We've tried our best to honor our great leaders, treasure our parents, and recognize those who have sacrificed for us, all without giving us too many days off of school and work.
Now that we lie squarely in the lull between President's Day and Memorial Day, the longest work stretch of the year, I thought it was high time to revisit that holiday mix. We proceed:
We need to reverse the entire celebration process. You really don't deserve any presents on your birthday, because you didn't do a whole lot to make it happen. On birthdays, everyone should have a party for their mother, and she should receive the presents. How long do the festivities last? As long as the labor.
Sorry mom. We're not giving you two of your own. This one's kaput.
Normally, I'd say we should end this one, too. After all, Indian tribes had been here for hundreds of years, and we're taking a day off because Columbus accidentally crashed into Haiti? Then again, Columbus is my beloved hometown, and a city so representative of all of America that much of the country's market research is done there. If we're not sure if Columbus Day should remain, let's take a poll.
Watermelon, parades, baseball, hot dogs, fireworks, and high school marching bands. Don't ever let it change.
If we really want to appreciate how lucky we are to have food, why do we stuff incredulously unnecessary amounts of it down our throats, food which could provide meals for days to the hungry? Let's have a national fast on Thanksgiving. Maybe then we'll understand the pain of going to bed hungry, one that lingers on for an incredibly large percentage of people in the richest country on earth.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY and ELECTION DAY
Let's combine them. By giving everyone the day off work to vote, we'll increase voter turnout and honor Reverend King's greatest legacy.
The greeting-cardsmakers done right by creating this one. Our grandparents ended the depression, saved us from the Nazis, built our highways, and helped improve race relations. If you are lucky enough to have your parents' parents still alive, count your blessings, and include in those prayers the hope you will do as much for your offspring as they did for us.
NEW YEAR'S EVE
I'm tired of people saying that they're "not going to make a big deal out of New Year's, because it's just another day." I wish it were true, but it's not. Do Harry and Sally break up, get back together, break up again and get back together ever other day? Are cab rides always free? As long we have Dick Clark, we'll have New Year's, and that's forever. Pass the Chex mix.
When you're a little kid, this is a day when all the boys buy Valentines for the whole class, and all the girls buy Valentines for the whole class. For some reason, for adults, this has become a day where the onus is on men to buy flowers and expensive dinner for women, and if they don't, the remote control hits the fan. Let's keep the elementary school rule and extend it to all ages. Both men and women should buy Valentines for all their friends, regardless of gender, or buy none at all. A bag of 20 or 30 little Valentine cards costs only a few bucks, a small price to pay to tell all those important in your life how you feel about them.
Two years ago, I received from a relative a red box with absolutely nothing in it. Inside I placed things of importance to me--compliments from a former track coach, photos of a cute niece half-buried in a sand castle, and more. Each Christmas, each of us should buy two boxes, fill them with inexpensive toys, knick-knacks, and snacks, and give them to two children, one of our own, and one we've never met. Once the little whippersnappers devour the Pez and lose the toys, they'll still have a reminder that someone cares. Everyone should have a box.
Other columns by Todd Raphael: