It's May!

by Kevin Murphy

Well, to paraquote Lerner and Lowe, "It's May, it's May, a crusty bunch of May." That's right, isn't it? And if not, who the hell cares, it's a musical! We all know musicals exist on the food chain just one peg below satirical puppet shows.

Be that as it "May," this is the month ideally suited for one to go a-Maying. Why? Because it's May, you obtuse collection of brain stems! Every try to go a-Apriling? God only knows what would happen to your immortal soul! My Uncle Frank once tried to go a-Octobering and was arrested on the roof of his own house, naked as a streaker, pitching handfuls of acorns at angry Chicago police. It took four shots to bring him down. So for practicality and safety, please restrict yourself to a-Maying.

How does one a-May? In his History of Medieval Europe, noted historian Norman F. Cantor describes a-Maying as "...dressing in... gauzy poet shirts, jamming hyacinths into your... mid-sixties Anthony Hopkins hairdo and... barreling through the forest preserves, decimating perennial beds, in general acting like the complete and utter ninnies you are." (attributed). I find this analysis rather harsh, as I know many sophisticated men and women who can do a passable job of a-Maying. Why, Norman Mailer has often been spotted during the month of May gallivanting around the Cloisters in Manhattan.

The secret to successful a-Maying is in the gallivant, period. The lollygag and the traipse are for rookies, theater-types and St. John's Wort-popping lame-o's from first-tier suburbs. Gallivanting is downtown. It's da kine. It's where the show begins. Some of your best gallivanters go on to lucrative contracts in the NFL and porn movies.

When gallivanting, keep your center of gravity low, your feet at shoulder width, and a lot of flex in the knee to avoid back injuries. Begin with a light gallivant, through a sylvan copse, lunging aggressively at woodland flowers--your columbine, your wild violet. The name of the game is flower gathering here, with speed and precision. In a while, you may work up to open field gallivanting as your thighs develop strength. If there is neither copse nor glen in your neighborhood, try gallivanting at the farmers market of a grocery store. Snatch sprays of parsley and bunches of green-top carrots as you power through defenders. If someone's in your way, knock 'em down. If you have yelled "It's May!" you're in the clear, liability-wise. But please don't yell "May Day!" or the FAA will be on your sorry ass in a New York minute.

So it's May! Now get out there and go a-Maying, and take no prisoners. Oh and, as always, remember to wear a helmet.

[Posted 5/98]

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