Friday, February 12, 2021

Andy Young: The birthday boy’s not crazy about Valentine’s Day

By Andy Young

Special to The Windham Eagle

Some holidays merit celebrating more than others do.

Two of America’s ten federally designated days off from work, Christmas and New Year’s Day, occur within a week of one another. Add New Year’s Eve, and you’ve got three great excuses for rejoicing. No wonder that eight-day period is considered the culmination of the “holiday season.”

For the rest of the year, though, respites from the daily routine are few and far between. The six Monday holidays (Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Indigenous Peoples/Columbus Day) are always separated from one another by at least four weeks. And while Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11) and Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) fall just 11 days apart every six years or so, the fact remains: celebrating back-to-back holiday weekends in the same calendar year isn’t possible.

But who decides what constitutes a holiday? What about Halloween, Flag Day, and St. Patrick’s Day? Or Earth Day, Juneteenth, and Cinco de Mayo? What right does society have to limit the opportunities of law-abiding and productive citizens to commemorate special occasions?

This coming Saturday and Sunday will comprise, at least in my house, a second successive holiday weekend.

Last Saturday was my birthday, an occasion which always provides a dandy reason to celebrate. I know something good is going to happen on the annual anniversary of my birth, which is probably why it always does. And I appreciate it more with each passing year, especially since a wise and venerable friend recently reminded me that celebrating a birthday is infinitely preferable to no longer having the option of doing so.

This year my best birthday gift wasn’t one I got; it was one I gave. To mark the occasion I got up early, went to the Red Cross at 7 a.m., and emerged three-ish hours later having donated a load of healthy platelets to someone I’ll never meet. However, knowing the recipient is going to be as genuinely happy to receive them as I am about having the ability to give them means there are a minimum of two people with reason to celebrate Feb. 6 this year.

I also heard something about there having been a football game of some significance last weekend, but since my household is television-free, I cannot verify that as fact. But since Tom Brady’s picture was in Monday’s newspaper, I’m assuming he just won another Super Bowl. I was a little confused, though, about the uniform he was wearing. When did the Patriots change their team colors?

I’m a lot less enthusiastic about this weekend’s “holiday.” Valentine’s Day doesn’t exactly sneak up on anyone, particularly since the displays featuring candy hearts and lacey doilies started going up in all the local drug stores at about 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 26. Like most men my age who don’t own stock in Hallmark or Godiva Chocolates, I’m not a big fan of St. Valentine. But for many people his day is a special one, so I will be respectful and vicariously enjoy the occasion through others while observing it in a way that will not only be pragmatic, it will accurately reflect my personal opinion of the day.

At 10 a.m. on Feb. 14, I will be meeting with a CPA to find out how much income tax I’ll be paying this year.

There are probably more appropriate ways for me to observe the shameless cash grab that lobbyists for the candy and greeting card industries pass off as a holiday.  But hospitals don’t perform colonoscopies on Sundays.

And I don’t need a root canal. <

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