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June: The Silly Season

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In America, we sing that "June is bustin' out all over." The British
-- more reserved -- simply say it's "the silly season." It gives them the
option, one month out of twelve (and with Parliament conveniently in
recess), to indulge in palace garden parties, Wimbledon, the Ascot races,
the Henley regatta, and other genteel nonsense.

American silliness lasts all year 'round, and it's less genteel. It
comprises NASCAR racing, mud wrestling, reality shows, late-night comedy
shows, SUVs and Hummers, Super Bowl half-times, and super-size portions
of food.

I would also include in this silly list: Casual Fridays, pre-holiday
sales, million-dollar weddings and bar mitzvahs, adult video games, and
massive silicone injections.

And national silliness can get downright serious: our use of
electronic voting machines, our disdain for universal healthcare, our
wasteful use of energy and natural resources, and our belief that every
citizen has an inalienble right to bear arms.

(Waging wars in foreign lands, the latest craze from Washington, goes
beyond silliness: it is stupid and arrogant.)

Like their British cousins, the French also manage to put all their
silliness into one month -- May. May is riddled with no fewer than four
national holidays: May Day, Memorial Day, Ascension, and Pentecost. When
these fall on a Thursday or Tuesday, then Friday or Monday are also taken
off to make a long four-day weekend. (This is called "making the bridge."
It is a sacrosanct tradition, like spraying Champagne over a Grand Prix
winner.)

If I were to pick one silly month for Americans, I think it would be
February. First of all, it's my birthday. Secondly, it's the shortest
month, so the silliness would be relatively limited. Thirdly, there are
already three silly holidays in February: Groundhog's Day (need I say
more?), President's Day (which has cruelly compressed the birthdays of our
two finest presidents into one), and Valentine's Day (which arouses our
primal feelings of guilt, anxiety, despair and hope).

We could throw a lot of other silly holidays into February: Labor
Day (a misnomer -- nobody labors on that day), Election Day (which so many
Americans pass up), and Halloween (the silliest celebration of all).
Most religious holidays are too slippery to pin down and relocate (Easter
and Passover, for example, are always changing) and I wouldn't dream of
touching Thanksgiving or Christmas. But New Year's Day could use a little
juggling. Putting it into February would give us some time to recover
from the Christmas blowout.

Have I convinced you?

Good. Now I'm going to pack a picnic lunch, call some friends, and
celebrate June bustin' out with a bottle of Champagne.