Happy belated Columbus day! Anyone? Did everyone have a good one? Anyone? Anyone there? Is anyone there at all? I’ve been walking around the office this morning asking everyone I run into if they had a good Columbus Day. And all I get in response are variations of the standard grunt. No one seems to have a committed meaningful response. It’s almost, almost as if no one even celebrates it.
So apparently, as I see it, the story goes like this: some Italian dude sailed across some ocean, ran into some land, thinking it was some other land, sees a bunch of red-skinned people running out into the water to greet him and bring him gifts, whereupon he decides they would make good slaves, and sets about to slaughtering most of them, and therefore, some five hundred years later, our kids don’t have to go to school on that day. Have I got it about right?
Now I think you know where I stand on useless holidays. Halloween? Well, it’s not entirely useless. The kids at least get free candy. But seeing as how I have to purchase bags of candy to hand out to other people’s kids, I think we’re netting about even there. Has anyone thought of maybe just buying their own kids candy and saving the whole ridiculous endeavor? No money spent on costumes, no walking around a dark neighborhood in search of good – and safe – candy, no sifting through it later with the spouse, trying to find all the razor blades and packets of cocaine… I mean, seriously? Well, yeah, now that I say it, it makes about as much sense as someone asking “What’s the difference between a duck?”
And of course, Valentine’s Day is useless to everyone but Hallmark and the chocolate companies. St. Patrick’s Day? What’s he ever done for me? Besides get me drunk. Christmas – since it’s been commercialized – is pretty useless, except for the fact that I get to see my children’s faces light up when they get toys and dolls they don’t need. Thanksgiving is only really useful for getting the whole family together so we can watch football and eat too much. And this is family that most of us would rather not covene with in the first place, am i rite?
But Columbus Day? Seriously? We celebrate the massacre of a bunch of Indians and the hostile takeover of their God-given land by closing our post offices and schools. You know how much a pain in the ass that makes it for me to send back my Netflix DVDs? Sigh. It’s almost, almost as useless as Groundhog Day.
Seriously, could there be anything more ridiculous than that? We watch some imaginary groundhog pop his head out of the ground and determine the state of the weather for us. It’s up to this apparently well informed groundhog whether or not the season is going to last six extra weeks. Does this supposed groundhog have a Galaxy Tab with Weather Bug on it down in his little hole? And if so, why don’t we just look at it ourselves?
The thing I’m most pissed about is that all these stupid holidays shut down the schools. And when you have children in school, and a job that would like you to show up occasionally, this makes it difficult. What am I supposed to do with my children while I go to work? Well, thankfully, I’m able to work from home most of the time. But I know a lot of people don’t have that luxury. So what do they do with their kids? I guess in that case, it’s best to work for the government. Get a job with the post office. Kids are out of school? Oh, I don’t have to deliver mail today. What a deal!
I think that on these days, and namely I’m talking about Columbus Day, the children should be required to recite to the teacher the reason for the importance of that day. If they can’t tell the teacher the history – the actual history – of what happened on that day, and provide a good reason for the schools to be shut down, they should have to go. Make it a big study hall day or something. But I bet most of them think some nice Italian man came across the puddle and stepped onto new land, shaking hands with the Indians and offering them riches.
Whitney Houston said it best when talking about educating the children. “Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.” And letting them play hooky on a day that’s completely misrepresented in the history books they won’t be looking at that day is not only a terrible irony, but it’s a bad joke. Okay, maybe not quite as bad as the joke I made about Whitney Houston. But pretty bad.