Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidents' Day. (I'm taking the day off. This is a repost from 2011.)

When I was a kid, and I'm not exactly sure when all this changed, we didn't have a "Presidents' Day." We had off February 12th for Lincoln's birthday and February 22nd for Washington's. In school, we even had lessons about these particular presidents and we had to do reports on them, so the holidays actually had some meanings.

My mother was strict when I was growing up and didn't want to settle for what my brother and I were taught in school. She gave us two-cents for each state capital we could memorize (that earned us a dollar) and two dollars if we could memorize each American vice president. I remember her memory trick for memorizing William McKinley's first vice president Garret Hobart. We were told to remember "attic coffee grinder." After all a garret is an attic and my mother's coffee grinder was made by a company called Hobart.

It's stupid, I know, but a time will come in which I will have lost all my short-term memory, when I have a hard time remembering where the bathrooms are in my New York apartment. But I will never forget Garret Hobart.

These days of course we have Presidents' Day off, but we don't think about presidents at all, much less vice presidents. The day is an excuse for a long weekend or for 40% off sales. In truth, in America, everything is always 40% off except for things you want. It seems that Presidents' Day is a particularly good time to buy a mattress from a "mattress professional." Sleepy's, who have the "largest selection in the world" have proclaimed this "President's Week," and everything is 50% off, plus I can get a free pillow and e-reader with a purchase of $399 or more.

Bloomingdale's is having a "Big Brown Sale" and a great selection of merchandise is now 25%-65% off. Victoria's Secret is having their "Oh, Happy Rays" sale. You can save $15 on purchases of $100, $30 on purchases of $150 and $75 off when you spend $250.

I remember reading when I was a little boy about Lincoln walking 20 miles to return a borrowed book. I don't recall ever reading anything about him buying a mattress. And I'm pretty sure Washington never bought a bra.

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