I was thinking recently about the myth of the first Thanksgiving, the one of the Pilgrims breaking bread with the Wampanoag Indians and the—ahem—lasting friendship that ensued.
Don't get me wrong; in practice, I love Thanksgiving—what with the turkey, the football, the eggnog and bonding, it really would be a magical day if not for the fact that Thanksgiving has been lying to us all along.
There are a lot of Thanksgiving myth debunkers out there, and a lot of the debunkers themselves need debunking, but if you wade through, you'll discover the first Thanksgiving was nothing like the Hallmark image we all have in our heads; nor was it even called Thanksgiving. It was purportedly an impromptu meal among the Pilgrims, likely to give thanks to God for the food, valuables and graves they just robbed from the natives. The real first Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop to celebrate the colonists' victory massacre of 700 Pequot men, women and children.
There are other theories, most of which end with a grip of dead Indians, but one thing is certain: The story Thanksgiving has been telling us all these years about this iconic meal is a teepee-sized pile of bison shit.
And it occurred to me, as I was mulling over these ever-so-uplifting thoughts, that Thanksgiving is not the only holiday that's not been completely square with us. Turns out most of our federal holidays are, indeed, quite up to their brims with fecal matter—not the least of which is Christmas, which celebrates the birth of the baby Jesus even though it's unlikely that Christ was born on Dec. 25.
There's nothing in the scriptures that identifies Jesus' birthdate, and it's unlikely that the Church guessed it correctly some five centuries later when it didn't even get his birth year correct (most contemporary historians put Jesus' birth at around 5 B.C.).
More compelling, however, are clues to the season in which Christ was born. According to Luke 2:7-8, the shepherds were in the fields at the time of Jesus' birth, which is problematic since shepherds would not have been out during a bitter Israel winter unless it was to cut a sheep open and crawl inside for warmth.
Luke also states that Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem to register for the Roman census. But the census was taken in autumn. There are more clues, but the accepted conclusion of most academics, theological historians and anybody else who delved into it a tad deeper than what they learned in the third grade is that the date was likely lifted from the pagans who worshipped Dec. 25 as the birthday of the sun god. So, with a few dabs of whiteout and a bit of marketing, the sun god became the Son of God and thus a worldwide holiday, albeit bullshit, was born.
Now, Columbus Day—there's a holiday that's unabashedly full of it. Chris Columbus' vicious crimes against humanity are enough to preclude him from being venerated. However, there's also the problem that Columbus wasn't even close to being the first person to find America. As Norse Viking Leif Erickson told a reporter from Modern Pillager magazine, "Hann á hamar þórr ferr oft til Jötunheima ó liviör chyyped?î which translates loosely to: "What am I, chopped liver?"
Columbus never set foot on what is now U.S. soil, says author and historian Bill Bryson in the book At Home: A Short History of Private Life: "It would be hard to name any figure in history who has achieved more lasting fame with less competence. [Columbus] spent eight years bouncing around the islands of the Caribbean and coast of South America convinced that he was in the heart of the Orient... He never worked out that Cuba is an island and never once set foot on, or even suspected the existence of, the landmass to the north that everyone thinks he discovered: the United States."
Oy, do I have little tolerance for feel-good fairy tales, population-controlling myths and the propping up of false heroes. That's why, when I become King of America, I will repeal all these full-of-shit federal fables and replace them with true and useful holidays—holidays like Blissmas, which is Christmas without gift shopping or religious worship, and Melloween, which is Halloween minus any brats pounding on your door demanding candy and exaggerated praise for their tedious costumes.
On the fourth Thursday of every November, we'll celebrate Banksgiving, a holiday that requires financial institutions to give interest-free loans to anyone who asks. In June, we'll celebrate Mammorial Day, an homage to breasts—God's greatest gift—and on Ass Wednesday, we shall celebrate God's second greatest gift.
Casual Sex Friday is the day you can bang your assistant in an empty conference room with no strings attached, and every Saturday we shall observe The Black Sabbath Day, a holy day when you're not allowed to work, drive, use the phone or consume anything besides alcohol, drugs and kosher bat heads.
And last but not least—a holiday for which history will forever thank me—I hereby declare Aug. 15 as Not for the Children Day. NFCD is the one day when nobody is allowed to say, "What about the children?" or "We have to do it for the children!" or care about children in any way. This means permitting unscrambled porn on daytime network television, profanity at the dinner table, speeding in school zones and duct-taping kids' mouths when they get fussy in restaurants.
Write to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Edwin Decker blogs at www.edwindecker.com. Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.
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