What a Riot!

Friday, June 26, 2009

There have been many instances in my life when I have had cause to celebrate.

For example, the Normal Mormon Wife and I took a relaxing Caribbean cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary. After graduating from BYU I bought myself a 1923 Babe Ruth baseball card as a “Way to go champ!” to myself. My wife and I celebrated the births of each of our children by screaming, “What do you mean it’s too late for an epidural!!!!!!!” at several different anesthesiologists.

A number of other important events in my life have been commemorated by fancy dinners, thoughtful gifts, and parties featuring Mormons eating no-bake food storage cookies and sipping on Martinelli’s (with milk also provided for LDS party-goers who think Martinelli’s violates the whole “avoid the appearance of evil” philosophy. As for me, I’d hook up a Martinelli’s IV if I could.)

In short, I love to get jiggy.

Or at least to get as close to “jiggy” as a freakishly tall, mid-thirties, white, LDS father of three with a herniated disc in his lower back can legally, morally, and physically get. But I realized last week that I must be doing something wrong in my celebratory jiggy-ness, because at no point in my life have my celebrations included the following:

· Rioting
· Looting
· Burning random stuff
· Overturning cars
· Felony convictions

Now keep in mind that I grew up in West Valley City, Utah, were my high school had an AP class called “Burning Random Stuff” (formerly called “AP Chemistry”) and my guidance counselor encouraged me to attend Salt Lake Community College where I could major in “Looting.” And I am fairly certain my guidance counselor had multiple felony convictions for overturning cars. Yet despite my heritage, I never managed to incorporate senseless, irresponsible destruction into my celebrations.

And then my beloved Los Angeles Lakers won the 2009 NBA Finals.

My initial celebration was to exchange a few “Yeah boyyyyyyyyyy’s!” and “Yeeeee haws!” with the NMW, who is also a loyal Lakers fan. We just had to make sure that our euphoria was quiet enough so as to not wake up our three sleeping children. I thought my victory celebration was complete.

But then I saw on the news how the hard-core Lakers fans were celebrating and immediately realized that my jiggification was sorely lacking. I needed to step it up.

Even though the Lakers’ series-clenching victory happened in Orlando, many of my Lakers bretheren took to the streets of downtown L.A. and rioted, looted, burnt stuff, overturned cars, and ended up with felony convictions. And I wished I was there. Here is what I missed out on by being cooped up at home in North Carolina instead of celebrating in the streets of Los Angeles:

So, in honor of my proud Lakers heritage, I decided to stage a mini-celebratory riot by overturning cars, looting, and burning stuff:

Overturning Cars:
I tried to topple my neighbor’s minivan, but it was just too heavy and I didn’t have the combined muscle of a drunken mob to help me out. I had to settle on overturning my daughter’s Little Tykes Crazy Coupe instead. I hope she has insurance. That’ll teach that irresponsible little 12-month-old!

There are no nearby convenience stores, so the only place I could loot was my food storage pantry. I managed to get a bottle of ketchup, canned beans, and a box of Life cereal before the cops showed up. (NMW – if you’re reading this, please know that I took the cans from the front to ensure proper food storage rotation. I may be a reckless looter, but I’m not crazy or anything.)

Burning Stuff:
As a trained and registered Boy Scouts of America leader, I had to find the most complicated way of accomplishing this otherwise simple task. Instead of creating flame with a lighter or matches, I used a real man’s tool - steel and flint! I also followed BSA guidelines and made sure there were no combustible materials near the flame. I then burned the paper scrap remnants from our paper shredder. But hey, a senseless fire is still a senseless fire.

I can honestly say I have experienced more fulfillment and satisfaction over the Lakers’ title now that I have celebrated it the right way.

I also thought this theme of not-so-crazy LDS celebrations could be an entertaining discussion topic for the NMH community. So please pick an upcoming cause to celebrate in your life (graduation, wedding, anniversary, statute of limitations expiration, etc.) and answer the following questions:

What is the event?
1) What will you overturn?
2) What will you loot?
3) What will you burn?

The top three submissions will earn the writers the proud distinction of being named members of the Official NMH Riot Squad. I will send you a congratulatory email and everything. Winners will be announced in a few days, so the sooner you submit yours, the better.

Which poses another question – how will the Official NMH Riot Squad celebrate winning such a prestigious honor?

Uh-oh. I can smell the celebratory fires already.