Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 3, 2013

VINCENT DAVIS: May poles, sombreros and unions

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — For those of you who do not own calendars, today we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of a metaphorical valley of confusion — a place of temporal vagueness that can cause people to take part in strange rituals which they have no understanding of.

I am, of course, speaking of the days between May Day (May 1) and Cinco De Mayo (May 5). Each year there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who spend this week dancing around May poles, getting into Facebook arguments over the difference between celebrating spring and protesting for workers’ rights (May Day and International Worker’s Day are both May 1) and wearing potentially culturally offensive sombreros inside of bars.

I’m not going to get high and mighty about my deep knowledge of labor disputes throughout history or traditional South American cultural celebrations (though you can trust, if I were writing that article it would be much shorter as my knowledge of either of those topics is greatly eclipsed by my knowledge of pro-skateboarders-of-the-late-80’s trivia). What I do want to talk about is what makes people so desperate to party that they have to jump on any excuse from here to Mexico and beyond to get a little crazy and plan a girls/boys night out on a non-weekend day.

I’m not against cultural celebrations, by all means go to a Cinco De Mayo celebration, get into some old school pagan rituals (dancing around the May pole), wear all-green everything on Saint Patty’s. Just don’t wear a uniform because you feel it entitles you to stay out late and post a steady stream of Facebook/instagram pictures where you make the same face/pose next to a rotating group of friends and ‘friends’ you met that day, follow on twitter and will subsequently never see/speak to again.

These are real holidays with Real traditions, stories and histories (though not the stories or histories you’re thinking of regarding ‘Mexican Independence Day,’ which is actually September 16th).

When it comes down to it, human beings are hard-wired to get down and have a good time. According to the increasingly accurate Wikipedia; archeologists have discovered beer jugs from the late Stone Age that tells us that purposely fermented beverages existed at least as early as 10,000 B.C. Do you think our Stone Age ancestors also invented “Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day” t-shirts to justify wearing oversized hats and partying all day on a Sunday? I think not (especially since sewing fabrics didn’t really become a “thing” until 4,000 B.C.)

Friends and neighbors, I’d like to take some time to get “real” with you. While not specifically spelled out in the constitution, Bill of Rights or any other official document outlining the rights of free peoples — you can wear a novelty hat any night of the week. Furthermore, while general society may frown upon it, you can group text your friends to “hit the town” whenever work and restaurant schedules permit.

In fact happy hours and Sunday brunch specials across this great nation would suggest that “partying,” “chilling” and getting together with friends is encouraged regardless of the day of the week. No need to speak broken Spanish or drink Pabst Blue Ribbon while discussing great workers’ uprisings of the past. You can leave your squirt guns and pussy willows at home (Dyngus Day) and if you’re still a little nervous about how society will look at you, you can always hit up a TGI Fridays, because in there it’s always Friday.

Vincent Davis II is a Cornell graduate, DJ, and market development specialist in the IT industry. His column appears on the second and fourth Friday of every month. He can be contacted at vincedavis06@gmail.com