The end of civilization as we know it

Everybody around me was having fun, but I was not. Instead, I found the whole thing very depressing. Oh, I forgot to tell you what I’m talking about.

We went to see the crowd at the San Francisco Bay to Breakers race — a race that was started 96 years ago to commemorate the San Francisco Earthquake and that, until about 25 years ago, was a fairly normal affair. Since then, though, it’s become an occasion at which San Franciscans celebrate their joie de vivre, with many of them turning the event into a giant costume party.

What’s interesting about San Franciscans is that, when they get into costume, so many of them opt, not for charm or cleverness, but for perversion. Of course that doesn’t go for 100% of them. It probably applies to only about 10% 3% — but 10% 3% of 100,000 is still about 1,000 3,000 people parading the public streets celebrating their peculiar sexual fantasies.

That’s why, within seconds of entering Golden Gate Park, my children were confronted with the fascinating spectacle of an aged gentleman who had wrapped rings around himself, hugely inflating his scrotum, which he then proceeded to shake at the crowd. In a normal environment, he would have been arrested. Here, he was just part of the scenery.

This man wasn’t the only naked one. There were lots of naked people. Probably 90% of them had embarrassingly ugly bodies. Why is it always those with the most avoirdupois, the most pendulous breasts, the most bizarrely tufted body hair, the most mottled skin, and the smallest penises who feel this peculiar compulsion to parade around well-attended public spots in the altogether?

Was it any surprise then, that it was these exhibitionists, despite the vast array of porta-potties, who also felt the irresistible compulsion to pee in the bushes?

There was also a lot of drinking, lots and lots.

So, in the space of one very painful hour, we were confronted with public nudity, public urination, and public drunkenness — and the cops did nothing. (And please don’t ask me why we didn’t leave sooner than an hour. There were reasons.)

San Francisco has abandoned the law books and decreed that these behaviors are normal. And we’re not talking about confining these behaviors to the few block stretch of the Folsom Street Fair, an occasion widely known for public debauchery. This was an event that spanned the City for seven miles, from Bay to Ocean, and that ended up, not at a bar or brothel, but in Golden Gate Park.

I’m depressed. But I can tell you it was thrillingly wonderful to drive away from the City, to my clean suburban home in my 1950s morality suburban neighborhood. Whew!