It may not be the most politically correct liking to admit, but I've always liked Columbus Day.
Not that I hold any particular fondness or respect for old Cristobal. Sure, it took some guts to get on a creaky wooden hulk and sail off into the sunset to see whether the earth was flat or round - talk about a nasty 'what if' scenario. But I don't blame him for wreaking great havoc on native Americans, despoiling the New World, etc. If Columbus hadn't discovered America, someone else would have. (Wait, wasn't that already Leif Ericson. Or was it St. Brendan?)
And I'm just happy someone discovered it so that I didn't have to end up hatched in the back arse of nowhere Ireland, or the back arse of nowhere Germany. (No comments about getting hatched in Worcester, which is the Heart of the Commonwealth, and not the back arse of anywhere.)
No, I've always liked Columbus Day because it was a day off of school and, sometimes, work. Because the weather in early October can be pretty glorious around these parts, as it is this weekend: blue-sky, sweater weather. Because it provides an opportunity for an ethnic group - in this case the Italians - to get out and strut their stuff a bit. Because it's a holiday with no particular commercial overlay, other than the car and furniture dealers who use it to announce sales. Because there's a big 10K race for women that goes right by my house.
It's just a low key, no real purpose in mind kind of holiday.
We could use more of them.
Especially this year.
When my head especially hurts.
Needless to say, the economy in general is making my head hurt. In particular, the things that make my head hurt:
- All mention of the Wall Street roller coaster
- The clang of the closing bell
- Shots of crazed traders on the floor
- The idea that some unworthy jerks will make out from the various bailouts
- My 401K (which actually doesn't make my head hurt, as I'm not going to look at it for at least 3 years; maybe 4)
- The idea that a lot of people are going to lose their jobs, and that we're in for a big, collective hurtin' (even if I also think that some of the hoohah is a necessary corrective for years of excess and bad-doing)
It's not just the economy, stupid.
- Sarah Palin makes my head hurt; I want her to have a starring role in Fargo II, not in Washington (you betcha!).
- John McCain was making my head hurt, too; but watching him trying to come down the crowd ('....but he's an Arab!) was like taking an aspirin. Maybe it was a baby aspirin, given that it seemed a bit grudging. And, earth to John McCain: Arabs can, in fact, be family men. But thanks just the same, Senator.
- Manny Ramirez makes my head hurt - but hopefully not for much longer. If some team actually signs him to the 5 years/$85M I heard he's looking for, my head will really hurt.
- Manny's agent, Scott Boras, always makes my head hurt.
- Comcast makes my head hurt. Mostly I used to like them, but we lost Internet, TV, and one phone for 24 hours and, except for the cable guy who showed up, the service was pretty rude; plus they just fired Bob Cousy as an occasional Celtics' announcer, and demoted Tom Heinsohn to the Cousy's old role. The upside of not having had Comcast for 24 hours was having the great pleasure of listening to Friday night's Red Sox playoff win on Friday night. I'd forgotten just how good baseball is on the radio. There is no upside to the firing of The Cooz and the demotion of Tommy H. Boo!
- Bags of Brach's Halloween Mix used to contain candy corn/harvest corn, pumpkins, bats, cats, and moons; as far as I can tell, the bags on the shelves this year just have candy corn/harvest corn, and a measly couple of pumpkins. So Brach's makes my head hurt.
But it's a beautiful day out there. And even for us consultants it's a quasi day off.
Happy Columbus Day!