To a large segment of the American public today is a dark, if not the darkest, day of the year. Today is the Monday following the Super Bowl marking the end of the football season and about a six month drought until the beginning of exhibition games in midsummer – it’s the sports equivalent of the end of days. Many will satiate their sports drought with basketball or hockey or the impending advent of baseball. Others will weep over the dark season and go through severe withdrawal and depression, satisfied briefly by player trades and the college draft. The final outcome of the game has given the people of New England a slight celebratory reprieve but once the shine wears off they too will descend into their athletic apocalypse.
Today is also the day that America will suffer an epidemic of declared illnesses ranging from sore throats, to coughs to pulled muscles to back spasms to the ever convenient “under the weather” – about 17 million of them. In an amazing fluke that would normally stump medical science all of these different claimed ailments can be traced to the same cause – overdoses. A national overdose of pizza, hot dogs, bean dip and a mishmash of alcoholic beverages. There is no scientific name for this epidemic, just the common designation – Super Sick Monday, or “I had too much to eat/drink yesterday.”
In Los Angeles, home of the losing team, a fair number of those calling in sick are actually healthy. They’re just observing a one day period of mourning oftentimes with more alcohol.
Currently there is no known antidote for Super Sick Monday except for a demanding and onerous elixir known as moderation during the game or the even more excruciating protocol known as “just man up, take an aspirin and get yourself to work.”
One proposed cure for the complete elimination of Super Bowl Monday-itis is for the government to designate the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday. It’s a proposition that’s found some serious advocacy. Two years ago, Heinz, the mustard and ketchup maker, started an online petition to Congress to designate just such a holiday. Their promotional department even came up with a catchy little name for this new holiday, Smunday. A Smunday holiday would allow much of the nation to get as polluted as possible with no repercussions beyond bloated bellies, bruised brains and a spike in ER visits. And Heinz hasn’t been the only one to push for this holiday.
* Every radio sports talk show in the country pushes this notion of a national day of sports healing.
* Bloomberg published an opinion piece titled, A Super Bowl Holiday Would Truly Make America Great.
* The Washington Examiner; Monday after the Super Bowl: The holiday America needs.
* Last year an article in Marketplace reported that even HR managers nationwide are in favor of making Super Bowl Monday a national holiday. They don’t want to deal with the headaches (pun intended).
I suppose that I should pause here and admit that this whole Super Bowl Monday thing isn’t my problem. First of all, I’m retired so I could conceivably consume a dozen bratwursts, an extra large combo pizza and a fifth of Jack Daniels and not worry about work the next day; that’s assuming that I survive the bender.
The other reason that it isn’t my problem is that I didn’t watch the game. Cora and I went to dinner and a movie. (By the way, go and see They Shall Not Grow Old – it’s a fascinating documentary of World War I and an equally fascinating look at how technology restored, colorized and added sound to actual World War I footage). I lost my desire to watch the game years ago and happily found that Super Bowl Sunday is a great day to see a movie or go for a walk or see any attraction that I choose and know that I’ll be free of crowds. Last year I went to the gym during the game and it was just me and literally only three others with a whole big gym to ourselves. For a few short hours I felt like the rich guy who has his own personal gym.
Look, I’m not one to begrudge hard working Americans of a holiday. Compared to, say, Europe our list of holidays is downright meager and I’ve a strong feeling that if a lot of CEO’s had their wish Americans wouldn’t even have the ones they’ve got now. We just can’t seem to shake off that old Protestant work ethic. A few years ago Cadillac ran a ridiculous commercial poking fun at the French for not having Caddies because they don’t work as hard as Americans; morally degenerate laggards and lotus eaters spending too much time on holiday.
I do take some issue with the notion of Smunday and its based on that irksome, malicious little detail called principle. Isn’t America already overly drenched in the drug of sports? Do we have to pander to the addiction with a national day of recovery and withdrawal? Before America starts celebrating Smunday shouldn’t we give consideration to another possible holiday, one that represents that other American value beyond football, the one called democracy? I’m talking about an Election Day holiday.
Yes, I know compared to Smunday that sounds to many like a horribly lame reason to have a holiday. In fact I can hear the boos and insults now, as if I were the referee that called the penalty that swayed the game. “You stodgy old schmuck. We need a real American holiday like Smunday and not something subversive like an Election Day holiday. What are you, some kind of a Socialist?”
Patriotically minded, responsible citizens should unanimously embrace the star spangled, Yankee Doodle dandy idea of celebrating that utmost, cherished and sacred right that separated America from the rest of a doubting yet watchful world when it completed its revolution against Great Britain. The right to vote, the free choice by citizens to choose their own leaders that has made America the dream pilgrimage for those seeking to escape oppression.
Now you would think that any patriotic American politician believing in a sound Democracy and all of those other principles that caused the founders to show King George the door would be all for an Election Day holiday – but you would be wrong.
An election day holiday has indeed been proposed a number of times and then subsequently squashed – by politicians. We’re not naming names or political parties here because this shouldn’t be an issue based on party allegiance. In fact it shouldn’t be an issue at all.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered The Gettysburg Address, in which he defined America as a “nation of the people, by the people and for the people.” One hundred and fifty six years later a sitting American senator dismissed an Election day holiday as a “power grab.” It sounds like that senator is afraid of something. Could it be he’s afraid of the American people?
Let’s apply a loose sports analogy here. Every year I hear a complaint that goes something like this, “We should’ve won that game but we lost because of the refs.” My response is always, “If you should’ve won, you would’ve won. Just play better and don’t blame it on the refs.”
To that senator I would say, “If you should win an election, you will win an election. Just run a good campaign and don’t blame it on the electorate.”