I was sound asleep, I guess, when our culture decided to add spectacular new dimensions to St Patrick's Day. This was always a holiday that Americans would celebrate by wearing green clothing, eating corned beef and cabbage, and drinking entirely too much alcohol. The popular toast "Sláinte" means "to your health, which may be compromised if you drink a quart of Old Hoolihan's Finest."
Celebration is fine, as far as it goes, and March 18 was traditionally a huge day for the people at Alka Seltzer, but now, overnight, a new aspect was added to all this hoopla.
Over the past weekend, I started seeing statuses on Facebook, people saying that their children were disappointed because "the leprechaun didn't come." As one mom put it, "What's the Leprechaun supposed to do? Who came up with this? Santa Claus, the Elf on the Shelf, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are pressure enough. Stop the madness!!!"
Hallmark Holidays, which have grown to include Sweetest Day and Grandparents' Day, are those holidays that seem to be puffed up by the greeting card industry. Everyone loves grandparents, but all of a sudden there's a Sunday in September to send them cards? Sweetest Day was cooked up by the people who cook up candy - it's supposed to be celebrated on the third Saturday in October, a tough stretch on the calendar for America's confectioners, who then have only Halloween to make money from while awaiting Thanksgiving and Christmas and Valentine's Day and Aunt Norma's birthday.
I don't have an Elf On A Shelf, but over my shoulder as I sit here typing my quotidian thoughts sits a little Bart Simpson image. He does not bring me candy or trinkets, but he does bring me cheer when I think of things he has brought to our world.
Sometimes I wonder if Bart's work among us has been in vain, but then, when I see news like this, I know his message lives on.
Happy Holidays, everyone!