aired February 19, 2011 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube: Presidents Day
Shalom Dammit, this is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of February 20, 2011.
Happy Washington’s Birthday everybody. No, wait – Happy Lincoln’s Birthday everybody. No – wait, make that Happy Presidents Day. Who the hell knows what day it is?
Back in olden times, George Washington’s birthday was celebrated on February 22nd because it was … wait for it… George Washington’s birthday! What could be simpler? Venerate this important statesman on the actual day of his birth.
But everybody knows the best holidays fall on a Monday. If you keep Washington’s Birthday on the 22nd, there’s only a one-in-seven chance of scoring a three-day weekend. Politicians fixed this problem by moving the holiday one week earlier. Leave it to the Federal Government to ensure Washington’s Birthday never actually falls on Washington’s Birthday. These are the people we pay to fix our sewers.
Anyway, let’s not forget about Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12th. God forbid we should have two national holidays so that working people get two days off in the middle of godforsaken February. No, even though Lincoln’s Birthday was never officially shlunked into Washington’s, most people assume Presidents Day covers both these guys.
But who’s to say it doesn’t cover more? Some of the founders of Presidents Day intended it to honor the office of the presidency, rather than any particular leader. But does that mean, when we celebrate Presidents Day, we’re glorifying Warren G. Harding? Richard Nixon? Jimmy Carter? George W. Bush? I’d sooner celebrate Bernie Madoff’s birthday!
Why couldn’t we leave things the way they were? Celebrate a holiday on the holiday. I feel bad for Lincoln; I really do. He’s like the goyische kid whose birthday falls on Christmas Eve. So all his relatives bring him one present instead of two – but it’s a slightly nicer, more expensive gift because it covers both occasions. They think this is fairness. When the kid grows up, he should tell the relatives, “You know.. years from now, when you’re lying in a nursing home, I would have come to visit twice a year, but instead, I’ll come once, but I’ll stay ten minutes longer. Cheap bastards.”
Speaking of goyim, you notice – they don’t touch Christmas. The other holidays they move like backgammon chips, but Christmas, no. Or New Year’s Day – but that one at least has a built-in safety. Nevertheless, I’m sure there’s a schmuck politician out there who’s thinking, “January 1st would be so much more convenient on December 28th.” Only thing stopping the madness is the calendar.
Christmas, on the other hand – why not move it? Who knows when Jesus was actually born, if Jesus was actually born. So keep New Year’s Day, and move Christmas to July. This way the goyim can put up their decorations without freezing their balls off, we get a nice Federal holiday between Memorial and Labor Day, and Jews wouldn’t have to keep explaining to our children why Christmas and Chanukah have nothing in common.
Well, except the fat guy who comes into people’s houses for a nosh while they’re asleep. One is Santa Claus, the other is crazy uncle Mort who needs a restraining order.
And as for Presidents Day – well, if we set aside one holiday for every president who wasn’t a disaster, you’d need half a dozen days. So lumping all the leaders into Presidents Day does have its logic. In fact, why not add Statesman Day? That way, you could honor all these noble speakers – Martin Luther King, Madeleine Albright, Mister Rogers – without going through the controversies: “oh, this one’s an adulterer, that one’s too liberal, this one wears lame sweaters.”
And how about a holiday dedicated to the guy who put all the holidays on Mondays? For the sake of three-day weekends and half-a-day Fridays, the guy who disregarded birthdays, anniversaries, bombings, assassinations, all in the name of commerce, convenience and white sales. We should find out who this guy is and celebrate his birthday… whenever.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection by Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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