Friday, March 17, 2017

about today's journal topic

When I got out of my car this morning the security guard greeted me: "Hey Dr. P, where's your green?  I oughta pinch you!"  My reactions:
  1. Dude.  No one's pinching me.
  2. Oh yeah.  St. Patrick's Day.
  3. Why is that a thing?
  4. Am I wearing green?-- hey wait a sec.  My pants are green.  Keen observational powers.
Then I got to class.  The first students walked in and said hi: "Happy Friday!"

(Happy Friday?  Why is that a thing?  If you really feel that strongly about the weekdays, don't you realize that Friday means that there are only two friggin' days left until Monday?)

Mildred and Montag don't remember the day they met.  We (rightly, IMHO) interpret this as a sign that their relationship is dysfunctional.  Therefore it stands to reason that a sign of a healthy relationship is the shared memory of the day it began.  This story bonds us together; our connection is strengthened by shared knowledge.  Honoring this information enough to keep it fresh and clear in our minds is a signal that it's important to us-- and that the people who share it with us are somehow important too.  The same can be said of belonging to stories that larger number of people share; this is why we remember religious prayers and rituals.  This is why every 49ers fan knows the details of The Catch and The Drive.

To the casual American observer/consumer, St. Patrick's Day is actually the same holiday as Cinco de Mayo. These are marketing opportunities for people to advertise, sell, buy, and consume alcohol.

But to those in the know, both St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo are historically and culturally important.  They mean something to people who identify with Irish and Mexican heritage, respectively; knowing these stories qualifies you to converse and connect with members of the tribe, whether you're full-blooded or just a fan.

Remembering dates and events signify care.  If you forget your Mom's birthday... whoa.  That's a statement.  Some dates and events we remember because they are personally meaningful; others, we remember because they are important to loved ones or family, or our belonging to groups that care about religion, or football, or something else that signifies we are members of the tribe.

So, when I ask what dates and events are important to you, consider what's meaningful in terms of your own feeling, your relationships with loved ones and families, your belonging as a member of an ethnic or religious or racial heritage, or the society you're living in today.  After all, a lot of people think the Super Bowl is pretty important.

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