Random Asides

Shut Up and Have a Good Time!

I make the mistake every year of thinking the breakneck party pace is going to slow after New Years Day.

Every year I am wrong!

The new year actually marks the beginning of the party season, and that season lasts . . . well forever, as far as I can tell. I mean, we’ve barely cleaned all the confetti out of our hair and forced the echoes of Auld Lang Syne out of our ears when the next party in a long line of celebrations is upon us.

Now, I’m not really complaining (at least no more than is necessary for comic effect). But I do wonder if this is an indication that our lives are so empty we feel a need to fill them with more and more instances of elation, or if in fact, we are just the rocking, party animal species we think we are.

In the US, we typically begin the year with a huge party, which is not so unusual. New Years celebrations are worldwide. However, we then segue immediately into Martin Luther King Jr. Day to celebrate the people and accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement. That celebration then transitions to a celebration related to a professional football game and all the attendant hype — not to mention the commercial ads that go along with it. Are our lives so tedious and glum that we cannot even go one month without a celebration?

Well, that seems a fair question, but it’s worse than that.

After January, the parties come at a clip of two, sometimes three a month, if not more. The entire month of February is Black History month, and though I’m not black, I do not discriminate; and I especially do not discriminate when it comes to a celebration. Let the good times roll!

Also, though I can honestly say that I’ve never been to a Groundhog Day party, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the old, “Hey, you gotta go to the happy hour after work today. It’s Groundhog Day, man.”

Actually, I can tell you how many times I’ve heard that: Two. But I take those two instances to mean that some people somewhere are in fact celebrating Groundhog Day. After all, it is one of many traditions that define us as a species, and it demands to be recognized. We cannot overstate enough the importance of some rodent seeing its shadow.

Groundhog Day then gives way to St. Valentine’s Day. And Valentine’s Day, where not traditionally a huge party day, is nonetheless a day we are required by societal norms to celebrate. Not only must we take every opportunity to show the world we are happy by celebrating nonstop, we must also take every opportunity to show the world we are in love. It’s not enough to be kind and loving to our partners everyday because it’s how we feel and because that’s the way human beings should treat each other, but we get to let fine restaurants, greeting card companies, florists, jewelery stores, and candy shops be a part of our love, too. Everyone is in on our love celebration.

And it’s a good thing we have those significant others in our lives, because Mardi Gras is upon us after Valentine’s Day, and if we observe Mardi Gras the way it was intended to be observed, there’s a good chance we’re going to need someone close to us to raise enough money to bail us out of jail, because unfortunately, we can’t count on fine restaurants, greeting card companies, florists, jewelery stores, and candy shops to show us any love in that situation.

But even if our significant others leave us in jail to continue collecting beads, we might just have enough time to recuperate before St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day, as you no doubt know, is one of the drinking-est, most raucous days of the year. That it falls so soon after the February celebrations is bad enough, but in the US it usually comes the week before, if not the week of, March Madness. And no self-respecting basketball fan would refuse to pony up for a few pitchers at the local sports bar, no matter how much green beer or Irish whiskey he or she drank the day before.

Shortly thereafter, baseball season begins, and we have to celebrate opening day with parades and barbecues and festivals. After all, there are only 162 games in the season. It’ll be over before we know it, so let the party begin now. (I’m still not sure the Opening Day celebrations aren’t just residual pranks left over from April Fools Day with floats left over from Presidents Day, Mardi Gras, and MLK Day.)

Earth Day is a few short days later, and how could anyone one of us live with ourselves if we didn’t show how happy we are to have a planet on which to live. It certainly beats the alternative, so for one day we are conscious of the fragile eco-systems around us, even if we are oblivious to the fragile livers within our bodies.

There are a million different Easter celebrations in March/April as well. With the low, harmonic strains of hippie songs on Earth Day still hanging in the air, we eat, drink, parade, hunt eggs, and end Lent for the entire Easter weekend. It’s a party that takes us all the way to Arbor Day.

And the celebration beat goes on and on, right into May and beyond.

Today it’s Cinco de Mayo, a day commemorating the “Batalla de Puebla”, a battle won by the Mexican Army over the French. We are so celebration hungry in the US that we celebrate holidays from other countries. Boy I can hardly wait for Bastille Day . . . Oh, and the ever-popular Tag der Deutschen Einheit.

But though I may seem somewhat gruff about it, I keep going back for more and more. I’m celebrating Cinco de Mayo tonight, and I’ll observe Memorial day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, July Fourth, Labor Day and everything else between now and New Year’s Eve. I’ll even raise a toast on the more obscure holidays and all the birthday, anniversary, and festival celebrations in between.

The modern party calendar simply does not allow us to be alone and miserable, and I guess I’m okay with that.

In the immortal words of Cool and the Gang: “There’s a party goin’ on right here, A celebration to last throughout the years.”

And it just never ends.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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24 Comments

  1. Nice post! What about the corresponding beverages for each event?

    I suppose we should have a generous serving of sacred wine National Prayer Day!

    And to celebrate properly Cinco de Mayo, a bottle of Tequila is in order.

  2. But if you really want to convince me of your Ultimate Party Fu(tm), give me a holiday to celebrate…in August.

    Pick one, and we’ll start a tradition:

    Aug 1, 1969: THE BIRTH OF THE INTERNET

    Aug 2, 1909: THE LINCOLN PENNY ISSUED

    Aug 5, 1884: LADY LIBERTY’S CORNER STONE LAID

    Aug 6, 1945: AMERICA DROPS THE BOMB ON HIROSHIMA

    Aug 10, 1846: THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE WAS FOUNDED

    Aug 17, 1786: DAVY CROCKETT’S BIRTHDAY

    Aug 19, 1871: ORVILLE WRIGHT’S BIRTHDAY

    Aug 21, 1959: HAWAII BECOMES THE 50th STATE

  3. Some of those aren’t bad. I like the Lincoln penny one the best, and I live within 10 miles of the national mall, so the Smithsonian anniversary has a certain appeal.

    I don’t think I could celebrate the Hiroshima bombing…but August 6th is also Root Beer Float Day.

    In addition we have the following yummy holidays:

    August 4th: Champagne Day and Chocolate Chip Day (If that doesn’t say “party” I don’t know what does.)

    August 10th: S’mores Day

    August 14th: Creamsicle Day

    August 19th: Soft Ice Cream Day

    August 21st: Spumoni Ice Cream Day

    August 25th: Banana Split Day (also Kiss and Make Up Day)

    Non-Sugary:

    August 13th: Left-Handers Day (for those of us in our right minds)

    August 26th: Women’s Equality Day (Can’t miss this one on Skepchick!)

    But my personal favorite is
    .
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    August 16th: Roller Coaster Day!

  4. I can’t believe you didn’t mention the Stanley Cup playoffs!

    The Stanley Cup holds fourteen beers for cryin’ out loud. If that think ain’t made for parties, I don’t know what is!

    I know. There are many other sporting event celebrations I could’ve mentioned as well. The Kentucky Derby, for example, was this past weekend.

    Now, I’m not equating horse racing to hockey by any stretch, but the Derby is yet another opportunity for the discerning alcoholic to parttake of the bounty; what with all the mint juleps and Kentucky bourbon available.

  5. In addition we have the following yummy holidays: . . .

    Hey, it’s the over-consumption that really marks a good celebration. I suppose it doesn’t matter what’s being over-consumpted.

  6. Social primates like to socialize, no problem with that. Then again your post did seem more indicative of your (presumed by me) age than anything else. Youth can be prone to rather morose ponderings about the most happy and joyful things!

    And I’m complete toast the morning after Hawaii statehood day!!

  7. Then again your post did seem more indicative of your (presumed by me) age than anything else. Youth can be prone to rather morose ponderings about the most happy and joyful things!

    You shouldn’t presume. When you presume, it makes a . . . . priest? . . . . out of u and me.

  8. Dude, August IS a holiday… well, holimonth, I guess. It’s Rystefn’s Birthday-Drink-a-Thon-Month. Celebrations about. Traditional decorations include as many liquor bottles as you can empty over the course of the celebration and random bits of clothing tossed aside and left where they fall in the passion of the moment.

    Traditionally, we begin celebration in early June and carry it through the whole Rystefn’s Birthday-Drink-a-Thon-Month season, which lasts until TRF closes, usually the weekend after Thanksgiving.

  9. ah, Ben Franklin was so close when he said “beer is proof that God exists and wants us to be happy.”

    I offer: “fermented beverages are proof that science works and human ingenuity will find myriad ways to keep the party rolling”

  10. Cinco de Mayo in Phoenix, Az, is umm, pretty fun. I’m from NY and have never seen a Cinco de Mayo Celebration like the ones in Az (where I live now).

    Yes. I live in Texas, and the celebrations here are great, too. Of course, the large hispanic population in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Cali has a lot to do with it, but we had a great time.

  11. I never really managed to wrap my brain around the idea of celebrating the ability of the Mexican army to temporarily stave off the French, but if it gets me a discount on Mexican food and an excuse to go out an party, I’ll run with it.

  12. Ever since I was a little tyke, I always liked having an August birthday for this very reason — it’s the only month without a holiday. (The appreciation for an extra excuse to drink came later.)

    Roller Coaster Day, though, I’m not sure … I’m not sure how well that goes with large quantities of beer. *urp*

  13. For those of us who rode the demon roller coaster to impress the fair sex, a little bit of liquid courage may have made riding the devil spawn on wheels a little easier when we were in our teenage years.

    Now that I am an adult, I don’t need such an occasion as as excuse to drink, but a holiday does make it easier to explian to the kids!

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