It happens every year -- the house-pissing. In addition to being a wonderful residential area lined with quiet cobblestone streets and historic red-brick buildings, Queen Village also has the misfortune of butting up against Pennsport. That's where the Mummers have their clubhouses and prepare for the annual New Year’s Day debacle. The Mummers are a local institution -- sort of a cross between a provincial circus and Mardi Gras, with string bands, colorful outfits, lots of makeup, full bladders, and a nasty, longstanding tradition of overt racism, misogyny, and homophobia.
During this year’s parade, which was broadcast on local television and picked up by national media outlets, one Mummers brigade centered its act around a disgusting and mindless attack on Caitlyn Jenner. Later that day a 28-year-old man was walking his dog when he was allegedly set upon "by a group of drunk Mummers who punched him in the face and called him 'f----t.'"
When the proper parade is over, the Mummers march back from Center City and head down Second St -- colloquially known as "Two St" -- and the house-pissing begins, abundant and sometimes en masse. On my way to a friend’s party this past New Year's Day, I saw a Mummer who had separated from his pack. He stopped to relieve himself on my neighbor’s house. I tried to appeal to his sense of reason, shouting something about how he shouldn't do that because someone lives there, and he wouldn't want someone pissing on his house (which I assume is just a soggy cardboard box behind the Acme on Passyunk Ave). And besides, not pissing on a house really ought to be a prerequisite -- perhaps even the prerequisite -- for living in anything remotely resembling a society. He was unmoved. He kept right on pissing, but he multitasked by cursing me out over his shoulder. At least he didn't turn around. That's what passes for decorum among Mummers, and I was grateful for it.