Destination: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Katie Couric Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer, and old family photo albums.
My goal yesterday was the same as everybody's. Wake up early, gather all my friends, head over to Central Park West, and snag a good spot to watch the 80th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before I realized that everyone I knew had either left town or was too hung over from Wednesday-night activities to join me. So much for tradition, huh?
I mean, everyone in New York comes out for the Macy's parade. I know this because they tell me so on TV every year. TV! That's it! If I couldn't participate in the New York City tradition on the street, then I would follow my own tradition and watch the parade the way it was meant to be seen — through the magic of the National Broadcasting Company.
Besides, if you want to watch the parade with real New Yorkers, who knows this city — and Macy's — better than Katie and Matt?
Hold on ... um, where is Katie?
I don't understand. I turn on the TV. The parade is there. Matt Lauer is there. Al Roker is there. Where the hell is Katie? This isn't right.
See, the thing about tradition is that you can count on it being the same year after year. That's what makes it a tradition. When I turn on the TV on Thanksgiving morning, I expect Katie Couric to introduce me to high school marching bands. I expect her to tell me how many people are holding down the Kermit balloon or which Disney Channel star I can see after the commercial break. I also expect her to do it in an adorably fuzzy hat. The Macy's Parade is a formula, but it's a formula that works. Observe.
Snoopy balloon? Check.
The WWI Flying Ace himself.
The cast of a current hit Broadway show? Check.
The cast of "The Wiz" eases on down.
The star of a current hit NBC television show? Check.
Gil "Buck Rogers" Gerard in the 20th Century.
A beloved New York icon? Check.
Yankee hero and Red Sox killer Bucky Dent.
A lip-syncing musical group of dubious popularity? Check.
Sha Na Na. Yes, that's right. Sha Na Na.
Spunky, yet authoritative morning talk show host? NO! It's like Katie dropped off the face of the Earth or something. Somebody better find her and bring her back before next year, or there's going to be trouble. The "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" lady seems very nice, but Katie is as much a part of this parade as Santa Claus himself. If I find out that she doesn't exist, either ... my parents are going to have a lot of explaining to do.
[Photos courtesy of the 1970s. Or yesterday. It doesn't really matter.]