First Posted: 2/7/2009
Saturday, as many of you know, is Valentines Day.
Years ago, when my two oldest girls were little tikes, I surprised them one Valentines Day, with a Mylar balloon, a little stuffed animal, and some candy. They were thrilled oh for the days when exciting the kids was that easy.
Anyway, next thing I knew, this was a tradition in our house. Every Valentines Day I was supposed to come up with something for the kids something neat and exciting and surprising, which was challenging enough with two children. Then came child number 3, followed not too far behind by number 4, and long before child number 5 was born we had started cutting back significantly on the Valentines Day gifts.
Of course, buying gifts is exactly what those shrewd folks who invented Valentines Day had in mind. Well, okay, maybe the originators of the holiday didnt think so much about enticing everyone to run down to the mall, since there werent any malls then, but thats what the holiday has become a time to buy stuff that probably wont be around in three months.
Then again, many of our so-called holidays have evolved into this. Mothers Day is an example. It used to be a day set aside to honor and pay respects to mothers. Now, it seems honor and respect have to take the form of loads of gifts, an expensive dinner out, and anything else advertisers can make us believe we absolutely have to have to show dear old mom our love.
Same with Fathers Day. Easter. And Christmas? Oh, man, dont even get me started on that one.
I dont wish to seem too much of a spoil sport, and I do enjoy a good holiday as much as the next person, I suppose. Still, it seems if we as a society could map the entire human genome we could come up with some more purposeful, interesting holidays.
Say, read a horror short story day. I love short fiction, and horror fiction in particular. But, publishers just dont buy and sell that stuff because they believe people wont read it whether the short stories are horror or adventure or science fiction or of a more literary bent. Maybe if we had a holiday set aside for this purpose, more people would discover the joy of reading short work, and particularly good horror (and I dont mean slasher horror like you might see in Friday the 13th part 67).
While were on the subject of reading, why not have national novel reading week? Everyone could get some sort of tax credit for buying a novel. Okay, that might sound far fetched, but it seems as if everyone else is getting some type of tax credit, refund, or tax-payer funded bailout, so why not?
Halloween. Yeah, I know, we already have one of those. But how about a winter Halloween, a spring Halloween, and a summer version of the holiday?
If Super Bowl Sunday can be a de facto holiday, why not the national Rook championship? Id spend the day sitting around the television, munching on hot wings and pizza, waiting to see who could trump whom.
Horror fiction, extra Halloweens, card games with an ominous black bird on the back of each card boy, I might be detecting a pattern here.
Okay, how about a holiday for those with unhealthy obsessions? You know, all the normal people could go to work, the rest of us would get a day off to engage in whatever wacko pastime we enjoy. Might be interesting to see just who would show up at work simply to be considered normal.
Getting back to television why not have a holiday only for those who agree not to watch television for a week? Youd be surprised at how much stuff you can get done, or how much time you have to do things with family and friends, if you simply cut out the TV. And my plan for a holiday to celebrate those who do would result in a day set aside just for those who have discovered this giving them even more time to do stuff like read short stories and novels.
What about a national holiday set aside for newspaper readers? Hey, there are few things in life that can give you the scoop on what youre local governments doing, what projects and programs the school system has going on, pictures of your neighbors and friends going about their daily business, the lowdown on who the local police arrested and why, not to mention honor rolls, loads of local sports … just about everything you could want to know.
And all in an easily digestible format you can read every single day.
And my last holiday idea is for a day set aside for people who write columns. Thats a holiday I could really get into. Starting now.
John Peters is editor of The Mount Airy News. If you see him strolling about, dont tell him today is Sunday, just let him keep believing hes getting the day off because of the new Column Writers Holiday. He can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 719-1931.