01 November 2011

Five Suggestions for New Holidays

Happy Samhain, everyone-- the time of year when we reflect upon, um... the equinox. And saints deliver candy to children with good costumes, or something.

Yes, we have plenty of holidays already on the books. But, really, only about a half dozen are "must-do" events. Holiday-making is like sales; you just have to take a lot of shots at it and see what pans out. There's not a hair's difference between the significance of, say, Thanksgiving and May Day, but the former is a major holiday in the U.S. whilst the latter is nearly forgotten. Easter used to be much bigger than Christmas (and still is, in terms of religious significance). St. Patrick's Day is completely optional; St. Valentine's Day is not; and All Saints Day is a footnote.

You get the idea.

PC's Day
First Monday in April -- split between delivery of UNIVAC I (31 March) and Microsoft founding (4 April)

There's already a plethora of holidays to show appreciation to the important people in our lives. There's Mother's Day and Father's Day, of course, for those parents who (hopefully) have given each of us more than we can repay. There's also a Teacher's Day. And a Secretary's Day. And probably a Dentist's Day, Accountant's Day, Masseuse's Day, Parole Officer's Day, Quiet Neighbor's Day, and Reasonable Blackmailer's Day.

Yes, thank you, one and all.

But our computers are fast becoming more important than transient relationships. How about a day for appreciating them?

Your computer doesn't want flowers or a card (at least not a paper card-- check its performance diagnostics and it might appreciate another kind). But you can give it a few kind words of thanks, and maybe refrain from overclocking for a day. Or finally take a moment to work over its backside with some compressed air-- unless you're over 60, in which case you do that too much already, so in your case it's time to grit your teeth and download some updates.

But this isn't about maintenance per se. It's about showing some thanks and treating your computer like a person. And I'm totally serious. Your computer might not be a person, but it's fewer years than you think until you upgrade to a model that effectively is. So let's all develop some good habits before it's too late and we find ourselves combating AI-constructed murderous cyborgs or locked in a virtual reality world against our will.

Card Day
29 August -- birth of Joyce C. Hall, founder of Hallmark

The purpose of piddling miscellaneous holidays is divert productive energy from things that improve our quality of life to the manufacture of greeting cards. What could be simpler-- and more honest-- than Card Day?

There will be cards, of course. And without any real message to convey, the design objective will be to make cards that are as specific as possible to the exchanging individuals. E.g.,

Happy Card Day to my paternal grandmother!

Happy Card Day to my uncle by marriage through my mother's sister!

All my love, on our third Card Day as friends, our first Card Day as a sexually active couple, and our second Card Day as a romantic couple in any capacity.

The traditional Card Day d├ęcor will be silver and purple bunting. What's that? You don't have anything lying around that you can use? But that's the point of Card Day-- more opportunities for retailers to whore out promote the holiday with innovative wares. Also, you have to wear a beige hat and a teal scarf (both monogrammed with the current year), and if anyone catches you without them, you have to buy them dinner.

So, is Card Day a good idea? No. Absolutely not. But it's a bad idea that people will get behind. And speaking of bad ideas...

Dependence Day
3 February -- ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment authorizing a federal income tax

For Americans, here's a complementary holiday to Independence Day. We can celebrate a government that appropriates ten times the revenue and controls a hundred times as much of our personal lives as the most outlandish schemes ever devised by George III.

For the kids, we can tell the story of magical Uncle Sam, who comes in the middle of the night and leaves $1 million federal bonds with 100-year maturity for all the good children who promise to be registered voters. Red, white and blue decorations can be recycled from Independence Day/Flag Day/We're-Not-Celebrating-We're-Commemorating-September-11-Day. As for music, the patriotic stuff is already stretched a bit thin. Therefore, everyone will hum the theme music from the their local news shows. That will serve as the perfect lead-in to the final Dependence Day tradition: Discussing terrorist attacks, sensational murders, and politician sex scandals as if they were the most important issues of the day.

Procrastinator's Day
30 June -- see below

Officially, Procrastinator's Day is to be observed as soon as possible in the month of June.

Decorations are the biggest part of Procrastinator's Day. These should include a full bag of garbage on the porch, a load of laundry in the dryer that has been run for "another ten minutes to get the wrinkles back out" at least three times, and unopened mail scattered throughout the kitchen and/or living room.

The traditional meal is delivery or take-out, if you can afford it. Otherwise, make a sandwich. Or open a can of chili. You should not eat leftovers (unless it's leftover chili or take-out, of course), because that suggests something that was prepared ahead of time.

Cards and gifts are absolutely taboo. The only person to whom you wish a 'Happy Procrastinator's Day' will be your mother (because she'll be hurt if you ignore her). Do not call. It will be traditional to send a text message, partly because you're too embarrassed to be calling this late, but mostly because if you call, you'll have to spend time talking about stuff, and you can do that later.

25 December -- Isaac Newton's Birthday

Yes, I got this idea from Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.

And, yes, nerds like that show. At least I do.

If there is any human being worthy of his own holiday, it is Sir Isaac Newton. After all, if one accepts the tenets of Islam, then Muhammad transcribed the words of God verbatim; and if one accepts the tenets of Christianity, Jesus is an incarnation of God. Everything Newton accomplished was done with a human brain.

On TBBT, Leonard suggested the name Newtwonmas. I prefer "Newtonukkah", because it sounds like some kind of Christmas alternative, which is sort of the intent. When we convert the somewhat-exclusive "Merry Christmas" to the allegedly inclusive "Happy Holidays", thereby incorporating Hannukah, we expand the relevance from 2.1 billion people to 2.1 billion people. That's not a typo. The global population of Jews is less than the margin of error when counting Christians. The addition of Newtonukkah would allow the biggest holiday "season" to be relevant to everyone (save perhaps a few proud descendents of Leibniz).

Plus "Newtonukkah" sounds like bad-ass Transformer.

We can incorporate many of the secular Christmas traditions, including the exchanging of gifts and an insincere commitment to world peace. Decorations can be red and green, but with a bit more emphasis on apples and apple trees. Also, in addition to developing calculus and formulating the laws of gravity and motion, Newton was highly successful at busting counterfeiters. So it might be appropriate to replace the Yule Log with a burning effigy of the current Federal Reserve Board Chairman whilst the family sits nearby learning a new class of integrals.



Unknown said...

I love this post! I especially like PC Day (because they will become sentient one day :D)and Newtonukkah (I like the Big Bang Theory also).

Like you have already stated, there is a Mother's/ Father's/ Grandparents Day and every other relationship you can think of. But there isn't a "Family" Day. I suppose this wouldn't work for individuals without a family. Hmmh. . . I have to rethink that. :D

Unknown said...

Oh, we should have an Emoticon Day. :P

CA Heaven said...

Replacing Christmas by a Newton celebration would be nice, in a sense. Newton was a great scientist, but not a very nice person. Newton and Leibniz both discovered calculus, but Newton used his power and contacts to take all the honor himself, and to accuse Leibniz for plagiarism. Personally, I find Leibniz' notation the most useful >:)

Cold As Heaven

Jan Morrison said...

Some wonderful ideas! In Canada there has been a movement afoot for years and years to celebrate Chinook Day - a day of doing absolutely nothing useful - just a necessary break in March or February - I can't remember which. No one will go for it though. Too hard to make dough off of. What about International Harvester Day?
oh...I'm going back to bed - it's National Go Nowhere Do Nothing Day in Canada. I love it.