In Observance of…Sofas?

I am writing this from an insane asylum. Padded walls. White coats. Horrible food. Rats in the ceiling. I had a psychiatrist friend admit me for one day and night. Just enough time to make it through…Presidents Day.

Where would we be without Presidents Day? Oh, wait! I know…we’d be at work!

We’d be slaving away on a typical lethargic Monday, dragging ourselves throughout the office like a disoriented group of slothful slugs, greeting each other in the language of mumble, and forever regretting why we didn’t call in sick.

Luckily, Presidents Day was created and our lives have been spared that one extra Monday that might’ve just done us in. However, there’s an inaccuracy going on here that I must address. Mainly, that there are many people who do work on Presidents Day and don’t have the luxury to take Monday off.

For the privileged many, most of these workers are city, state, and federal workers, as well as financial institution employees. According to the posted signs at their workplaces, will not be at work because their offices “WILL BE CLOSED IN OBSERVANCE OF PRESIDENTS DAY.” They will be honoring, respecting, and observing the past Presidents of the United States.

Excuse me, while I go smack my head against the wall.

Just how do these people observe the holiday? What exactly is it that they do to pay honor to the Presidents of the United States? Do they gather their families ‘round the hearth of a stone fire place ablaze with good warmth for all ye to share presidential lore of days gone by? Is this fire stoked with fresh, hearty wood cut by axe and saw in the same spirit that our forefathers must have done during the Washington, Adams, and Jefferson eras? Or are they at the public library reading volumes upon volumes of presidential history books? (Actually, they can’t be doing that since the libraries are closed. So they must have checked out their books the week before.) And if they were too busy for a library visit, then certainly these people commit time on the internet, searching whatever might intrigue them, be it normal or obscure: great presidential decisions, Truman vs. Japan, Roosevelt vs. Hitler, and historic vetoes. How long does it take to mow the White House lawn? When did the White House first get central air conditioning? What President was the worst swimmer? Which President couldn’t sing any better than a strangled goat? The presidential search options are endless!

But, seriously folks, are there really any local, state, federal or financial institution employees who observe the presidents on Presidents Day? I’m willing to bet one crisp Ulysses S. Grant fifty-dollar bill that not one single person exists. And if they do, they’re doing it under a heavy spell of hypnosis:

Hypnotist: “Repeat after me: ‘I, United States Postal worker. Do swear. That I. Skip meals to bury myself in Google searches about Rutherford B. Hayes’ insistence to demolish The Great Railroad Strike of 1877’.”

No, I think otherwise. I think these recipients of the presidential three-day weekend (how convenient), spend their time a little more…Americanly, if I may coin a new word. Let’s take a look at one state workers’ Monday off in observance of Presidents Day. His name is Harold. He works in a cubicle in a federal building. No one, including his boss, really knows what he does. In fact, no one knows what his boss does either.

Harold wakes up at 11:35am, Monday morning. His head is pounding, severely hung over from last night’s keg party at the federal building he works in. All employees were in attendance. All employees left wearing someone else’s clothes. Harold, miraculously, found his way home wearing a red satin dress and cowboy boots. His Hagar slacks and Izod shirt are forever missing.

He showers, gets dressed, and eats an English muffin while watching TV. Flipping through the channels, he stares in blank engagement. Flipping, flipping, and flipping. And then bingo! He spots a channel running an ad for a local furniture store.

It’s an “ALL LIQUIDATION PRESIDENTS DAY EVERYTHING MUST SELL! SELL! SELL! SALE!!!” ALL RECLINERS 50% OFF!!! ALL SECTIONAL SOFAS 60% OFF!!! AND ALL PORCELAIN LAMPS 70% OFF!!!

His wife comes running into the room waving the morning newspaper in her hand. “Harold! Oh, Harold! J.C. Penny is having a Presidents Day storewide 50-75% off sale on ALL BRAS!!!” She ruffles through the ad pages and comes across a full-page spread for Dick’s Sporting Goods. “Oh, my God!! Dick’s is having a ‘BAT IT! SWAT IT! MASH IT OUT OF THE BALL PARK 80% OFF EVERYTHING SALE!!!!’.”

Harold and his wife do a quick change out of their matching plaid pajamas and into some casual wear. They charge out of the house as if a meteorite had just landed in their street, and they wanted to be the first to witness its cratering impact. Into the car they jump, and off they go, headed to the beltway around town where the mega-stores are all lined up, each patriotically fronted with a ginormous American flag large enough to cover their house. Neon orange, green, and yellow signs are plastered on every square inch of store window space. LIQUIDATION! EVERYTHING MUST GO! ONE DAY ONLY!!!

Presidents Day has arrived in predictable fashion. Businesses adorned in repulsive colors guaranteeing only the best deals on the best products. Indeed, a meteorite has hit—one intent on shattering any previous Presidents Day Sale records.

Harold and his wife pull into the crowded J.C. Penny parking lot. A busy, happening place. “Look!’ shouts Harold happily, “There’s our post man! And there’s two of my co-workers! And there’s that bank teller!” Oh, what a joyous union of a privileged group. All to be found beneath the glorious sunshine in….

Observance of Presidents Day.

Excuse me, there’s a knock at the door of my padded-wall room. It’s two men in white coats holding a straight jacket, and one has a very, very large syringe. They could not have come at a better time.

Copyright Ros Hill 2016

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