Wednesday, November 23, 2005

On the Boats and On the Planes...

...They're coming to America

Apart from the international humiliation of having George W. Bush as our president, it really mostly doesn’t suck to be an American. (Yes, technically, Mexicans and Canadians are also Americans, but you know what I’m getting at, amber waves of grain and all...) (OK, yes, Canada also has waves grain, but it’s more yellowish than our grain, isn’t it?) Anyway, America, it has been the number-one destination choice for immigrants since 1492. (OK, Yes, Leif Ericson beat Columbus by about 500 years, and, right Christopher C didn’t really even reach the American mainland. Be that as it may, can we just move along?)

Being American kicks ass, mostly for one important reason: We have the BEST fricken holidays. We are the only country on the planet to celebrate the dynamic duo of festivals, the King Kong and Godzilla of state-recognized celebration. I speak, reverentially of course, about Independence Day and Thanksgiving. July 4 and the fourth Thursday of November, It’s hard to say which is my favorite.

July 4, Independence Day, the day we celebrate a marginal military victory over our only remaining political ally. We love the Brits so goddamn much, yet every year we commemorate blasting their red-coated asses into sea (with the help of the French, no less…) Smokey grill, cold beer and Chinese fireworks purchased from Native Americans on the reservation across the river… What’s not to love about this holiday???

Then there’s Thanksgiving, the most American of all holidays. Did the Anglican puritan separatist pilgrims really sit on rough-hewn benches with Pocahontas and her family for a feast of turkey and corn? Who cares? I have three kinds of Cranberry sauce to look forward to on Thursday. Sure, between heaping piles of potatoes and pumpkin pie, I’ll reflect on all that I have to be thankful for. Then I will proceed to stuff myself into near-coma and pass out for the ritual afternoon nap in front of the football game. And then, after the nausea has passed, I will eat a cold turkey sandwich before bed. Holy Hell, It’s a great holiday.

In contrast, at the end of the monsoon season in Bhutan, they will celebrate Thrue-Bab, the festival of new rain. This day of fun begins with a holy breakfast of porridge, and culminates with a cleansing bath at the appointed hour of the day. WOOOOO!!!!

Mexico has its Dia de los Muertos, the day of the dead, which is sort of a holiday, but not really, although everyone kind of celebrates it in Mexico, Brazil, and the Philippines. It started as a pagan rite, which was adopted, in typical fashion by the Roman Catholic Church to coincide with All Saints Day. Some celebrants use the day to drink heavily and set their neighbors’ houses on fire. Others spend the day cherishing the memory of dead ancestors with candles, altars, parades and children begging for candy. No one in Mexico really understands it. It seems to be a bit of a Mexican goat rodeo.

Ramadan and Yom Kipur. Two groups of people who hate each other because they each use a different name for the same god, try to out-misery each other through fasting, prayer, and meditation. Oy…

Christmas and Easter. Two very popular pagan holidays co-opted by Christians to promote commercialism and fairy tales. I haven’t celebrated Easter since the late 80s. I only continue to recognize Christmas, because I m greedy and I like to get presents. Hurray for baby Jesus!

Internationally, there is only one holiday that holds a candle to our Wonder Twins, and that is the Hindu Festival of Diwali, the festival of lights. FIVE DAYS of eating, drinking and walking around the street in your best clothes, setting fires, lighting candles, burning lamps and igniting fire works. Good Golly, someone needs to bring that tradition to these golden shores…

You can keep Boxing Day, whatever the fuck that is. And Guy Fawkes Day? Do you really celebrate the bumbling incompetence of a dimwitted terrorist?

So, Thursday, I’ll be here. Well, technically, I’ll be upstairs in the dining room, surrounded by friends and family. More importantly, however, I’ll be surrounded by piles, mounds, and buckets of food. I will stop at some point between mouthfuls of cranberry sauce to be thankful, then, I’ll get back to eating. God bless America.


  1. Anonymous12:15 PM

    Today is National Cashew Day. I think we all need to find a way to celebrate.

  2. I think Brian celebrates by sucking on nuts.


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