September 13, 2007 – Fall Festivus
With weeks to go until Reformation Sunday and Halloween—neither of which are very big holidays, after all—I am exercising my American prerogative to want what everyone else seems to have already: a holiday.
Yes, I know we just had Labor Day. While we duly labored at our house, cleaning up after the flood all day long, somehow it just didn’t bring joy. In fact, Labor Day never brought joy. For more years than I would like to admit, my father had me believing that Labor Day was a special family holiday dedicated to hard work around the house and yard. But how would I have known any better? Every year I was awoken early on Labor Day with a loud whistle and an announcement in stentorian tones, “Good morning! It’s Labor Day! Time to get up and work!” And work we did, all day long. Was that a WASP thing to do?
Actually, I don’t just want a holiday, I want a whole bunch of holidays. I need that to keep up. The Jews get more than a week, and the Muslims get a whole month. Is this fair? When it comes to loafing, it’s not an easy thing being a Protestant. But hey, this is America. Have a dream, get a goal, go for it.
Having achieved the dream and the goal quite easily, I am a little lost on how to go for it. How can you find a holiday? Make one up? Borrow someone else’s? I suppose I could convert, but seriously, a Christian is supposed to be out winning souls for Jesus, not converting, so you can cross that one off the list.
In a burst of ecumenicsal enthusiasm I checked a Roman Catholic “saint of the day” site, figuring that Southern Europe takes lots of days off under the guise of celebrating Saint’s Days. All that celebrating is pretty much what I had in mind, after all, and it all seems very jolly on those travelogues. Plus, they have good food in Southern Europe, and it's probably better on Saint's Days. Catholic isn’t 100% cheating, is it?
Well, if borrowing, ecumenical style, is going to work, its going to have to be another day. All I can find for September 13 is St. John Chrysostom, who seemed pretty promising at first. I knew a girl once whose father was a minister at St. Crysostom's church in Chicago and she was nice and fun loving, too. In fact, St. Crysostom's isn't even Catholic, its Anglican. I figured I was making real progress. Then I came across this: “John Chrysostom's preaching, by word and example, exemplifies the role of the prophet to comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable.” That’s not exactly what I had in mind. . .
How about a Fall Festivus? You remember Festivus, don't you, the holiday for the rest of us? They have it around Christmas, but who’s to say that Festivus can only come once a year? I don't think there are Festivus rules. But how would it be celebrated in the fall? I would have to think about that.
"Going for it" has exhausted me. I'm looking for a holiday, not work. Could it be that what I really need is a vacation?