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  • Writer's pictureEric Knabel

Thoughts From Six Feet Away: I Just Want to Celebrate!

I’ve been away from blogging for a while now, after committing myself to posting on a weekly basis. I’ve tried to take a lighthearted approach to the events of the world, hoping to provide a laugh or two at a time where they are in short supply, but I just haven’t been feeling it lately. The current state of the world is anything but lighthearted in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing. Like most sensible people, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching, questioning what I’ve been taught and what I believe. Maybe someday I’ll post them on this site, but I don’t think I’m ready yet.


However, I have decided that there are still lighthearted musings to be had, so I decided to get back to work. As I write this, the sights and sounds of dozens of fireworks explode around me. I should be used to it by now since this has been going on for more than a week. The holiday weekend has led me to a couple of thoughts. One, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a combat veteran during this holiday (or a temperamental Shih-tzu).


The other is this: Americans suck at celebrating things.


Think about it – if there is an event in our history worthy of honoring, we Americans find a way to honor said holiday in the most ludicrous of ways. Don’t believe me? I’ll list some of the more notable ones below.


Holiday: Valentine’s Day

What does it commemorate? Romantic love, friendship, and admiration (supposedly).

How do we celebrate it? Buying so many flowers that the cost of roses quadruples during this time. Clogging restaurants and trying to convince the world that we’re in a stable relationship.

Holiday: St. Patrick’s Day

What does it commemorate? The arrival of Christianity in Ireland. I was always told that it was St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland – are the snakes a metaphor?

How do we celebrate it? Pretending we’re Irish and getting drunk on green beer.

Holiday: Easter

What does it commemorate? In Christian tradition, it commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, three days after his crucifixion.

How do we celebrate it? We hand baskets to our kids and tell them to hunt the yard for hidden eggs that are a) hard boiled, b) dyed various colors, and c) placed by an omniscient rabbit. I learned in fourth grade science that an egg-laying rabbit is a biological impossibility, so I’m not sure where he got all these eggs. For some reason, we eat ham.

Holiday: Cinco de Mayo

What does it commemorate? The Mexican army’s defeat of France in the Franco-Mexican War.

How do we celebrate it? Pretending we’re Mexican and getting drunk on tequila. (Pay attention to alcohol…this is far from its final appearance)

Holiday: Mother’s Day

What does it commemorate? It honors all mothers everywhere, praising their numerous selfless acts

How do we celebrate it? We take our mom out to eat. We don’t dare defile this holiday in any other way.

Holiday: Memorial Day

What does it commemorate? We honor all those who have lost their lives in service of our country

How do we celebrate it? We grill meat. And we drink a lot of alcohol. I suspect we are off on Monday for the simple fact that we would be too hungover to actually work.

Holiday: Father’s Day

What does it commemorate? It honors fathers and their role in helping to raise the children.

How do we celebrate it? We buy awkward gifts. And get this, that’s as good as it gets! For those who did not have a good relationship with their father, it’s a time to go on social media and broadcast what a son of a bitch he is/was.

Holiday: Fourth of July

What does it commemorate? The signing of the Declaration of Independence, establishing us as our own country.

How do we celebrate it? We blow things up. Repeatedly. And we watch a group of disgusting people descend on Coney Island to celebrate who can eat the most hot dogs. Oh, and we drink. (A little aside here -- do you think the contestants have dinner later that night? Where do you want to eat? Oh, I'm good -- I had 75 hot dogs for lunch)

Holiday: Labor Day

What does it commemorate? The social and economic achievements of the American worker.

How do we celebrate it? We take off on another Monday, which actually makes sense. But we also grill meat again, and of course we drink.

Holiday: Halloween

What does it commemorate? Originally, it was the vigil of All Saints Day, or All Hallows Eve

How do we celebrate it? As a child, we dress up in costumes and walk door to door like a Jehovah’s Witness, hoping that cold calling on our neighbors yields candy. As adults, we get dressed up in adult (ie. slutty or vulgar) versions of these outfits and, wait for it, drink to excess.

Holiday: Thanksgiving

What does it commemorate? It’s a time of giving thanks that the Pilgrims survived their first year after founding the colony at Plymouth. We give a cursory nod to the Native Americans that did us a solid.

How do we celebrate it? We get up at 4 am to cook the biggest meal of the year, then gluttonously devour all food within sight. In a coma of tryptophan, we then watch football until it’s time to go shopping later that night. As a bonus, we subject ourselves to mental abuse at the hands of family members. This feature is so prominent that the night before has become its own drinking holiday.

Holiday: Christmas

What does it commemorate? In Christian tradition, it celebrates the birth of Christ. It was merged with the date of a major pagan holiday as some form of appeasement.

How do we celebrate it? We buy things for each other, the pressure of which causes most of us to be angry (or drunk). We redecorate our house for two weeks, accented by a giant decorated dead evergreen tree in the corner. We watch a marathon of movies on Hallmark that have essentially the same plot.

Holiday: New Year’s Eve

What does it commemorate? The end of another year, and the promise of the year ahead.

How do we celebrate it? We drink a lot of alcohol, watch TV for one minute, then go back to drinking.


 

So, there you have it. If you find yourself wondering why we are struggling so much during this COVID crisis, you now know that we don’t know what we’re doing, even when we have something to celebrate. Hope this has brought a chuckle and provided a small break from the bleakness. As always, be excellent to each other, and...




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