May is my favorite month for several reasons: The weather is finally turning mild and sunny. The days are getting longer. And it has some fun holidays, like No Pants Day. Yes, that’s a real holiday.
I love the month of May. It’s one of my 12 favorite months. Flowers are blooming. Summer is around the corner. And the air is thick with the sweet aroma of fresh-cut grass (not from my yard, mind you – I usually wait until mid-August to break out the mower – or whenever my wife gets fed up and threatens to make us visit her relatives for a week – whichever comes first).
May is also the time of year when I polish up my golf clubs and head out for my first – and in most years, last – round of golf. That’s because by the seventh hole, I usually remember why I hate that miserable, cruel, soul-crushing sport.
But perhaps one of my favorite aspects of this month involves all the fun holidays that are observed. Of course, there are the major holidays like Star Wars Day on May 4th (so named because then you can say “May the 4th be with you”).
Right on the heels of Star Wars Day comes the always festive holiday Cinco de Mayo, observed on May 5th. I’m not sure what this holiday was originally meant to celebrate. I’m guessing something to do with Mexico’s longstanding love affair with mayonnaise as a condiment.
Then there’s Mother’s Day. But that holiday is only celebrated by people who have moms. Feel free to skip that minor holiday – unless you have a mom or are married to one, in which case, you’d better not forget the date like I did last year. My wife still hasn’t forgiven me. In my defense, the Goodyear 400 NASCAR race was on Fox Sports so I had a very full plate that day.
What many people may not know is that May has several other slightly more obscure holidays every bit as fun as Cinco de Mayonnaise and Start Wars Day. If you’re looking for reasons to play hooky, why not tell your boss you won’t be able to make it into work because you’re celebrating one of these lesser known holidays? Here are just a few of my favorite actual honest-to-God May holidays:
No Pants Day (May 5th)
Celebrated on the first Friday in May, the origin of this holiday dates back to the 1980s. Like most great holidays, it was started by a bunch of drunk college kids (in this case, from the University of Texas) as a prank. It celebrates the freedom from having to conform to a society that requires men to wear pants. It first appeared when a bunch of UT students decided to take off their pants right after finals and parade around campus in their underwear.
May 20th: Be a Millionaire Day (an actual holiday). On this day, you can act like you’re the richest person you know. All you need to celebrate is to start with a million bucks. Either that or marry George Clooney or Dolly Parton.
Surprisingly, not one of the students who instigated this craze has ever won a Nobel Prize – although several apparently went on to distinguished careers as members of the Texas State Legislature. While you’re not legally required to get totally hammered, if you really want to get into the spirit of this holiday, experts say getting sloshed helps. If you’ve never previously tried alcohol, this might be an excellent day to start.
National Talk Like Yoda Day (May 21st)
This holiday was first created in 2003, inspired by the Jedi master’s wisdom and wit. Fans celebrate this important annual tradition by coming together and mimicking the way Yoda talks. On this day, you’ll hear people all over the world – and by “people” I mean males in their twenties who haven’t had a date in a long time – speaking words of supposed great intellect using Yoda’s unusual, high-pitched voice and convoluted sentence structure.
I have to say, it’s highly amusing talking like Yoda. I celebrated this special day last year by asking my wife questions in the style of the diminutive Star Wars character incessantly all day long. I remember it clearly, because that’s the day she screamed in frustration, “Oh my God. I’m married to a seven-year-old!” To which I eruditely replied, “My talking this way annoying you, dear, is it?” Then she made me sleep on the couch. A fan of Yoda not everyone is, concluded have I.
National Lost Sock Memorial Day (May 9th)
Some geniuses decided it was a brilliant idea to set aside one day each year to commemorate all the socks we’ve lost over the decades. What happened to them? How did they meet their tragic fate? Will they ever be reunited in sock heaven?
May 11th: Eat What You Want Day, Celebrate this real holiday by eating whatever you want – as much as you want. If you plan to celebrate by eating all the broccoli you can fit into your pie hole, see a psychiatrist. There’s something seriously wrong with you.
Now there’s an actual holiday to help us honor the memory of these dear departed feet coverings. Even though this holiday technically falls in May, I’ve found that whenever I accidentally show up for a formal, special occasion wearing one black sock and one dark blue one, I simply mention that I’m doing my small part to mourn the loss of two pairs of socks. People rarely ask me any follow-up questions… and usually slowly back away from me.
As much as I love the month of May, in some ways, I love June every bit as much. After all, it’s hard to beat a month that has a holiday called National Chocolate Ice Cream Day (June 7th). I’d better put that date on my calendar before I forget. Looks like someone’s not going to be able to make it into work that day.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
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Once upon a time there was a humble family man named Tim. Tim loved the holiday season more than any other time of year – all the traditional songs, twinkling lights, frosted gingerbread cookies – but most of all, seeing the magic of Christmas in his kids’ eyes. Yes, Tim was blessed with two wonderful daughters, Rachel and Emily. He remembered so many wonderful Christmases from their youth with fondness.
However, in recent years, as his girls grew older and more independent, Tim sensed that the holiday spirit was slipping away from their Christmas gatherings. Indeed, this might be the last year that the entire family would be together for the holiday as both girls were busy with their careers in far-away cities. So, Tim made up his mind. He was going to bring back the magic of Christmas one last time!
The holidays were rapidly approaching. Emily arrived home first. Tim was so excited to see his younger daughter. After all, he’d not seen her in six full moons. Tim had a wonderfully festive plan for just the two of them. They would hunt down the perfect tree, a majestic tribute to Father Christmas. Then they’d decorate it with shimmering ornaments and glittering tinsel. But Emily was jet-lagged from her long flight home from China and went straight to bed – for the next two days. So much for that inspiration. Oh, Tannen-bomb, thought Tim.
It’s Christmas dinner, a time of giving thanks and sharing good food and stories with your family, and occasionally with some quirky relatives who make things, well, let’s just say, interesting.
The weather is getting colder. The hours of daylight are rapidly waning. And Costco has inflatable eight-foot Snow Globes on sale (although in full disclosure, these went on sale in early September). The holiday season is officially upon us.
An important tradition is the family Christmas dinner with loved ones, and, sometimes with not-so-loved ones, by which I mean your cranky, Fox News-watching, conspiracy-theory-loving Uncle Howard, who announces three days before Christmas that he’ll be joining you for the feast, even though you didn’t actually invite him.
Unfortunately, all too often the sumptuous Christmas repast can be accompanied by heightened tensions as we struggle to avoid getting sucked into a heated argument with relatives who are oblivious of their behavior. If you’re anxious about the impending arrival of Uncle Howard, who will most likely be carrying a half-consumed case of Budweiser, don’t despair. It’s going to be okay. You’ll get through this in one piece, I promise.
When Uncle Howard makes his grand entrance two hours late with Carlotta, his latest practically-prepubescent fling, on his arm, be sure to greet them with a polite hug. Try to ignore their matching red MAGA hats – and the large tabby cat draped around Carlotta’s neck. You might want to lock Otto, your schnauzer, in the basement, lest his very strong prey instinct kick in and he chase the kitty around everyone’s feet.
Remember, above all else, DO NOT BRING UP POLITICS! When Howard snipes, “So, who did you vote for, for president in 2020,?” just smile, say, “There was an election in 2020? Who knew?” and quickly change the subject.
When all are seated around the festive table, take this opportunity to fan the flames of familial bonding by sharing how your wife has helped you to become a better husband. Well done. You could not possibly have guessed that Howard would use words of harmonious wedded bliss to torch his ex: “Speaking of wives, my ex totally cleaned me out in the divorce. And now she wants my house. Over my dead body…” Okay, maybe you should have foreseen that one. Time to change the subject – again.
I recommend football. What balding senior citizen with a hot young girlfriend doesn’t like to brag about his knowledge of sports. So, you open with, “Hey, looks like another rebuilding year for the Seahawks, eh?” Who knew Howard’s comeback would be, “Nah, pro football has been ruined for me – ever since all those Negroes showed their hatred for America by refusing to stand for our National Anthem.” I know what you’re thinking – did he just say “Negroes?” Bite your tongue.
Okay, so talking sports was a bad idea. You need to find an innocuous topic that no one can argue about. Ah…the weather. Conversation doesn’t get blander than that. You causally mention, “I hear we may get six inches of snow today. Looks like we might have a white Christmas after all.” But to your dismay, Uncle H storms back, “Gonna snow? See, I told you snowflakes that global warming is a hoax. All this hysteria about climate change is just liberal propaganda. I know because Sean Hannity says so.”
Okay, I’ll admit, I didn’t see that one coming either. Still, it’ll be fine. Deep breaths. Deep, deep breaths. Just then, the doorbell rings. Who could that be? To your great surprise, it’s your cousin Claire with her new wife, Monica. “Hey, Couz! We happened to be in the neighborhood and thought we’d stop by. Are we too late for chow?” What could possibly go wrong now?
As the gracious host you are, you welcome your unexpected guests to join in the gaiety. Out of left field – or rather, far right field – Howard walks up to Monica, smiles and remarks, “Howdy, girls. You know, 90% of lesbians are witches. You’re both gonna burn in Hell. But in the meantime, Merry Christmas. Or do you not celebrate the birth of our savior?” Looking back at you, he smirks, adding, “Or am I required to say, ‘Happy Holidays’ so I don’t offend all your liberal friends’ feelings in their communist War on Christmas?”
One thing that can create some anxiety at Christmas is the arrival of the unexpected relative who’s far more delighted to see you than you are to see them. No worries. What could possibly go wrong?
Somehow you are able to corral everybody back to the dinner table, making last-minute strategic seating alterations. Calm seems to have returned.
You gather everyone in your gaze and suggest each person share what they’re grateful for at this special time of year. You set an excellent example by observing, “I am thankful for my family, our good health, and our lovely home. We are so blessed.” Nice try. Then Uncle Howard chimes in, “I’m thankful Carlotta is way hotter than my nasty ex-wife. And I’m thankful to God for choosing Donald Trump to be our greatest president ever. And once his Supreme Court proves the election was stolen, he’ll lock up Biden, Obama, and Hillary.”
Things quickly unravel. Everybody starts shouting. Claire angrily hurls a dinner roll that hits Howard smack in the eye. Monica accidentally steps on Carlotta’s cat, who lets out a blood-curdling MEEOOOOWW!!!!. This sets off a barking frenzy by Otto, which startles Grandma, who jumps up from her wheelchair, accidentally knocking over the candelabra, which sets the tablecloth on fire. That activates the sprinkler system, completely ruining your wife’s new dress and expensive coiffure.
Baby Sally starts wailing, which further terrifies the cat, which suddenly hurls itself through the kitchen window, followed by Otto, who you did not know could leap that high. All of which amuses your kids to no end, as they laugh hysterically.
Claire screams something about Howard being a disgusting racist pig, to which Howard yells back, “At least I won’t burn in hell for being a commie lesbian!” Christmas with the relatives has descended into total pandemonium. When the smoke alarm starts trilling, you merely shake your head as you realize your apple pie in the oven is now toast.
Let’s face it. Despite your best efforts, your family Christmas dinner has turned into a Chernobyl-level meltdown. And that’s not even counting the 150 stitches the cat and dog needed for their acrobatics, smashing through the kitchen window. To avoid another disaster next holiday, I suggest you seriously consider entering the Witness Protection Program, so none of your relatives can locate your address. Sure, that may sound drastic. But it’s either that or listening to Uncle Howard’s tirade at the next family gathering about how the COVID pandemic was a Chinese hoax, and the vaccine is a nefarious plot by Anthony Fauci to kill conservatives with micro-chips.
Good luck. I hear Montana is a nice place to start a new life.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021
[Photos are stills from the 1989 film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.]
Ah, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, where the wife does all the work and the husband just carves the bird, then watches football. But this year, our Thanksgiving was nothing like this scene. Not even close.
Every year for as far back as I can remember, we’ve had company for Thanksgiving. But for the first time in our 31 years of marriage, we’d be quietly celebrating alone, just the two of us – and our cats. Where were our daughters? I guess, being adults and having their own incomes inspired them to make other plans. We will cherish their texts from Florida.
Then the day before Thanksgiving, we received an invitation from two friends whom I will call “Dave” and “Susan” (out of respect for Terry’s and Sharon’s privacy), to join them dining out for Thanksgiving.
Of course, I had to decline this generous offer. I had already made exciting plans to prepare Michele a home-cooked meal of microwaved turkey pot pies with peas, accompanied by Uncle Ben’s rice pilaf. Strangely, my wife questioned my thinking: “Excuse me? You declined??? What’s wrong with you? “So, you would rather eat genetically mutated turkey bits and plastic peas than join our friends for the real thing? Call him back and tell him YES, you idiot.” Technically, she didn’t actually say “you idiot.” But I’m fairly certain she was thinking it.
The plan was to enjoy the special Thanksgiving Day All-You-Can-Eat buffet at the Tulalip Casino. The restaurant did not take reservations. First come, first served. We arrived at what we thought was a reasonable hour: 1:00 p.m. I gave my keys to the valet and we headed inside the casino. I was surprised to see hundreds of people playing the slot machines. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but nothing says Thanksgiving like playing the Beyoncé-dollar slots. (more…)
On July 4th, we will once again celebrate our independence from the tyranny of England. Those British monarchs can be so oppressive. If it were up to Queen Elizabeth, we’d all be forced to drink Earl Grey tea with every meal.
Every year at this time, Americans proudly mark our independence with fireworks, burgers on the grill and binge drinking. And why shouldn’t we? Ours is the greatest nation in the solar system. I’m a patriotic American – something my wife will never understand because, sadly, she’s Canadian.
When it comes to being great, no country on earth is better than the U.S. of A. We’re NUMBER ONE! Look at the Olympics – God almost always backs the Americans – except in soccer – because he knows that Americans love God more than any other country. Every time a U.S. athlete wins, the first thing he does is give thanks to God. The Czech Republic (ranked the least religious nation on earth) never thanks God. And do you remember the last time they won a gold medal? Me neither. Because they hate God.
Oh sure, I’ve read a few misleading statistics about how the USA ranks 12th in college graduates, 27th in life expectancy, 37th in healthcare, 47th in press freedom and 53rd in ability to locate Mexico on a map. (I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere west of France.) But most of those statistics came from CNN’s World Desk Editor Fareed Zakaria. And that sure doesn’t sound like an American name to me. He probably has an axe to grind about his visa status.
I don’t care what statistics you want to throw in my face. It doesn’t change the fact that the USA is #1 in the world. Finland may rank first in education. And technically speaking, the Netherlands’ first place ranking in broadband access just nudges out our 23rd place finish. But in many other categories, the USA is Numero Uno. For example, America ranks …
- 1st in guns per capita
- 1st in cocaine seizures
- 1st in obesity
- 1st in percentage of the population that’s incarcerated
- 2nd in carbon emissions – but we’re coming after you, China! So watch your back!