When I was young and still single my family would insist that I bring “someone” to Thanksgiving dinner. (Now I just bring good wine and lots of it so I can drink all day since I have to spend it with family.) I think that was my family’s not-so-subtle way of trying to figure out my sexual orientation. In fact, I think that my family had a betting pool among them as to whether I was straight or gay and whether I’d ever marry. Anyway, in addition to Thanksgiving I thought that I would comment on some of the other holidays we celebrate during the year either with or without family and a few with some form of alcohol.
Since it is autumn let’s start with Columbus Day. In the late 1400’s Christopher Columbus (who eventually changed his name to just “Columbus” and then later to “the world explorer formerly known as Columbus”) approached the king and queen of Portugal to finance his exploration in search of a shorter trade route to the Far East. Apparently back in those days the Far East was – – well, kind of far away – – thus the name (why isn’t there a Far West)?
So, Columbus proposed sailing west instead of traveling the usual route around Africa. The only problem with his plan of course was that the Americas were in the way and he never reached the Far East by sailing west. So, every Columbus Day we celebrate the fact that an Italian explorer was once able to “con” some rich people into financing his half-assed venture without him ever accomplishing what he set-out to do? – – Now what kind of message does that send to our young people? Really.
For more on Christopher Columbus and the backlash regarding commemorating Columbus Day, see The Welcome Matt – Christopher Columbus, that Poor Bastard, which for some reason was published in July.
I find the summer holidays to be more confusing then Columbus Day. After all, on Memorial Day we remember war veterans who died in battle by sitting in traffic on our way to the beach, barbecuing and drinking beer. On July 4th we celebrate our country’s independence from the British by scaring little children and dogs with explosives while barbecuing and drinking beer. And on Labor Day we celebrate being employed by taking the day off to sit in traffic on our way to the beach, barbecuing and drinking beer.
In fact, with the exception of fireworks on July 4th, every summer weekend is a repeat of Memorial Day, July 4th or Labor Day. But because people in general need structure in their lives, or they’ll just spend all of their free-time sitting in traffic going to the beach, barbecuing, and drinking beer, the “U.S. Commission on Holidays, Vacation Planning and Gas Price Hikes” decided that these three summer holidays would help the average citizen gauge how much time they have left during the summer for sitting in traffic on the way to the beach, barbecuing, and drinking beer before autumn arrives.
In the Fall we celebrate one of my favorite childhood holidays – Halloween. Halloween is the holiday that teaches children that begging is OK as long as you beg for candy and that if someone doesn’t give you candy you’re justified in trashing their house with raw eggs, shaving cream, toilet paper and burning paper bags filled with dog crap left on their front porch (not that I ever did this when I was a kid – – I just heard about other kids doing this sort of thing – – but remember it works best if you light the bag of dog crap on fire on the front porch, ring the front door bell, run around to the back of the house and then knock on the back door).
Of course, the night before Halloween is even better than Halloween itself. Depending on where you are from the night before Halloween is called either Mischief Night (a politically correct way of saying “vandalizing someone else’s property” night), Cabbage Night (not to be confused with iceberg lettuce night), Goosy Night (wow – – this name strikes fear in the heart of all who hear it), Devil’s Night (definitely much more intimidating than “Goosy” Night), or my favorite, “the one night every year Detroit burns to the ground”. So, the night before Halloween is the holiday during which all laws regarding vandalism and not damaging property are suspended and kids can destroy anything they want without fear of punishment. Only kidding – – adults can also get away with pulling this sort of crap on the night of Oct. 30.
As I mentioned earlier, Thanksgiving is the one holiday that back when I was single I was encouraged to bring “someone” to dinner. When I was still single I really wanted to bring a crack-whore to Thanksgiving dinner one year so my family would stop encouraging me to bring someone to Thanksgiving. One year I brought an ex-girlfriend. She was half Jewish and a vegetarian. My family is Italian. Thanksgiving dinner was great that year. Nothing confuses an Italian family more than a Jewish vegetarian.
Thanksgiving is when we celebrate the abundance of all the good things in our lives by proceeding to stuff ourselves silly with every available piece of food we can shove in our mouths while dodging inane questions from our families. I’m thinking about combining Halloween and Thanksgiving into one holiday called “Hallow Thanks”. It seems to make sense since both holidays occur in the Fall and involve food. On Thanksgiving we gorge ourselves on a big turkey dinner with all of the trimmings so why not just add all that candy from Halloween as part of dessert?
Thanksgiving is also the holiday that prepares us for the December holidays by reminding us how much we can’t stand being stuck in the house with our families all day and being asked an unbearable amount of inane questions about what we do, who we do it with and why we do it. More wine please!
Copyright 2020 “The Welcome Matt”