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A rally cry for something, with pandas?

February 24, 2013
By KELLY VAN DE WALLE (vandkel@hotmail.com) , Times-Republican

Ever since the time of Adam, when he famously said, "You know, Eve, this is a great garden and we get to be naked 24/7 and all but we need to go somewhere where we can really RELAX, you know? All these plants play havoc with my allergies and I honestly don't know who maintains this place, which frankly creeps me out a little. I mean, I know I don't; gardening would dusty up my dangly bits. Let's go somewhere nice, like Bermuda."

I might be paraphrasing.

But ever since then, man has sought out vacations. Yet often when they're actually ON vacation, events conspire that make them wish they were back at home. Things like flight delays, hotel room headaches and, of course, being ambushed and forced to take part in rallies.

Recently I was in Washington D.C. because I'm incredibly important. During some off time when I wasn't training people to be more like me (that is, awesome) I decided to see all the culture my brain could handle. After getting my mind thoroughly blown by a couple museums, I was on my way to the Lincoln Memorial via the Washington Monument. I was on foot because I'm a half-bear, half-mountain-man. Also, I couldn't figure out public transportation.

From a distance I noticed a group of people gathered around an area beside the giant phallic obelisk. As I got closer, I noticed it was more than a casual group of tourists; it was a legit gathering with a speaker system, giant television screen, bleachers and a sweet podium someone was eventually going to rock at some point.

Not a particularly political person, I chose to go through the crowd anyway because I'm a rebel and because I didn't feel like going around, which would've been at LEAST a whole block (mountain men hate to be inconvenienced).

To that point I had never been in a rally of any significance other than my one-man march to make Sample Day every day at my local grocery store and petition to outlaw doing dishes at home if I was the one who cooked the meal (totally unfair and there needs to be some legislation enacted immediately. Write your congressperson).

As I drew nearer, I realized why aside from my laziness I was drawn to the gathering; a protest combines two of my favorite pastimes: shouting and poorly constructed signs. I waded in trying to figure out what the hullabaloo was about without actually engaging with these people. I deduced this was a rally for women's rights (there were lots of ladies there).

"I totally think you should have babies!" I shouted, politically, to the woman I was walking behind in an act of solidarity.

Before she could tell me how much she appreciated my support I was ambushed by a dreadlocked protestor. Can it be an ambush if it's out in the open in front of a crowd? I didn't have time to think about proper word selection.

"Here!" the hairy protestor greeted me, shoving a sign into my hands and ushering me deeper into a crowd.

"Am I being kidnapped?" I wondered. Suddenly my captor turned to me, realizing I wasn't wearing any kind of cause-related attire. He regarded me suspiciously, like I may have been an infiltrator. I think his name was Johnny, because that's what I kept calling him.

"How do you feel about fracking?" Johnny challenged, like this was a thing and not some word he just made up. There we were, sizing each other up like two adolescent caribou.

"Fracking," I repeated, buying time. "Right. I'm.forit?"

There was an awkward pause.

I peered down and noticed his T-shirt, which depicted the word "fracking" in the middle of a red circle with a giant "X" over it.

Most people aren't keenly able to decipher such cryptic symbols but I've read the Da Vinci Code twice so it came naturally to me.

So a couple beats after replying, "I'm.forit?" I quickly salvaged the situation and avoided being tarred and feathered by continuing, "is what an evil PRO-fracker would say. Obviously I'm against fracking in all of its forms! Boo fracking!"

"You're not wearing one of our shirts or buttons," Johnny noticed.

"That's because I left my house in such a fit of RAGE," I fumed. "I'm just so FED UP with FRACKING. NO MORE!" I kicked dirt a little for emphasis.

That seemed to cement his opinion because next he said, "Here! Take a picture with the panda!"

I turned around and came face-to-face with a person in a panda suit.

Tune in next week to see if this was real or a hallucination brought on by what doctors call an acute case of "Rally Fever."

---

Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at vandkel@hotmail.com or via whale song. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he'll take all the batteries out of your remotes.

 
 

 

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