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April 23, 2014

New holidays

If there’s one thing we Americans love, it’s our Jefferson-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of taking off our pants and sipping a few cold ones in the recliner. Despite our reputation for workaholism, much of our working life consists of going on Facebook and making plans for other, more festive -aholisms, which we excel at and should possibly seek help for.

But until then, what choice do we have? There are so many holidays! And by “so many” I mean “not nearly enough.” Sure, we have a lot of holidays already, but most of them are a bit shopworn. We have holidays devoted to war and conquest, including Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Independence Day and Columbus Day. And we have holidays to celebrate our imaginary friends, like Santa, the Easter Bunny and Jesus.

We also have lots of other days devoted to whimsy that aren’t strictly holidays, including April Fools, Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day and Halloween, plus ones devoted to getting completely shitfaced, like St. Patrick’s Day, 420 and Thanksgiving. And yes: It’s important to remember where we come from. But in the era of The Cloud, we need some new holidays that better reflect our times. Here are some suggestions: 

Data Honesty Day

Now that our corporate overlords hold dominion over our personal data, we’re all becoming far too predictable. On Data Honesty Day, we could take a day to become absolutely truthful about ourselves online. Unlike every other day, when we lie to the social networks, making ourselves and our kids sound 20 percent smarter, funnier, better looking and more accomplished than we really are, Data Honesty Day could be that one day a year when we are absolutely truthful about ourselves online. By being deceptively honest, we could throw the overlords a curveball and we might even keep the robots and drones at bay for another few years.

Billionaire Relief Day

There’s no denying it: Billionaires are cool and we all want to become one. Whether they got rich by manipulating financial markets, force-feeding us addictive industrial compounds, stealing other people’s proprietary software or appropriating our personal data, billionaires deserve not only our forfeited access to the middle class but also our daily worship. But even billionaires probably get embarrassed about all of the devotion, so we should create a holiday — Billionaire Relief Day — for them to have a break from all our fawning attention.

Journalism Memorial Day

A solemn holiday to honor the memory of news reporting, Journalism Memorial Day would pay tribute to this once-great bedrock of democracy and an important source of crossword puzzles and “Pearls Before Swine.” But like all of our solemn holidays, we should make sure it falls on a Monday so we can honor it by partying our asses off for three days in a row, then watching the coverage on “Good Morning America.” 

PharmaRoulette Day

Sure, we all share each other’s pharmaceuticals every day simply by drinking water, but sometimes you want to go beyond microscopic doses of statins and Viagra and really, you know, binge. On PharmaRoulette Day, friends and family could gather together, toss a few random pills in a bowl, give it a spin and everybody draws something out. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear! 

Climate Goldilocks Day

Someday our descendants will all fry or be swept away by hurricanes if they foolishly go outside, but today the climate is often quite lovely. We should take strong action now by creating Climate Goldilocks Day so future generations can enjoy a celebration of the good ol’ days when the climate was just right. We should hold it in August and mark the day by driving around with the A/C on.

In Japan, there are so many people who work themselves to death that they have a word for it: karoshi. We should heed this cautionary tale and create more holidays. It’s kind silly that we’ve contrived an economic narrative where most of us work five days per week and have two days we call the “weekend.” We should reverse that concept and take Saturday through Wednesday off. Not only would this produce more happiness, but it would also stimulate the economy. At least in the booze and recliner industries.