Consider Thanksgiving. I remember the old days: hosting the T'giving gathering for 20 years or so and dealing with the insane logistics of a massive family party. How many turkeys? What do you mean, the stove isn't working? Sam's new girlfriend is allergic to turkey? If she even smells it she'll go into anaphylactic shock? We only have 17 plates?
It was a lot of fun. Our extended family all got on extremely well, and after a few libations (or, what County Commissioner Jim Bensberg refers to as "adult beverages"), no one cared whether the food was overcooked, half-cooked, or cold -- we managed to have a good time.
On to Christmas, and the memories are just as good. The too-tall, terminally scraggy trees that we'd drag home and somehow erect without structural damage or major injury. The kids, from generation to generation, spanning nearly a century of family memory, always finding where the adults had hidden the presents, opening 'em, resealing 'em, and visibly, mysteriously (to the adults) being delighted or disappointed. Eating too much, going for long walks en masse on quiet Christmas days.
And then New Year's. Party time! Back in the '80s, the county's Medical Auxiliary hosted a fund-raiser at The Broadmoor, featuring Flash Cadillac. The baby boomers still had good knees, and a lot of 'em still could dance up a storm -- and their kids were too young to go to the party and laugh at their parents. We dressed up and rocked the night away to Flash, which, with all their original members, arguably was the greatest party band of the last quarter of the 20th century.
But, remember, all these holidays have a dark side. And we've all been there, haven't we? Suppose you cordially despise most of your family members, and avoid 'em like the plague most of the year. Thanksgiving must be torture, especially if you have to host, be nice, buy everything and clean up. Or suppose you're the one they all despise, friendless, alone and eatin' tuna fish out of the can. Not so great.
And Christmas? We've all got a bit of the Grinch, don't we? The bizarre overconsumption, the omnipresent religiosity, the carols, the malls, the maxed-out credit cards. Shouldn't we just blow it all off and tell friends and family that we're going on a Buddhist retreat for an indefinite period?
And New Year's? When everyone you know is going out to cool parties with cool people, and you're invited nowhere, broke and stuck at home without cable?
What can we do to drain this vast sea of holiday misery? Simple: We need some new holidays. Not to replace the Big Three, but to complement them.
Let's start with (in Colorado Springs) "Republican Work Day." It's simple: Members of the majority political party have to work a day without pay, while everyone else gets a paid day off. Whether you're a Democrat in the Springs or a Republican in Boulder, you get to rejoice in your powerlessness and make fun of the power people for one day.
Moving right on, we go to "Delete Day." Your phone company, your Internet service provider, the post office and every level of government would provide you with lists of everyone with whom you had contact in the last year. You'd choose whom to delete, and they'd be duly notified. All the jerks who make everyone's lives miserable would receive thousands of such notices. Imagine how many Dick Cheney would get!
And finally, "Obnoxious Phrase Day." Every American would be obliged to repeat the same obnoxious clich at least 50 times in 24 hours. What a way to unite the country -- if everyone from the snobbiest professor to the most drunken ne'er-do-well prefaces their remarks with, for example, "Duuuude!", how can any of us feel superior to anyone else?
We'd all sound like morons, and in a country of morons, even the president would sound like a moron ... so true, dude, so true.
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