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Ask Not What You Can Do for Your Presidents

Today is Presidents’ Day here in the US, which is perhaps the fake holiday hardest of all for me to get behind. I’ll explain why, in three easy reasons:

“I’ll applaud and thank and offer a warm hearty hug to anyone who fought a war for me, or planted a bunch of fruit trees, or collated my TPS reports, or pooped me clawing and screaming into this world.”

Reason One: It moves.

Look, if we’re going to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, then fine. The towns can dress their kids up with wooden teeth and axes stained with the sap of innocent cherry trees, and have a ball. On February 22nd. When the man was born.

(According to the modern Gregorian calendar, anyway. When little Georgie actually squeezed out of Mother Washington back in the twelve-hundreds or whenever, they were using some different calendar based on zodiac signs or Roman gods or how long it took dinosaur dung to compose or something. So his birthday actually officially changed dates, when he was around twenty years old.

Which is just one more reason to stop waving it around on the calendar. It’s been through quite enough already.)

Now, if we’re going to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday instead, then we can all run out to the local stovepipe hat store, put on our fake beards, proclaim emancipation and get shot in the back of the head while we’re watching some boring stuffy play our wife dragged us out to — which we’ve probably all wished for at some point in our lives, but Lincoln was the only one of us man enough to do it. I can respect that. Even celebrate it.

On February 12th, on the man’s birthday.

This “Presidents’ Day” nonsense is nothing but a bet-hedger. Somebody back when was worried that the Lincoln fans would be all up in arms if Washington alone got the honors, or that the Washington waggers wouldn’t share the stage with Team Lincoln, and they split the difference. Now it’s the third Monday of each February, rain or shine, the actual date be damned. That’s diplomacy, I guess.

But that sure as hell doesn’t make it a holiday.

Reason Two: It’s a day for who, now?

Let me say this right up front: I have no problem with designating a day to honor deserving individuals. And we’ve got a bunch, to be sure — Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Veterans’ Day, Firefighters’ Day, Military Spouses’ Day, Administrative Professionals’ Day, Nurses’ Day, I’m Not Making This Up Day, Okay I Totally Just Made the Last One Up Day, Son and Daughter Day, Good Neighbor Day, Johnny Appleseed Day, even Frankenstein Day, for the love of Abby Normal.

I’m fine with all of those. And I’m fine with the two Tuesdays in mid-June that are apparently the only fricking days left not dedicated to some body, group, profession or reanimated stitched-together monster. All of the above are worthy celebratees, and deserve our thanks, admiration, respect — and possibly a bride with a highlighted Don King hairdo.

But presidents? Seriously?

Let’s be honest, here. What do U.S. presidents to date have in common? They’re a bunch of unimaginably powerful, uber-wealthy, well-fed, well-protected, usually pompous, sometimes bright, mostly-white stuffy old guys who were carried into the office based on fancy speeches, skillful pandering, back-room deals, or that really funny movie they made that one time with the monkey.

I’m not sure we need to spend a day to honor that. And I’m pretty certain they don’t need it from us.

I’m just saying. I’ll applaud and thank and offer a warm hearty hug to anyone who fought a war for me, or planted a bunch of fruit trees, or collated my TPS reports, or pooped me clawing and screaming into this world. But a guy who bathes in government T-bills and can ride the Secretary of Defense naked through the Green Room like some rodeo pony if he wants to? Who’s that helping, really? Pass.

Reason the Third: I worked all day.

In the end, the worst kind of holiday is the kind that everyone else gets but me. And I was stuck in the office all damned day, because I didn’t have it off.

(And the secretary did, so I’ve been collating my own TPS reports all afternoon. Swing low!)

So everything else above is just bullshit, of course. I’d celebrate the Second Coming of zombie Jim Varney* on every waning crescent moon in the month of Baramhat, if it meant I could sleep til ten on a Monday. But today I was up, at ’em, and in the office like any other desk-shackled week.

Any chance I can get a do-over? Don’t we have Secretaries of the Interior Day or Mothra Day or James K. Polk’s wedding anniversary or something coming up?


* For the record, the First Coming of zombie Jim Varney was quite brief:


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