Read more Mad Dog
on the Road!
by Mad Dog
If you live in a Hallmark card, your holidays
were spent quietly with your family and friends. In reality, you were probably up at dawn,
raced around to four houses, ate four Christmas dinners, and felt it was a successful day
because it resulted in no fist fights, gunshot wounds or salmonella poisoning.
loves a celebration. Birthdays, anniversaries, bi-centennials, graduation from decoupage
school, theres no such thing as an excuse too lame to have a celebration.
Of course were just completing another round
of the big celebration season, what with Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwaanza, New Years
Eve, and Boxing Day, which as you know is celebrated in Australia, Canada and Great
Britain but not here in the United States, a topic which would make most boxers say
"Huh?", which is about all you can expect to hear from someone whos career
choice features having their head repeatedly battered around by people with the strength
of a car crusher.
After all the hustle and bustle is over,
its good to sit back and take stock of how we celebrate our holidays. If you live in
a Hallmark card, your holidays were spent quietly with your family and friends, sitting
around a flickering fireplace drinking hot chocolate and roasting chestnuts no one ever
eats. In reality, you were probably up at dawn, raced around to four houses (since
everyones divorced and you have to visit all sets of parents or youll never
get another sterling silver pizza cutter as long as you live), ate four Christmas dinners
(only one of which was edible--if youre lucky), and felt it was a successful day
because it resulted in no fist fights, gunshot wounds or salmonella poisoning. Face it,
Norman Rockwell lied.
In Thailand theyve come up with a more humane way of keeping the population down
while they celebrate --they get vasectomies.
|| But its not
like this all over the globe. Well, maybe at Christmas it is, but the rest of the year
its very different. In Ireland on St. Patricks Day, the Irish go to church and
thank St. Patrick, their patron saint, for driving the snakes out of their homeland. Here
in the United States we celebrate St. Patricks Day by throwing parades and parties
and giving thanks to the inventors of green dye and potable alcohol. Somehow it would seem
more appropriate if we celebrated Clare of Assisi Day and Bernadine of Siena Day, who are
the patron saints of television and advertising.
In Mexico they celebrate holidays by breaking piñatas. These are brightly colored
packages which hang from string and are battered and beat by children holding baseball
bats until their contents--candy and toys--fly out all over the place, causing a mad
scramble in which young children are often trampled, leaving more candy for the others.
This is a lot like the games street gangs play in East Los Angeles except, of course, they
use live kids as the piñata.
In Spain they celebrate many holidays by
letting bulls run through the streets, which is not only extremely festive, but a highly
effectively means of reducing the population. Meanwhile, in Thailand theyve come up
with a more humane way of keeping the population down while they celebrate --they get
vasectomies. Thats right, in a recent rite to honor King Bhumibol Adulyadejs
50th year on the throne, hundreds of otherwise sane Thai men had their tubes snipped, tied
and generally rendered ineffective. Personally I dont want to be around to see how
they celebrate his 60th anniversary.
Face it, most American high school students think SAT is the past tense of...of....well,
they know its French and, after all, isnt that really whats important?
|| South Korea, now
they know how to celebrate big. Huge masses of people roam the streets, beating gongs and
carrying on while handing out "yot", which are pressed sticks of caramel-laced
rice, sort of an Asian Rice Krispies Treat. Ten thousand additional traffic police are out
to keep control. Extra taxis and subway trains are everywhere. And what are they
celebrating? The completion of the college entrance exams.
Thats right. While South Koreans may not think the X-Files are worth not having a
social life over, they do take their college entrance exams very seriously. Mothers pray,
airplanes are banned from landing and taking off during critical parts of the test, and
people go to work an hour later than usual so the students wont be caught in rush
hour traffic. Contrast this with the United States, where exam day means missing your
friends at the mall, having to wear your baseball cap brim forward, and then going home
and trying to convince your parents that Hamburger University is so a real college. Face
it, most American high school students think SAT is the past tense of...of....well, they
know its French and, after all, isnt that really whats important?
But before you make your holiday plans, no
matter what holiday it is, I suggest you check several sources. Last November 21st a woman
in Jackson, TN (who shall remain nameless because shes already been through enough
and we dont need to rub in just what an idiot she is) had Thanksgiving dinner all
cooked and ready and was waiting for the family to come over when she found out she was a
week early. It turned out it wasnt her fault. The calendar she got from
Jackson-Madison County General Hospital (motto: "Which leg was it again that has to
come off?") had the wrong dated marked as Thanksgiving.
You know, maybe the Thai concept of
celebrating holidays isnt such a bad idea after all.
©1996 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
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