A group of usually elderly men popping wheelies and otherwise carousing on motorcycles, dune buggies, a boat on a trailer, or otherwise. Universally recognized by their red Fez hats and slightly questionable bands, (an Oriental band...Oriental, really?) they dazzle the little ones with their buggies and make adults jealous of their frat-like fun at all ages.
2. The Kids who Forget they are at a Parade
If we could all be as oblivious as this child, we'd all have a great time. They are the ones staring at the clouds, pointing out the jets as they fly by, and in general having a good time because they are out somewhere doing something. They give not a care in the world to the long stream of vehicles, the kids shoving each other, or the adults screaming. They have their own little world and it is serenity.
3. The Overly-competitive Parents
Ugh, I know we've all seen these parents and perhaps have even BEEN these parents on occasion. They want to make sure their kids are front and center, people that sat back off the road to actually view the parade be damned! Who cares if the other ones were there an hour early to get good seats?! MY kids need CANDY! Push my kid practically in front of a tractor for that lone Tootsie Roll? You betcha! They sit practically on the road, so that every passing police officer has to tell them to get their kids and the stroller back (for their safety, mind you). It's amazing how many of these parents would normally be helicopter parents, ensuring that no one get germs on their 'precious', but have no qualms about their kids bobbing and weaving between traffic and shoving other kids down in the process, to grab that last mystery dum dum.
4. The Demon Spawn
The Overly-Competitive Parents' Kids, usually. These kids are one less (*ahem, excuse me, fewer) Dubble Bubble away from a total meltdown. They shove the 2 year old out of the way for their chance at delicious, sugary glory and stomp their feet when they get passed by. They are recognized by their literal and figurative snot-nose and the blood-curdling shriek that unfortunately, more than just dogs can hear. If you are near one of these children, please know that we're all thinking the same thing. "That's nothing a good swat on the ass couldn't cure, amirite?"
Ah yes, with all those irresponsible and rude people out there so willing to throw themselves or a loved one into harm's way, we also must have the tut-tutters. They sit back and tut-tut the other people's choices. They may also be known as the snide commenters, who tell That Annoying Guy that yells at every Float to 'shut the f*** up already' (under their breaths, of course). The tut-tutters understand that with every action comes the necessary equal and opposite reaction and they are the opposite, dang it! We got here early and just want to have a clear view of the parade! I can't believe that guy just let his kid eat 10 suckers! Can you believe that adult is partying so heartily? For shame. Tut-tutters sit back safely away from the street and are appalled when of course, the inevitable parent lets their child run around, edging dangerously closer to both them and the undercarriage of that classic car.
6. The Sweet Kid
We have all seen that kid. This is the one who is about 7 or older and understands that it's hard for little 2 and 4 year olds to get candy as fast as the others. They willingly give up a few pieces for the younger ones that never had a chance. They are also typically the ones who actually wave at the passing vehicles and make sure they aren't blocking other kids' and adults' views. If you are lucky enough to raise one of these children, you've done parenting right. The little girl in front of us did this for my friends' toddlers and was so sweet. She also got quite a haul. Good karma kid!
7. That Annoying Guy that yells at every Float
His friends and possibly the surrounding crowd laughed at him once and so he has to beat that dead horse...over and over and over again. "Hey, nice hat!" "Get a load of that creepy ass leprechaun!" "Beads! Beads!" "Throw me a koozie! Koozie! Kooooooziiiiiieeee!" This guy is flat-out the most annoying person you'll run into today or ever. He yells what he thinks is a funny comment at every single float and more than likely, is a misogynistic asshole that has to yell stuff at the roller derby chicks and other assorted women in the parade. You really just need to punch this guy in the throat, but instead you stand back and tut-tut his behavior. He just better not wake the baby!
8. The Passed out Child
*phew* The blissfully asleep child, acting like their parents slipped a little Irish whiskey into their formula/juicebox. They made it 20 minutes into the awful 2 hour parade and are now drooling open-mouthed with their eyes closed in a stroller, on a blanket, in a Bjorn, or as we saw earlier today, up against a hay bale in the back of a float. Please, Annoying Guy, hush your mouth!
9. The Passed out/Party Hearty Adult
This person slipped a 5th of Irish whiskey into their Starbucks/flask/Solo cup and is now drooling open-mouthed slumped up against a tree or possibly curbside. Conversely, they may also be jumping up and down and throwing the "Rock on!" hand sign to everyone as they cruise along on the back of their float, singing and gyrating along to "Pour some Sugar on Me" or "Blank Space".
As an aside, I have oft-wondered whether it's party hardy or party hearty. I always tipped toward the hearty, but wanted to find some analysis. On that note...
10. The Actual Irish
Not counting the floats full of clans: O'Malleys, Shanahans, Hanrahans, Kellys, Connells, you may not see any of these actual people on the sidelines. If you do, they're usually the quiet ones, nodding their heads and saying "Cool" every once in a while. They sometimes where the "Kiss me, I'm Irish" T-shirts, but they are probably more likely sporting red or blonde hair and pasty white skin, accompanied by a shamrock on their face or a small button on their shirt. These guys have done it all before, for years, and are used to people proclaiming their awesomeness. Yeah sure, it's nice to have the Saint that drove the snakes out of their homeland get honored by a whole country that's only partially filled with Irish persons, but they all know it's better to be able to claim that heritage, whether it comes with parades or not. Besides, the Irish know how to party more than any other culture, rivalled only by the Germans. They don't need one day, they have 365.
Happy St. Patrick's Day all you Irish and non-Irish!