Yes dear blog reading audience, it is that time of year when I visit the The Riot clan and write a very long blog entry about the whole HILARIOUS experience.
So after many years of patiently waiting, the riot’s mom finally gave in to my pleas to go to Philadelphia. I told her my years of dealing with hordes of unruly teenagers would serve me well during our sojourn to Philadelphia. The Riot Mom looked at me with doubt but I stuck to my guns.
Let me introduce our cast of characters. There’s Riot Mom and her brood of four boys, Riot Teen, Riot 6, Riot 8 and Riot Baby. Riot Baby will be kind of a silent player in today’s fire side chat.
The six of us boarded the SEPTA train. The riot mom and I had a very long conversation about how SEPTA refuses to have apps or magnetic cards in their trains. They use PAPER TICKETS as their form of entry into the trains. I don’t even understand how this is possible in a modern big city and I’m not speaking here as a person who lives in a city with its own modern, up to date public transportation system. I live in a city with a weird kind of trolley system that is really a bus that uses relays from a century ago. But somehow Mr. Bulger’s Transportation Authority has magnetic cards. Anyway, after a long conversation, Riot Mom told me to drop it. And I did. FOR NOW.
So while Riot Mom and I had our extensive conversation about magnetic cards and ancient relay systems, the Riot Kids asked us questions about different things. Most of them revolved around why it was taking so long to get to wherever we were going.
We finally reached Philadelphia. It was at this point that I realized how interesting this whole thing was to at least some part of the Riot kids. We got off the train and we saw all sorts of people. We heard foreign languages. I live in a big city and Riot Mom grew up in a big city, but I knew then that this whole thing must be a real revelation to at least some of the riot kids.
We got to Independence Hall, just in time to find out that all the tickets for the inside of the hall were completely gone for the day. CLASSIC. But the park ranger (#altparkservice) had some good news. First, the riot kids could, after completing some booklets become junior rangers with badges and everything. Riot Baby had already begun his day of slumber and Riot Teen rolled his eyes at the whole thing, but Riot 8 and Riot 6 seemed somewhere enthusiastic, although not as enthusiastic as your fair blog author.
The other piece of good news is that we could go on an express tour of Independence Hall at 5pm. I thought Riot Mom wouldn’t want to stay that long, but she did and off we went.
After a spot of lunch, we started exploring. Our first stop was Congress Hall, next to Independence Hall. It was this really lovely historical place where discussions took place that lead to the creation of this great nation of ours. Like you know, no biggie.
Riot Mom, Riot 6 and teen Riot all sat next to me. We got to hear from a very colorful Park Ranger. He started asking American history questions. I guess I’m kind of a bit evil, but to rile up Riot Teen, I started yelling out the answers. First Treasury Secretary — Alexander Hamilton!!!!! Second President — John Adams!!!! And so on. Teen Riot pretended like he didn’t even know me and Riot Mom may or may not have reconsidered our 23 year friendship….
We also went to see a very intact copy of the Constitution. I had wanted to ask the park ranger next to the Constitution about the types of ink that had been used in the printing of the Constitution because I knew that they were metal based inks and that the age of the documents could be determined by looking at their composition. I kept the question to myself after the looks I got from Riot Mom and Riot Teen!!!!
Our next stop was the United States Mint. I knew this was in Philadelphia and I had always wanted to visit it and here was my chance. There were going to be tons of photos of money printing machines and coin dies!!!! I couldn’t wait.
When we got into the building, I was greeted by the horrible sight of Donald Trump’s picture on the wall, next to ex-Goldmanite Steven Mnuchin, he of the Instagramming design label hashtagging wife. So I took our my phone to snap a photo of this, because I wanted to document for future generations what it was like to live in a live action episode of the Simpsons, but the photo was not to be. A policeman ran over to me and yelled NO PHOTOGRAPHY IN HERE. ANYWHERE.
Riot Mom wondered if I was going to be all right not being able to photograph everything. The Mint itself was interesting. There was a lot of information about how coins were made and are made and how paper money is printed. All fascinating. FOR ME.
Near the end, I ducked into a movie theater to watch a little production about the history of the US monetary system. I turned to the baby and I said “let’s learn about the formation of a unified monetary system in the United States and the gold standard!!!!!” Baby Riot smiled. I knew I had found the best audience for all of this.
Riot Teen rolled his eyes at all of this. In the mean time, I got excited about a t-shirt they were selling with Honest Abe and Colonial George fist pumping. I’m wearing this t-shirt while I write this blog entry.
Where did we go next???? Obviously to the Mr. Softee truck. Next to the Mister Softee truck, serving enchanting, pop art like Soft Serve, there was a silver sandwich wagon. In front of the silver sandwich wagon, there was a guy covered in silver paint. I went right into photography mode and tried to get silver man and silver truck aligned to capture their silveriness. Silver Man got wind of this immediately and put his hand up and demanded money. OK. So I handed over a single and got some nice shots of this interesting fellow.
And then something really funny happened. We moved down the street so Riot 6 and Riot 8 could complete their booklets with a few answers from a very well informed adult. Suddenly, I see a group of men holding unicorn guns that blow bubbles, rainbows and a pool floaty that was also a unicorn. I immediately took a picture, at which point they asked me to take a picture, under a sign that said that the nation’s first gay protests had taken place at the spot we were standing at. After I took their photos, the gents were kind enough to give their unicorn guns to Riot 6 and Riot 8. Riot Mom wasn’t too thrilled about this because the bubble guns played this really annoying song.
Here we arrive at 5pm. Into Independence hall we went. After the eye rolling from Riot Mom and Riot Teen, I didn’t yell out any US history facts but I did ask a question. Riot Teen responded with his customary eye rolling.
Then the SEPTA whisked us away.
It was kind of great to see a big city through the eyes of those kids. As a city dweller, I get accustomed to all sorts of things, but being with people who got to see it for the first time was really great. Riot Mom told me that Riot 6 refused to leave for school the next day without his junior ranger badge. I felt mildly vindicated in my role as embarrassing adults. I mean the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Can I get an amen????
Photos. Yeah. There are some: