Another Reason Not To Celebrate Columbus Day

Columbus Day is one of those “holidays” that really isn’t a holiday in any meaningful sense of the word.  Sure, federal workers and state workers get the day off — they get every holiday off, without fail — and so do bank employees.  For the rest of us working stiffs, however, Columbus Day is just another day to slog into the office and briefly wonder why that the flow of rush hour traffic is lighter than on the average work day.

And these days many people don’t care much for Christopher Columbus, either.  Admiral of the Ocean Sea, persuader of Ferdinand and Isabella, intrepid explorer — forget all that stuff we learned in grade school!  Now we hear that Columbus brought disease and slavery to the New World and is viewed as standing for colonialism, cultural insensitivity, and a Eurocentric vision of the world.  That’s why some people insist, instead, on celebrating Indigenous People’s Day.

Poor old Chris and his lame holiday are taking a beating from every quarter — which is why I got a chuckle out of the story sent along by the Friendly Doc Next Door, about an Ann Arbor, Michigan bank that announced that it wasn’t celebrating Columbus Day because Columbus, after all, is a city in Ohio.  Why not?  College football’s greatest rivalry is as good a reason as any to not recognize a federal holiday that is a “holiday” in name only.  When Arbor Day rolls around, we here in Ohio will retaliate by not celebrating it, either.

Being A “Visitor”

Today Kish and I are going with friends to West Lafayette, Indiana to watch the Ohio State-Purdue game.  We’ll be the “visitors” you see mentioned on the scoreboard.

I’m looking forward to the prospect of being a “visitor.”  Until today, my college football experience as a visiting fan has been limited to several trips I’ve made to see the Buckeyes play Michigan up in Ann Arbor — and I’m not sure that such a rivalry game tell you much about the “visitor” experience.

IMG_5276I first went up to Ann Arbor as a high school student in the ’70s, Michigan won, and one of the happy Wolverine fans stole my Ohio State hat and ran away after the game was over.  Stealing a hat from a high school kid seems like a pretty cheap stunt to me, but it’s just another reason why it’s not hard for me to hate Michigan with every fiber of my being whenever we play That School Up North.

I think I’ve been to Ann Arbor four times.  Ohio State won twice and lost twice, and each time the experience was pretty much the some — lots of (mostly) good-natured razzing, some angry, obscene comments, reasonably good behavior by all concerned once you sit in the stands, and always that slight hint of potential personal danger lurking right around the corner.  You have to stay alert for an abrupt change in the vibes coming from the fans around you.

I’m not expecting today’s atmosphere to be as charged as an Ohio State-Michigan game, but I’ll keep my eyes open — and a hand firmly on my hat.

Protecting Helpless Citizens From The Scourge Of Porch Couches

Breaking news:  the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council has finally — finally! — acted to ban porch couches.

Thank God!  Resolute action on this crucial issue is long overdue.  For years, Americans in countless college towns have had to live with the threat of beer-soaked couches serving as the breeding grounds for new forms of bacteria and potential pestilence, of diligent students being overcome by noxious fumes emanating from the mildewed orange artificial fibers on exposed and threadbare sofa armrests, and of the traffic hazards posed by chunks of styrofoam pulled from the burst sides of cheap cushions rolling through the city like sagebrush tumbling through the dusty streets of Laredo.  Now we can only hope that local government officials in college towns will turn to other weighty matters, like cracking down on the appearance of troubling garden gnomes and the sale of cheap foreign-made Che Guevara t-shirts that shrink five sizes after just one washing.

Of course, you would expect that far-sighted public servants in a town like Ann Arbor would take the lead on the pressing topic of outdoor davenport regulation.  The only weird thing is that one of the big safety concerns with college porch couches is that excited students might set the furniture ablaze after a big home team sports win.  Why would Ann Arbor council members have any concerns on that score?