Parade flu

If you’ve ever been at a Ren Faire run by REC (Renaissance Entertainment Corporation), you know that they have a merchant’s parade twice a day.

Or maybe you don’t know that. Hardly anyone notices them. Most of the merchants who walk in the parade feel that they’re pointless. However, REC makes it a requirement that all their vendors march in a certain number of the parades during a season; otherwise the vendor is fined.

To make the parade a little more interesting for me and the patrons, I’ve developed a custom of waving at the patrons as I march in the parade, calling out "Smile and wave! Smile and wave everyone! A parade doth pass thee by! We must march, so thou must smile and wave!" I’ll occasionally point at a patron and order them, "Smile! Wave! ‘Tis not that complicated."

The patrons laugh, smile, and wave. My fellow merchants either hate me (because I’m yelling before they’ve had their first cup of coffee in the morning) or join in the game. In fact, most of my fellow merchants don’t know my name, or exactly what it is that I do; they just know me as "Smile and wave."

This past weekend, I continued in this custom despite the wind and the rain. I’ve been doing this for 11 seasons, but so far this week I’ve paid the price.

On Tuesday, my right shoulder was so sore that I couldn’t raise it above shoulder height. All the waving had activated my bursitis.

Wednesday and Thursday, my chest and throat have been sore. I picked up something while yelling in the cold, damp weather. I’ve had to call in sick.

I’ll be fine, and I hope to be smiling and waving this weekend at the Faire.

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