American holidays make sense to me, starting with Halloween. It’s reasonable that an ancient pagan holiday commemorating the harvest time and changing of seasons would today be celebrated by going door to door asking strangers for candy while wearing a mask.
Other holidays are equally appropriate symbolically.
Veterans Day, remembering those who gave their lives defending our country, is often celebrated by taking a day off from work, firing up the barbecue, drinking a beer and belching. Thanksgiving Day, a day to give recognition to a starving rabble of Europeans who landed on these shores because their religious beliefs and clannishness made them pariahs back home, is saluted by eating steroid-fed turkey with a pop-up thermometer.
Easter commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus, appropriately celebrated by hiding in the yard imitation plastic eggs with prizes in them, made in China, deposited by a mythical bunny. It all makes perfect sense to me.
I’m not a devoutly religious man. But I’m not what a religious fanatic and hypocrite once called me, a “heathen!” I do go to church Easter week. All that week, instead of renting VCR movies like John Wayne in the War Wagon, I rent gladiator movies with religious background themes, action films, the kind that portray the real old days when they used to “slay” guys.
Christmas, the biggest holiday of the year, accurately represents the birth of Christ by the purchase of expensive merchandise, usually on credit, delivered to relatives supposedly by a fat man in a red suit with a white beard, after he squeezes down your chimney. Logical!
The Christmas ideal for me is symbolized by those Currier & Ives cards that project an image of peace and contentment, usually a mountain cabin in the snow with cherubic-looking children and adorable little woodland animals, deer or squirrels.
Last year at Christmas, I tried to access a mall parking lot to go shopping. A competing driver cut me off and gave me the finger. “You’re not Currier & Ives,” I yelled at him.
Another guy, probably driven to distraction by an escalating alcohol-drug habit, combined with the knowledge he didn’t have the money to pay for the flashy gifts he’d purchased with a plastic card, hauled off and smacked his poor wife across the mouth just before they entered his pickup truck.
I rolled down the car window. “You’re not Currier & Ives,” I shouted.
You could see by the look on the moron’s face he was asking himself, “who’s Currier & Ives?”
The truest to the original intent is the Fourth of July. The defective Mexican firecracker that explodes in your hand because of a short-burning fuse accurately symbolizes the series of blunders that led to the formation of this country.