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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

All Hail Fake Holidays!

Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I had a very nice, quiet, relaxing Monday off.

A-wha’? What’s that you say? You didn’t get Monday off? You had to schlep into work, just like any other poopy old Monday? Well, then clearly you’re not living right, my friend. Or at least, you’re not living in the right place.

For you see, oh overworked one, today is ‘Patriots Day’, a very special, very somber, and completely made-up holiday that is observed every April here in Massachusetts. And only in Massachusetts. You won’t see Patriots Day Hallmark cards in your local drugstore. You won’t find it on a list of federal holidays. And the day gets no special note on the ‘365 Days of Simpsons’ desk calendar sitting in front of me right now.

And that’s why Patriots Day is the greatest holiday in the history of holidays, ever. It’s exclusive — most people outside of New England have never even heard of Patriots Day, much less get to observe it. It comes at just the right time — if, like me, you don’t get ‘Easter Monday’ (speaking of fake holidays) off, then the spring is a wasteland of full-on, fist-clenching five-day weeks. A Monday off in April is huge. But best of all, Patriots Day is a fully pressureless holiday, and there are damned few of those around.

You see, Patriots Day is about… well, really, that’s the beauty of it. It’s not about anything. Oh, I’m sure there are people out there trying to promote patriotism with it, or the New England Patriots, or Mel Gibson period flicks. But nobody’s seriously trying to make a big deal out of it, you know? It’s just a day away from work — there are no gifts involved, no cards, no candlelit ceremonies or special costumes or candy gobbling of any kind. You sleep in, you get up, you poke around the house for a few hours, and then you call it a night and start the week on Tuesday. I’m in heaven, folks.

(Don’t hate me because I’ve been in my pajamas all day, okay? I don’t makes the rules; I just uses ’em to my advantage when I get half a chance.)

Truth be told, there actually is a reason for Patriots Day, but perhaps not the one you’d first imagine. But in fact, Patriots Day exists because of the annual running of the Boston Marathon. I’m guessing it’s a civic safety precaution — the drivers around here are so bad and so grouchy on a normal day, if you made them route around a marathon trail for even one day, all of Boston would launch into mob violence. The Big Dig construction in the city has been bad enough; downtown was nearly torched by pissy motorists more than once over that fiasco.

Anyway, knowing the real reason for Patriots Day just adds to the fun. And again, there’s no pressure to actually do anything to ‘observe’ the holiday — who the hell is actually gonna watch a marathon, anyway? I caught some of the footage (heh; ‘footage’) last year on TV, and it was excruciating. Here’s approximately what I saw:

Left. Right. Left. Right. Closeup on one sweaty guy running behind a group of others. Announcers give us details of his life history as he runs. Left. Right. Born in blah-blah. Left. Right. Trains with whos-his-face in the winters. Left. Right. Enjoys classical jazz and slow walks on the beach. Left. Right. Left.

Pan to a group of women. Sweaty. Haggard. Pained. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Announcers explain how one of them has caught up to the bunch at the fifteen mile mark or so, and may still be travelling nearly imperceptibly faster than the others. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Announcers posit that one of them — closeup on her drippy face while we talk about her — likes to make her move ‘early’. At around the twenty-four mile mark. In other words, nine miles and a half-hour from now. Won’t that be exciting? Clip. Clop. Clip.

It was at that point that I started drinking heavily, and had a much more enjoyable Patriots Day. And I’ve pretty much vowed to never watch the race live ever again, so long as I live. That way lies madness and chafed thighs. Meh.

Of course, the other cool sports-related thing about Patriots Day is that the Red Sox always play at home for the marathon, and start the game before noon so the fans can spill out of the stadium and cheer on the Kenyans who take the first twelve or so spots every year.

(Yeah, don’t bother correcting me if someone from non-Kenya won this year. Or last year, or every year, for that matter. No disrespect meant to any other nation that pumps out world-class distance runners, but for me, marathons will be always dominated by Kenyans.

Apparently, at one point, I cared enough to learn that Kenyan runners were really, really good at running marathons, and now I don’t care so much any more. So I’ll just stick with the information I have, thanks. Too many other priorities in life ahead of ‘learn more about marathons‘, I’m afraid. I’m a bit behind the times, perhaps, but I’m sure these things are pretty static in nature, right? Like politics, which I completely lost interest in a long time ago, too. By the way, how is that ‘President Carter’ guy doing, anyway?)

Anyway, an 11am game is pretty cool for me — if nothing else, it gives me a taste of what life would be like on the West Coast. Get up at ten, take a shower, maybe grab some cereal, and bam! — there’s a game, right there on the tube. You’ve barely had time to get out of your jammies, and those crazy kooks on the other side of the country are already dressed up and playing sports. What a country, eh? What a big, long, wide country.

Okay, that’s about enough for now, I think. I had a great day and all, but tomorrow is a work day, even for me. So I think I’ll wrap up this first commemorative Patriots Day blog post, and hit the sack. And hey — I never really got properly dressed today, so getting ready for bed is gonna be a snap. Man oh man, Patriots Day kicks ass. Think we can get them to run a race every month downtown? I could get used to this shit. Good night, folks!

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “All Hail Fake Holidays!”

  1. shelley says:

    Yesterday I learned that Maine also observes Patriots’ Day, and I’m fairly sure it’s not because of Boston Marathon traffic. I’m not sure why they *do* observe it, though. It’s possible that my sources (Kiss-108 radio and, y’know, other serious journalistic outlets) aren’t the most reliable, though, so don’t print this in your blog or anything.

  2. We have something like that over here in utah on the 24th of July, but it’s called “Pioneer Day.” Everyone gets another day off and another chance to light fireworks which are illegal the rest of the year except on the 4th.

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