Saturday, July 4, 2009

What Happened To The Holidays?

Humans ruin everything they touch. We take every idea to such a ridiculous extreme that it becomes a defiled parody of the original intent. Independence Day is perhaps the least corrupted holiday left in the United States, but even the 4th of July has become an example of human insanity. I am a rabid capitalist - but this is the dark underbelly of the free market system.

You want examples? Good - every cynic should be ready to back-up their statements with proof.

Have you ever tried to buy a small American flag in October? Good luck. You will probably have to go online or perhaps find a specialty flag store. During the last 2 weeks of June they sell them at every 7-11, gas station and grocery store. Apparently, there are only 2 weeks a year that Americans are willing to purchase our nation's most recognizable symbol.

Is there a weird annual natural phenomenon that causes the worldwide supply of oil to drop during the weeks surrounding the 4th of July, causing the price of gas to shoot up 25%? And on the flip side, when did it become mandatory for 80% of the population to be *somewhere else* on Independence Day? Every July 2, everyone suddenly has this irrepressible need to rush 300 miles away from their home like refugees from a N'awlins hurricane.

I really like fireworks - they are the next best thing to actual explosives (I've been a pyro since I was a kid). But the laws for buying fireworks in Southern California are absolutely bizarre. Selling *any* type of fireworks (even the really wimpy stuff) is illegal in most counties and cities. However a few enterprising cities have made *buying* fireworks legal - as long as they are sold by licensed vendors. Using the fireworks is still illegal everywhere outside the city limits of those towns - but since there are no rules about where the people buying the fireworks come from - the town does a tremendous business during the weeks preceding the 4th. People come hundreds of miles to buy their fireworks from the non-profit organizations that are the licensed vendors. There's nothing quite as satisfying as buying cardboard tubes filled with flammable gunpowder from the Senior Center or the St. Francis Catholic Church. Hey, its for a good cause, right?

Why do we do this to everything around us? We take everything 50% past the point where it makes sense. If 1 pound of something is good, then 2 tons of it must be GREAT. More is always better, moderation is for wussies. I suppose it's another aspect of the silly super-size mentality that pervades today. They don't call us "consumers" for nothing - that is our primary role in the world today - to consume as much and as quickly as we can. When we don't, entire industries fail, and with it goes the world's economy.

So do the world a favor - on this 4th of July drink beer until you pass out - the economy is counting on you to do your patriotic duty!

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