I realize granting Election Day national holiday status is a tough sell. Some (employers, likely) might argue our yearly calendar is already crowded with nationally observed holidays. As such, the addition of another observed holiday in our yearly calendar could prove ruinous for our country, where employees receive an average of 17 vacation days, compared with England’s 28 and France’s 37.5.
So, with respect to the urgent needs of American industry to keep apace—after all, those scented candles and Who’s Your Daddy? Blu-Ray discs aren’t going to sell themselves—I'm offering a simple solution: let’s trade. Give us Election Day, and toss one of America’s “B-team” holidays on the scrap heap. I offer the following vacation days for your reconsideration.
It's telling that Googling the question “What is President’s Day?” returns over 100,000 results. Inquiring after any of the holiday’s variants—Presidents, Presidents’—provides double the results. And why not? This holiday’s spelling is as elusive as its intent. Originally designed to honor our first President, the holiday was eventually date-shifted to the third Monday of February. These days President’s Day is observed sometime before Washington’s birthday (Feb. 22nd) and after Lincoln’s (Feb. 12th), drifting aimlessly between two of our nations’ more revered Presidents, much as an Oberlin undergrad drifts between sexual orientations. Is a holiday with such a weak sense of conviction really worth celebrating? Probably not. I would suggest scrapping the holiday, and asking auto dealerships and JCPenney to just pick a random Saturday for their big annual sales.
Here’s something you never hear anyone say: “Got any big plans for Columbus Day?” That’s because it’s not so much a holiday as it is a glorified sick day. Columbus Day typically comes and goes with only a sliver of recognition—it has my vote for Holiday Most Likely to be Recognized Only When Employees Accidentally Go to the Office Before Realizing They Had The Day Off. And, no offense intended to Italian-Americans, Christopher Columbus was not necessarily your biggest star. He was an errand boy, sent by Spanish royalty, to collect a bill, and he still showed up at the wrong address. Wouldn’t you rather celebrate a great Italian-American we can all get behind, like Joe Dimaggio or Frank Stallone?
New Year’s Day
Are we such a nation of alcoholics and brunch addicts that we sincerely need a holiday that is, in its essence, a nationally observed enabler? Or are we so naive as a species that we need a full day to adjust to the intense emotional transformation we all experience with the changing of a calendar year? I’d like to think New Year’s Day can be explained by the latter—that many Americans spend that day at home, busily swapping out their page-a-day “Bad Cat” desk calendars, and practicing dating their checks. But of course that’s not likely. New Year’s Day is not much more than a national hangover, and is that something we can be proud of? Yes. But I’d still trade it out if it meant more people would vote.
What better way to demonstrate the might and muscle of the American workforce than slipping into a pair of hemmed denim shorts, heading to the closest state park with your family, and slowly getting stoned on Bud Lights and hot dog preservatives? Lounging about, exchanging pleasantries with each other about the sear on that grilled sirloin on a day designed to honor the working class. Imagine what China must think of us! I’ll bet they spend their Labor Day doing double-shifts on the house. (China is still a thing, right?) I am a proud supporter of our brave men and women in cubicles, but I can’t really fathom a holiday that’s meant to be observed ironically. So get back to work, you collective lazybones.
Martin Luther King Day
Yeah, I’m not touching this one. Enjoy it, whenever it is!