Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Monday, January 19, 2009

More Days Off

Two friends and I had a discussion this week and ultimately arrived at the following possibly unanswerable question. If you were attending a party and the host said Oprah and Stedman were coming over, which is more likely?

A) Oprah Winfrey and Stedman whatever were actually coming to the party.

B) A different Oprah and Stedman were coming. Let's say Oprah Kubelsky and Stedman whomever.

Clearly, it's most likely that the party's host is simply a lying dirtbag, but leave that aside. Can the probabilities be determined?

A few years ago, I wrote a piece suggesting perhaps we ought to honor people like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King on the days they died rather than the days they were born. Obviously, the idea is a bit morbid, perhaps even a little tasteless, but part of the overall point was these men were killed primarily for the principles they espoused and they were good principles. That's something Americans ought not to forget. That writing advocated making holidays of April 4th and 14th to honor the aforementioned men, but an idea occurred to me today that would retain a national holiday for the third Monday in January.

Benjamin Franklin was born January 17, 1706. I can think of no American who does not already have a holiday more deserving of one. It's strange that as revered and admired as Franklin was and is, he is not individually commemorated at any particular time during the year. Admittedly, old Ben was a notorious skirtchaser, a rake, and by some accounts a lamentable father. But so what? Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and King all were flawed men. Flawed need not mean "less great." And though this point should be obvious, we would honor Mr. Franklin on his date of birth rather than his date of death because he did not perish violently as a result of a courageous and controversial stand he took, though he was indeed a courageous man who risked a great deal to help found the country.

Not everyone can have a holiday, even though there are considerably more than 365 citizens of any country who probably deserve one. And not everyone can agree on who has earned a holiday either. Sometimes it seems like if a vote on whom to award a holiday in this were ever taken, it would result in a 300 million way tie with each person supporting him or herself. If I ever got my own holiday, I wouldn't want it to fall on my birthday or the day I died, but on the first really pleasant Friday of each year. Now that's a holiday!


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