COLUMN: November 8, 2012

I AM sure you watched the freshly-elected President of the United States (Barack Obama) celebrating his victory yesterday morning and had the same thought as me . . .

Who supplies all that confetti?

I know very little about the logistics of post-Presidential election victory celebrations, but it is probably safe to assume that the confetti cannons, or whatever they use, were loaded in advance of the result.

After all, you can’t do confetti last-minute, especially at that time of night. America may be the land of opportunity, but I’d be surprised if there is much demand for all-night confetti joints. I have had very few late nights where I have thought: “I am tuckered out and ready for a proper snooze, but, oh no, where is my confetti?” And I suspect I am not unusual in that respect.

So we will say that the confetti cannons were primed, waiting for the good news. But what if Mitt Romney had won?

It is not like the Champions’ League Final, where there is definitely going to be a winner on the premises, and the poor groundsman who has to Hoover all that stuff up is well aware that it is going to happen and has mentally prepared himself for weeks of finding bits of gold paper despoiling his lovely pitch.

If Romney had won, those cannons would have gone unfired. Obama’s concession speech would have been a bitter-sweet moment for the Chicago venue’s caretaker and his staff. “I’ve got some good news, and I’ve got some bad news,” the caretaker would no doubt have said.

Consequently, I hope that the confetti was supplied on a use-or-return basis, given that 50% of such confetti must never be cast. I have never been to a post-Presidential election commiseration rally, but I can only imagine that the last thing one would want after four years of unsuccessful campaigning is a load of colourful paper being dumped on one’s head, no matter how bright and cheery it might look.

That said, I am not entirely sure I would enjoy it very much at a celebration rally either. Balloons are fine – I could take a balloon home – but bits of paper are just a nuisance. If anything, it would make me less pleased about a victory, and that is not just because I would be thinking about the poor caretaker.

The more I think about it, the more bizarre the idea of confetti becomes. On one’s wedding day, one wears a nice morning suit or dress, depending on one’s gender/preference, one gets one’s hair done. Perhaps a gauze veil is involved – who knows? One is looking the best one will ever look, on the happiest day of one’s life.

And then some massive divvy empties a load of confetti over one’s head, and expects not to get his face kicked in. It is basically aggressive littering.

I wonder how the casting of confetti became accepted as perfectly acceptable. And here I am, wondering . . .

MD: Go on, Figgis . . .
FIGGIS: We’re dead in the water, MD. Television – and, I suspect, 40 years from now a thing called the internet – has destroyed the market for long strips of information-carrying paper.
MD: But all our production is geared towards making such strips of paper, hence the name of our company. What will we do?
FIGGIS: It’s a marketing challenge, but this just might work. We encourage people to throw our ticker-tape at astronauts, politicians, etc.
MD: Why?
FIGGIS: I have no justification. I just think it’ll work.
MD: But strips might be unwieldy. We could snip them into smaller bits.
FIGGIS: The only way I can see that working is if we made the smaller bits brightly-coloured, to distinguish them from large dandruff flakes.
MD: Cool.

I wonder what is going to happen to the confetti left un-blammed at Mitt Romney’s rally. I hope he can take it back to the shop.

If not, perhaps he can sell it on to friends of all the gay couples he didn’t want to be able to marry.

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