Good morning. Just in case you forgot why your alarm didn’t go off and you slept until lunch, let me remind you that today is Memorial Day. Now here’s what the internet has to say about it:
“Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering and honoring people who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.”
Which sounds like something we ought to do every weekday and twice on Sundays and should be celebrated with visits to cemeteries, 21-gun salutes, the playing of “Taps” and thoughts of people who made the ultimate sacrifice.
But we also celebrate those heroes by holding mattress sales, special deals on automobiles and the opening of a live-action version of Aladdin starring Will Smith as a big, blue, really disturbing-looking genie.
Bottom line: if there’s a buck to be made out of patriotism, someone will try to cash in.
But at least there’s a good, solid reason for having Memorial Day; the same can’t be said for some of its lesser holiday companions.
This one was started to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, a day we consider so sacred that we slide it around to fit our schedule and make sure we get a three-day weekend out of the deal.
It’s become a day to honor all the men who served as president, so if that’s the case we ought to at least skip every other year or maybe go whole hog and celebrate once a decade because many of our presidents don’t deserve honoring, but then we’d miss out on that sweet three-day weekend so I’m guessing my proposal has about as much chance of surviving as a lobster in a hot tub.
This holiday was started so all the couples who have been married 20 or more years are forced to acknowledge their spouse’s existence by going to a nice restaurant and not talking to one another.
Bring your cell phone because you’ll want to check emails and the scores of NBA games while you wait for your entrees to arrive.
If you look around the restaurant and see couples who truly seem to love each other and enjoy staring into each other’s eyes, don’t feel bad; console yourself with the thought that those couples just don’t know each other that well yet.
St. Patrick’s Day
I could tell you the origins of this holiday, but let’s face it: we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day because it gives us an excuse to get shitfaced. The internet says traditional observances of this holiday include attending mass, but in my experience we’re much more likely to attend happy hour.
If you attend happy hour with friends from the office, it’s also a St. Patrick’s Day tradition to reveal that secret crush you have on a coworker and find out that Joe Biden isn’t the only one who has no clue what women actually like.
No (and I really can’t emphasize this enough) sniffing.
We celebrate this one to demonstrate our support for environmental protection on April 22nd and on April 23rd go back to drinking water out of plastic bottles and putting our groceries in plastic bags which hold up to the ravages of time almost as well as Cher who by this point is probably 51 percent plastic herself.
When whatever organism that will replace the human race finally arrives, they’ll find Cher enjoying some Fiji Water, sitting on top of a mountain of plastic bags from Target and the bags will look more wrinkled than Cher.
Administrative Professionals Day
This one started as Secretary’s Day and once that started to sound demeaning it was changed to Administrative Professionals Day which is celebrated by offering demeaning gifts to the people being celebrated:
“Thanks for all your hard work and covering up my incompetence for the past 20 years, here’s a balloon.”
According to the internet, people ask why we celebrate this holiday and the answer is simple; so we can pay lip service to all the crap we ask administrative assistants to do and then go back to treating them like shit the other 364 days of the year.
This one was started by a woman named Anna Jarvis and her idea was commandeered by people who saw a chance to commercialize it which Anna Jarvis hated so much she asked to have Mother’s Day rescinded.
Apparently the people who cashed in on her idea didn’t hold a grudge because when Anna died in a sanitarium, her medical bills were paid by people in the floral and greeting card industries.
This one is celebrated by giving dad shitty ties which he’ll never wear and then leaving him alone so he can get drunk in front of the TV watching whatever sport is televised that day, regretting his choices in life and passing out on the couch by dinner time.
In other words; just another Sunday.
Armed Forces Day
If you’re thinking we already have a Memorial Day, a Veterans Day, a Military Appreciation Day, a Pearl Harbor Day and do we really need an Armed Forces Day, I’m going to say those people deserve all the days we can give them.
As someone who isn’t speaking German because a bunch of guys in Normandy decided to run toward the machine guns shooting at them, I think people who wear a uniform and do tough shit so the rest of us don’t have to, cannot be celebrated enough.
I’m not big on swearing allegiance to symbols because then you’re just a few short steps away from wearing a J.C. Penny sheet and watching a cross burn through the eye holes you cut in a pillow case, but when I looked this one up I was fascinated by the fact that the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks adopted mandatory observance of Flag Day in 1911, which raises a serious question:
Is there a Selfish and Every Man for Himself Order of Elks and if so, who do I call about joining?
I don’t know what this one is about either, but it’s celebrated in Canada and the title adds to the impression that Canadians are generally nicer and more polite than we are, which, when you think about it, isn’t all that high a bar to clear.
It reminds me of the time I was watching the Toronto Blue Jays play in old Exhibition Stadium and someone acted like a jerk (can’t remember what the guy did, maybe fight a kid for a foul ball) and everyone in the stadium began pointing their finger at the guy and chanting “Out!” which came out sounding like “Ooot!” but was still effective, because after an entire ballpark of people expressed the opinion that the guy was an asshole, he got up and left.
On more than one occasion I’ve wondered about that guy and what he said when his wife asked why he was home early. “Turns out 38,000 people think I’m a dick, eh?”
It was the most polite and civilized fuck you I’d ever seen and because of it I admire Canadians to this day.
This is a great holiday because if you forget to celebrate it so will your grandparents.
Patriot’s Day and Peace Day
Patriot’s Day celebrates the Battles of Lexington and Concord and before the month of September is over we’ll also ignore Peace Day, a celebration of the absence of war and violence.
We don’t seem to be all that picky about what we choose to celebrate and I believe there’s a solid chance that someone will kick somebody else’s ass on Peace Day and not know that holiday even exists which doesn’t really matter because nobody stops being an asshole because somebody else tells them to.
So go ahead and give up on your kids now and save everybody a lot of arguing.
National Bosses Day
OK, let’s call bullshit on this one right now because we all know every day is National Bosses Day and anyone who celebrates it is a brown-nosing kiss ass who will probably keep his or her job long after the more honest employees are laid off.
Speaking truth to power sounds great in the abstract, but is actually a good way to get a call from the HR department letting you know when your last day of work will be.
United Nations Day
We haven’t decided how to celebrate this one yet because the UN is still in the process of having subcommittee meetings to draft a proposed outline of politically correct celebration activities to be ratified by two-thirds of whoever gives a shit about this holiday and have never been able to generate a quorum.
If the mood strikes you go ahead and celebrate it by entering a neighbor’s home without their permission and then stand around not doing anything.
Memory Foam would be appropriate
OK, there were a lot of other holidays I could have picked on, but I’m running out of steam and it’s time to make my preparations for celebrating Memorial Day.
I’m going to buy a mattress.