Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy ((Washington's Birthday) - 2)

When my children were younger, their birthday celebrations were rarely on their actual birthdays. We would pick a day that was most convenient for us, and for any possible attendees.

Now that they're older, and somewhat more cognizant of the numbers on a calendar, the kids prefer the celebrations be on the exact dates of their births (or rather the anniversaries thereof).

Makes sense I suppose. I mean, we're celebrating a very specific day. Some people like cake and ice cream, some like piƱatas. Others prefer pinning tails on donkeys or running the celebrant through a tunnel of spankers. The ways to celebrate birthdays are as varied as the individuals being celebrated, but among all these variables, shouldn't the one constant be the date itself? Else why associate the name of the day with birth at all? Why not just have annual, "we're all happy you're still alive" parties?

And so I come to my point. George Washington was born on February 22, and yet we celebrate his birthday on the third Monday in February. Any third grader who has learned how to multiply by seven will be able to deduce that the third Monday in February will never fall on the 22nd. Why couldn't it have been the fourth Monday in February? At least then we would occasionally get it right. And why does it have to be on a Monday at all? Well, as to that, it's because of the "Uniform Monday Holiday Act" - essentially the federal government's way of saying, "Honey I know your birthday is on Wednesday, but Aunt Marge won't be able to come unless we do it on Monday."

Can we please stop treating the father of our country like a two-year-old? He knows when his birthday is. And, though as a rule I am a fan of irony, the fact that the federal government has honored George Washington - a man who fought to establish a less invasive government - by literally taking away his birthday... well, that's so much irony that it cloys in my mouth.

Now, of the five people who will eventually read this post, I'm sure there will be at least one apt to argue that the holiday is called Presidents Day, not Washington's Birthday. To you I say, you're wrong. While some individual states have changed the name internally, the federal holiday is called Washington's Birthday.