Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day!

Hurray! Hurray! The first of May!
Outdoor fucking begins today!

Or it would, if it weren't cold and raining outside. Nonetheless, Spring is springing and, barring one last freak snowstorm or annual mid-May freeze, it's time for the celebrations and fertility rites to begin. And that means one thing: Drinking!

Yes, we may imbibe during the winter to dull the dark pain of existence (a la Russe), but come May we drink in order so that we can stand one another's presence long enough to [insert euphemism of choice here] and turn the great wheel of life once more. It's a Freudian thing.* Or, as Svedka Vodka puts it in what has been my least favorite advertising campaign of the year, you drink to "improve your pickup game."


All punning and robot-based pornography aside, the point is that the season for social drinking is upon us. And this weekend seems to be the starting line for an entire Summer of debauchery, with the Kentucky Derby tomorrow and Cinco de Mayo on Tuesday.

This, however, does not make me happy. As I have said before, no one should ever need a reason - that is, an excuse - to drink. But the bars do need an excuse to get as many people as possible on the stools, which means meaningless drink specials and parties, ("Celebrate the Mexican holiday with $3 Corona bottles!" Ole!) and the newspapers and magazines need an excuse to sell advertising space to the pubs to publicize said specials and events. And as one holiday after another gets commodified in this way, they all start to lose their flavor, all bland and meaningless, like an Egg McMuffin.
The embodiment of meaninglessness.

I do, however, have a plan to fix this. What we nee
d is some kind of system that rotates the holidays in and out of the calendar. So we can celebrate say, St. Patrick's Day for four or five years, until it gets too "massive and drunken," and then we can suspend it, put it on the bench, so to speak, and rotate in an alternate holiday to get drunk at, and so on, and so forth.

To this end, I would like to submit a list of six holidays that I think are ready to be retired, given a rest, put on the bench, given a sabbatical to finish that book on Proust.** I will follow-up this list with six holidays that I think we could rotate into the line-up, at least until they become stale and flavorless, and then we could force them into early retirement by declaring bankruptcy and freezing their 401(k)s.

6 Most Overrated Drinking Holidays:

6) Independence Day (July 4): Don't get me wrong - I love the Fourth of July as much as the next godless, intellectual, liberal Francophile. But I also like to believe that I have a healthy fear of fire and all fire-related products. According to this report, in 2004 there were 9,600 firework related injuries in the U.S. 6,600 of those occurred over the Fourth of July weekend. Explosives and alcohol: As American as mom, apple pie, and union busting.

5) Cinco de Mayo (May 5): Other than the fact that I don't really like Coronas, my main problem with Cinco de Mayo is that it's not a Mexican holiday. In fact, the battle against the French that did take place on May 5 happened 40 years after Mexico gained independence from Spain, and is only recognized as a regional and military holiday in Mexico. The actual Mexican Independence Day is September 16.

4) Super Bowl (January or February): My fondest Super Bowl memories tend to revolve around the food (seven-layer nachos!) rather than the drinking. My criticism of the event is also safety based. Like many, I was raised with the belief that instances of domestic violence spiked during the Super Bowl. Apparently, this is not the case. According to a 2003 University of Indiana study, "the number of cases [on Super Sunday] was relatively small compared to those reported on holidays such as Christmas or Memorial Day." So that can be seen as a glass half-full or half-empty, I guess. On the other hand, instances of DUIs and car-related deaths rises 27 percent during the Super Bowl. So there's that, then.

3) Mardi Gras (February) - One of the things on my Do Before I Die list is to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. But if you're not in New Orleans, or Argentina, or Switzerland, or any other place that actually has a reason for throwing a party on Fat Tuesday, don't bother.

2) New Year's Eve (December 31) - New Year's Eve is, in many ways, like a combination of all of the above holidays. The fireworks of 4th of July, the icy roads of the Super Bowl, the feeling that you're obliged to violate some legal/moral code because, well, you're going to repent tomorrow. Plus, as Wikipedia says:

In several areas of the U.S., particularly major urban areas, New Year celebrations are punctuated by random celebratory gunfire which could potentially cause injuries and/or deaths.

What? You don't mark your holidays through random celebratory gunfire?

1) St. Patrick's Day (March 17) - You're not Irish, bro.

6 Most Underrated Drinking Holidays:

6) The Kentucky Derby (May) - This one I'm fearing will soon be douchebaggified through over-use and commodification. However, I still believe in the classy power of white linen suits, mint juleps, and bocce ball.

5) Thanksgiving (November) - Now, I'm guessing that there are more instances of domestic abuse, child abuse, elderly abuse, pet abuse, any kind of familial-based violence on Thanksgiving than on any other holiday. But that's what Thanksgiving is there for, I mean, not to actually commit violent and heinous crimes, but to get a chance to come together, get drunk as a family, and hopefully end the night with some form of the phrase "You've really loved me at all." And Thanksgiving doesn't try to hide what it's about, like those other holidays that are just about havin' a good time, but someone alway ends up in tears by the end. No, this day wears its heart on its sleeve.

Plus the food is really good.

4) Columbus Day (October) - Jason Webley has been trying to get Columbus Day to be a bigger thing for a while, saying that it is a sorely under-represented holiday. He even has a song about it:

Also, from some guy's blog:

Columbus Day is coming up, and there has been a call to celebrate it. Remember that not only is it a profane and unwholesome day to celebrate, but it is also rarely regarded. Here's the official ceremony, as described by the minstrel Jason Webley: One night prior, bake some cookies. Or brownies. And perhaps prepare something to drink, like delicious almond milk. Make a lot; you'll be giving them out. Visit your local post office. When someone approaches with a package to mail, hide yourself in the bushes. Observe their confusion as to why the Post Office is closed on a Monday. They may well ask aloud, "Why, in God's Name, is this Post Office closed today?" At this moment, spring out from the bushes, loudly declaring: Happy Columbus Day!!!

And then offer them milk and cookies as a consolation prize.
Milk and cookies and like, hard apple cider.

3) Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15)- So you know how Irish-Americans were considered second-class citizens for generations, and were stuck more or less in neighborhoods with high unemployment and crime rates, and then Kennedy was elected president, and now there's this holiday that's a huge commercial boon to the community where everyone gets very drunk and pretends that their Irish?

I'm just saying.

2) St. Augustine's Day (August 28) - The patron saint of theologians, printers, and brewers. It makes way more sense to get smashed in honor of Augustine than Patrick. This man knew how to party: Although raised a Catholic, he practiced Manicheanism and was a drunk and a womanizer. He re-converted to Christianity when he was 32, and in his autobiography Confessions, he wrote about "rejoicing in that sort of inebriation in which the world so often forgets thee, its Creator, and falls in love with thy creature instead of thee--the inebriation of that invisible wine of a perverted will which turns and bows down to infamy." And since he was a philosopher, this holiday would give all us philosophy nerds a chance to show the world what drinking really is about.

Also, when I was Googling "drunk st augustine," this headline came up: "Man Ticketed for Drunk Horseback Riding." Could we somehow incorporate this into the St. Augustine's Day festivities?

1) May Day (May 1) - You know what I was saying about how nobody should need to have an excuse to drink? Well, in case you still felt like you did, here you go. Happy May Day, Comrades!

So comrades come rally, and the last fight let us face!
The Internationale unites the human race!

*Eros and Thanatos. The original odd couple!
**Just in case the sports metaphors weren't doing it for you.

1 comment:

Kirby said...

This is an absolutely great post. Count me in on getting hammered on Martin Luther King Day.