California Seething: Hurray for February — the month of bullshit holidays!
The rantings of a non-driving theatre professional living in altogether the wrong city
Let’s say you’re someone who really enjoys fasting (bear with me, this is going someplace.) You don’t have an eating disorder and you’re not protesting anything, you just like to find any excuse you can to be really, really hungry. Well, if you’re a Muslim, you’re psyched. You’ve got Ramadan, a whole glorious month at the all you can’t eat buffet. If you’re Jewish, you may not get a full month, but there are still ample fasting opportunities: you’ve got Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), Tisha B’Av (commemorating the destruction of the Second Temple), Tzom Gedalia (the fast of, um, Gedaliah?) and other fast days sprinkled throughout the year.
But what if you’re a Christian? If you’re Catholic, then you might fast by giving up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for Lent. If you’re a Protestant of some sort- well, the closest you’ll get to fasting is running out of Light Miracle Whip so you can’t bring deviled eggs to Bible study or skipping lunch after church because snake handling makes you queasy (I don’t know what you people do.).
So, clearly this doesn’t bode well for the Christian or secular fasting enthusiast, but fortunately, there is a totally non-religious solution: the Master Cleanse. This invention gives fans of brutal self depravation a near endless opportunity to consume almost nothing save for a repulsive beverage with the sunny nickname “lemonade,” as in “when life gives you self-loathing, make lemonade!” The Master Cleanse doesn’t care what race you are or what god you worship or whether you bother to worship any at all, it just wants you to starve — a fast even Christopher Hitchens could love.
The holidays in February are just like the Master Cleanse- except they encourage you to fill your body with toxins rather than empty it. From Groundhog Day and Super Bowl Sunday to Valentine’s Day and the Oscars, the month is filled with special occasions that do not discriminate by religion or ethnicity and instead celebrate the All American universal traditions of rodent worship, overindulgence, gambling and exchanging Whitman’s Samplers for sex. There are so many great secular holidays that I’m going to milk them for two whole blog posts. Here’s the first one:
Groundhog Day- Feb 2nd
There was a time in this country when critters of all sorts were used to tell the future: if the canary keeled over, it was time to leave the coal mine; if the rabbit died there were wedding bells in your future; and if a gerbil was discovered in your rectum, you would be a punch line for generations (Buddhsim, shmudism- you’ll always be gerbil boy to me.) Groundhog Day is the last remnant of this once proud tradition. On Groundhog Day a rodent named “Phil” awakens from his slumber, pops his head out of the ground and watches the Weather Channel for 20 minutes. If conditions around the world seem normal to him, he buries his head back in the sand and votes Republican. If, however, he sees what’s happening and loses his shit, he buys Al Gore’s book and campaigns for climate change legislation until he is hunted down and shot by Sarah Palin or her cronies. Good thing for him Puxatony is not in Alaska (or Arizona.)
Of course, Groundhog Day is rather quaint and outdated given today’s fun-sized climate conditions so, starting in 2011, it’s going to be phased out in favor of a new weather holiday: Plummeting Bird Apocalypse Week. If you want to remember how this new holiday works- just use this little rhyme:
If the birds fall from the sky,
Heat wave’s comin’ go outside
If the fishies turn up dead,
Ice storm’s comin’- stay in bed!
Super Bowl Sunday- Feb 6
When I was a high-school freshman, I was regularly beaten up by football players even though I let them copy off of me in Biology. These men among boys assumed that because I was smaller, weaker and less athletic than them, I was inferior and could be abused and exploited — and I went right along with that assumption. Now that I am older and wiser, of course, I know that they were absolutely right. Every Sunday I watch guys like the assholes who used to pummel me make millions playing football on my massive 27” CRT screen while I eagerly cheer them on like a needy puppy desperately begging for table scraps of vicarious glory. Of course, I can take solace in the fact that none of the actual football players who bullied me (that’s right, YouTube generation, you didn’t invent bullying, you just went viral whining about it) actually made it to the NFL, or for that matter, out of their parents’ basements. Bloated on canned beer and stale memories, looking like the Thanksgiving Day Parade Float of their former selves, they too watch the big game with envy knowing that the closest they’ll come to a victory trip to Disney World is a Saturday morning in Lake George with the sullen brats they never see because that cold-hearted bitch of a former cheerleader who thinks she’s still hot-shit even though her tits are all saggy won’t give them more than one weekend a month and the Pakistani asshole who bought the JiffyLube franchise won’t let them trade shifts after the last time. Honestly, I can’t wait for my 20th High School reunion so I can go home and rub my success in their fat fucking faces. I hope they like me now. :)
Like Laker fans, Steeler fans this year experienced the emotional roller coaster that goes along with supporting a defending world champion led by a rapist. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, no dogs were hurt by Roethlisberger’s activities, only women, so he was able to get back to work lickety-split and prove his innocence by winning football games. The sorority girls of Orlando can breathe a sigh of relief, though, because Big Ben was beaten in the Super Bowl by Brett Favre’s former intern, Aaron Rogers who led his Packers to glory despite the fact that his receivers decided to warm up for the game with a greased-pig wrestling contest and all the starters died of Plague before halftime.
Of course, the highlight of the Super Bowl was the Black Eyed Peas’ Halftime Show. Not the performance itself, which was shiny ass-cake, but the fact that Fergie was allowed to perform. This meant that White America’s collective panties have finally come unbunched about the whole Janet Jackson thing since for the first time since Nipplegate a pretty, female pop-star was allowed to perform during a major televised sporting event, much to the consternation of desiccated rockers everywhere (I’m looking at you, Tom Petty). Not that I mean to trivialize the deadly serious issue of showing nipples on television. I can certainly appreciate that young children can be traumatized for life by even the slightest glimpse of the body part they spend their first year on earth sucking on. Of course, precautions were taken to protect White America from Fergie’s nipples. She was loaded down with so much electrified padding that her range of motion was limited to swiveling her arms up and down like a Chewbacca action figure from the 70s, with equally sexy results. It would have taken a small army of roadies at least four hours with bolt cutters to dig out a boob, and it might have caused a small electrical fire. Still it was nice to see her hop around like an angry ape, swiveling her arms and yelling off-key while an army of highly choreographed dancers went through their repertoire of Microsoft Word Auto-shapes looking like nothing less than God’s Lite-Brite.
My Mother’s Birthday – Feb 6
Happy birthday Mom! Sorry again about the whole naked with the pool boy crack in the last post. Anyone who knows you would of course know that I was just kidding and it was really the gardener. (I stole that joke from my mom, BTW- that’s how awesome she is!)
Boy Scout Day – Feb 8
I’ve got one word for anyone surprised by the number of gays in the Boy Scouts: neckerchief. They might as well make them wear a fucking tiara.
National Let’s All Pretend We Give A Shit about Egypt Day – Feb 10
Look, I hate tyranny as much as the next guy, but raise your hands if you knew anything about the Egyptian government or cared at all two months ago? Right, didn’t think so.
Valentine’s Day- Feb 14
Valentine’s Day is a cynical, exploitive holiday made up by greeting card companies, stuffed animal manufacturers, jewelers and chocolatiers, designed to make people in relationships feel guilty if they don’t buy each other presents and to make single people feel like inadequate failures for not being in a relationship. I love it! I’m an underpaid, out of shape arts administrator with a tiny house and a hairy back. I feel like an inadequate failure most of the time. Why shouldn’t I feel like a winner one day a year for being happily married for over 10 years and let all the rich, pretty single people with slammin’ pads and manscaping regimens feel like losers for a change?
And what’s wrong with getting presents? I love presents! Russell Stover hearts full of nougaty goodness, stuffed apes in boxer shorts that talk when you squeeze them, nattily dressed little bears from Starbucks with hearts on their outfits and a song in their hearts. What the hell is wrong with any of that? Even if we don’t exchange gifts, it’s all good, because I know I get to spend time with the love of my life and you don’t. The Christians have Easter, the Irish have St. Patrick’s Day. but on Valentine’s Day, I feel like CVS has been redecorated just for me and the world is my warm, fuzzy oyster.
I realize this sentiment of exclusivity is somewhat at odds with the whole “universal holidays” theme of this post, but Valentine’s Day does not discriminate by age, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation — that is until Proposition V passes and gay people are required to refer to it as Heart Shaped Partnership Day so that they don’t taint the sanctity of Valentine’s Day.
Right- so that’s the first half of my gluttonous, backwards holiday Master Cleanse. Next post: President’s Day through the Oscars. Until then, my atheist friends, Happy Plummeting Bird Apocalypse Week!
featured image credit: Sister72