This afternoon I rode shotgun on a coffee run to Palisades Park. I’m waiting on Mel when a festively dressed gang of Korean seniors comes rolling down Broad Ave with an arsenal of hand-held aural assault weapons.
Simultaneously confused by the racket and amused by the uncanny ability of Koreans to work pom-poms and visors into any ensemble, I regret that I hesitated in drawing my iPhone. By the time I tapped the record button, the joyful noise had ceased. I tried to get them to start up again...to no avail:
Just after they passed the gas station, they inexplicably began banging away in front of the pharmacy. WTF?!?!
As it turns out, this band of merry-makers is not just “local color.” According to a Broad Ave business owner, this stunt is a monthly occurrence. The gang bangs these drums up and down the main drag of town in order to “drive demons” from the shops. What's more, they return to the scene (presumably in business casual) and demand donations for their deed.
While it's certainly the weirdest “protection” scheme I’ve ever heard of, it certainly deserves an “A” for originality. Aside from being a super-cute shakedown, I’d guess it’s also a damn effective one. Who can say “no” to either a demon-free establishment or a Korean with pom-poms on their head?