Hello, Columbus Redux

Happy Columbus Day! For those of you who are too young to know and were raised in the era of three-day weekends, this is indeed the day of Christopher’s birth. While not exactly a rarity, this happens only once every seven years.  So, as an act of celebration, I’m taking an old blog post out of the dust bin and re-publishing it in his honor.

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s Columbus Day again.  It seems to roll around faster and faster each year.  And this year it’s part of the same weekend as Yom Kippur!  Does it get any better than that!? I can’t remember that ever happening before.  Not in the way I can’t remember where the fuck  heck  I put my glasses…more meant like, “what a coincidence!”  Anyway, it’s a culmination of a riotous weekend.

Actually, it’s not really Columbus Day.  There are some of us who still remember when Columbus Day used to be on October 12th. Now it’s just one of those holidays tacked on to a weekend.  I believe calendars used to say something like “Columbus Day celebrated”…now there’s not even a pretense.  It’s almost as if Christopher had some kind of rotating birth date that amazingly was always was on a Friday or a Monday.  They’ve changed the guy’s birthday for God’s sake!

Of course, they started doing that for Abe and George a while ago.  Even worse, they combined their birthdays–Presidents Day.  I’m sure neither would be too happy about that.  There is an ever diminishing population who knows that they weren’t born on the same day and actually know the real birth dates of each.  (Answers are printed upside down at the end of the blog…or maybe in some future posting.)  {By the way, if there’s ever a question of changing the day on which my birthday is celebrated or worse, combining it with someone else’s, I’m going on the record right here.  DON’T!!} Even the marking of Martin Luther King’s birthday has been moved to a Monday so as to create a three-day weekend.  If that’s not a sign that we’re living in a post-racial America, I don’t know what is.  And if I’m not mistaken, they’re doing that with July 4th as well, so it too is now always part of a long weekend.  July 4th can now be celebrated on July 5th or 3rd or whatever.  Up is down, black is white.  It’s as if we’ve all gone down the rabbit hole with Alice.

But you have to hand it to us Jews though.  We stubbornly stick to the Jewish calendar.  No one has ever suggested that we celebrate Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashonah on a Monday so as to have a three-day weekend.  Passover always begins on the fifteenth day of Nisan, Purim is whenever it arrives and …well, you get the idea.

 That the celebrations of this weekend’s holidays are shared by Italians and Jews seems very fitting.  After all, we have a lot in common: both groups are family oriented, somewhat clannish, have less-than-small noses and take enormous interest in food.  Of course, there are some differences when it comes to Mussolini but we still share a lot.  And having the holidays bookend this weekend certainly has an appealing symmetry.   After all,  Columbus was sponsored by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella who were also busy playing a major role in the Spanish Inquisition.  Which in turn lead to the Diaspora causing Jews to flee to all parts of the world. Which allowed for us to be persecuted everywhere, not just in Spain.  This, of course, engendered waves of emigration, much of it to the New World.   All of which concluded, naturally and inevitably with Ed Koch becoming the mayor of New York.

Okay, okay…you win. We can celebrate it on a Monday.


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