Op-ed piece from The Pioneer, 4 August 1995

Holiday verbosity
Joel Edelman

Summer and romance are two words commonly aligned and, with all the summer love in the air, is it any wonder that St. Valentine’s Day is in February, the middle of winter? Perhaps if you can make a relationship last all the way through a hard winter, then that significant other is worth a token of your gratitude after all.

Some couples, however, have taken gift-giving beyond the scope of specific holidays, and into a new era of “because I want to show how much I care about you.” From a male point of view, I admit this is very nice. Not only can I give a gift strictly out of the goodness of my heart, but it makes it that much easier to forget all those birthdays and anniversaries.

Now, Hallmark has fought back with their “creation” of new holidays, such as “Sweetest Day,” and the like. Only they can get away with literally picking a date from a hat, and designating it a special day of some sort. In 20 years, the majority of the population may think that Groundhog Day was invented by “the greeting card experts” as a card for Farm Aid.

Some of these days may end up disappearing. I doubt that Asparagus Salesmen Day has the appeal to stand the test of time. However, one special day has become a mainstay. Although not celebrated by many, Grandparents’ Day has made an impact in the greeting card industry (read: other companies make cards for this “holiday” as well). Every year over four million greeting cards are sold for this occasion. Cards tend to run almost two bucks these days, so $8 million is spent each year to wish parents’ parents a happy day. There are no breakfasts in bed, no trips to the ballgame, just a friendly $2 of love.

When I was growing up in San Jose, I didn’t have such days to worry about. I admired Martin Luther King, Jr. for his efforts for racial equality as well as the day off from school. Maybe someday there will be cards for this holiday as well. I would have given one to my first grade teacher. She taught me the “other,” more important reason we celebrate his birthday as a holiday.

If I wanted to give my grandparents Ñ or any relative for that matter Ñ a card, I would make one. I would put crayon to paper and facetiously say, “Grandpa Edelman, I love you because you’re wonderful… and you give me quarters, too.”

I would bet you all the quarters my grandfather has ever given me that I could find a greeting card that said the exact same thing. I am fairly confident that when I have kids and when the Long-haired Parental Unit Day rolls along I will receive a card from the little tykes that reads, “Happy Long-haired Parental Unit Day… if it wasn’t for you, then we would not be here.” It will have a computer-enhanced image of their signature when they turn 18, so I will know it is from them. (With all the DNA technology existing these days, would anything surprise you?)

Every calendar lists a different set of holidays. One BBS (Bulletin Board Service) that I call for KSUH radio, lists holidays in effect on that date. There usually are at least three or four listed. Many are religious holidays (Yom Kippur, for example). Others are “industry manufactured.” I think today is Love Your Barber Day.

Andy Rooney once said about memorial holidays, such as Dr. King’s, that instead of remembering them upon their death, we should be kinder to them when they are still alive.

Despite all the holidays in our society, there are still no holidays in August. You would think a month created by Augustus would have the most holidays as well, but this is not the case. As we add Porcupine Awareness Week, we still fail to include August in the mix.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you can e-mail me at jughead@inferno.com. Or you can listen to me on KSUH Tuesdays from 2-4 p.m., Thursday from 10-Noon and Friday from Noon-2 p.m., check your cable listings for channel number. Take care now, and have a good Atari 2600 Remembrance Day.

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