This Parade Brought to You By …

Today is Gasparilla, Tampa’s annual pirate-themed Mardi Gras-ish parade. As I write this, hundreds of thousands of drunken, rowdy people are crammed onto Bayshore Boulevard for beer, beads, and the occasional flash of boobs.

I enjoyed Gasparilla when I was younger. Today, I avoid it like the plague. The Complimentary Spouse and I celebrate Gasparilla by staying home with Lucy and Linus, who get agitated by all the noise and bark non-stop all day.

One year, I was the title sponsor of Gasparilla! Actually, the sponsor was the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel, but WFLA’s Gayle Guyardo said my last name on the air instead of “Seminole.” I saw the whole thing in real time on teevee and recorded a video:

I was just as confused as you by Guyardo’s slip-up. For many years, we worked for the same company: I was a newspaper reporter at the Tampa Tribune, which was owned by the same media group as WFLA. I used to do morning business reports and occasional packages for WFLA, so she certainly knew who I was.

However, I left the paper in 2008, and this happened in 2018. That means Guyardo accidentally blurted out my name even though we had had no contact whatsoever for 10 years. I guess I’m so charismatic that people never forget me.

Guyardo seemed a little bit tipsy on the air, so that my have played a factor in her slip. Quite a few people commented on her apparent inebriation, and I think she later said she was on cold medicine.

Was it alcohol? Medicine? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is that for a second or two, I was the sponsor of one of the biggest parades in the United States.