. My fellow man. Erectile dysfunction ads. Etc.

Being a cynic has its downside. If you succumb too much to your inner cynic, you run the risk of becoming jaded. You post nasty comments to your friends' Facebook posts of their children (even if their children are the stuff of nightmares). No. A cynic needs a tonic for his cynicism. I found mine at the Labor Day Parade.

Please don't storm the newspaper office when I say what I found restorative in the parade had nothing to do with the turnout or the floats or the horses or the pretty girls. If you got a kick out of these things, God speed.

I derived my delight from watching the urchins scramble for candy. I don't have children my family and friends lobbied vigorously against me ever siring offspring. And truth told, I'm more in the W.C. Fields' camp when it comes to the subject of children. But when I put down my camera Monday and watched the little ones exalt at each new barrage of sugar launched their way, well, I confess to feeling damn chipper.

Kids can be truly diverting when they're not trying to be. Monday, I witnessed two siblings a boy and girl -- nearly come to blows over their candy trove. I am not up on my wrestling, but I believe the sister she was older and more determined tried to put her younger brother in a full Nelson hold. But the wily youngster eluded her grip. I don't attribute his escape to any deliberate countermeasure; he just dove at the opportune time for a Tootsie Roll.

What I find remarkable about kids is their resiliency. I noticed that with each passing parade vehicle, the kids prepared for the next candy scramble. It mattered not they had enough of a sugar haul to put their dentists' kids through college; they had to get more. It was the thrill of the hunt.

So thanks, you children with imminent dental decay. You brightened a cynic's day.



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