This week I want to take a moment to talk about something that I have first hand experience with. There's an upcoming holiday that I really struggle with, as do a lot of people. It's a holiday that can make people feel depressed, alone, resentful, and hopeless. A holiday that comes around every February. I'm sure by now you've come to figure out that I am talking about President's Day.
President's Day is an amazingly polarizing holiday, how do you celebrate without letting George or Abe overshadow each other? Do you get wooden teeth for you dog, and a stovepipe hat for you cat? Do you wear a powdered wig, or rock out an amazing beard? You can't really have a cook out with the one you love, it's too cold.
Last year, I decided to just really throw the hammer down the hallway and throw a President's Day party. It wasn't so much a celebration of two of the great leaders of our land, so much as “Let's eat pizza, dress like dead presidents, and do bad karaoke!” It was mishmash of people who showed up, mostly friends of mine, and a few friends of friends. Overall, I knew most of the people, but it was hard to see sometimes beyond the mix of powered wigs and beards that many were sporting.
The pizza and beer went quickly, and as soon as the karaoke machine was plugged up, someone grabbed it and started to sing “Purple Rain.” I was up next, and I chose to sing that classic Buzzcocks tune “Everybody's Happy Nowadays.” Some of the room knew it, some of the room didn't, and the next person up sang “Don't Stop Believing.”
Things took an odd turn when someone who I didn't known, dressed as James K. Polk, grabbed the microphone after a brief pause in activity, and said into it “Would anyone like to hear some Gilbert Godfrey jokes?” Suddenly, we felt as if we had stumbled into a David Lynch film. A man dressed as Polk, doing a Gilbert Godfrey impression, and telling jokes that made the party screech to a halt.
Polk finished, and shortly after he seemingly disappeared. I returned to the microphone with a group of friends, and we sang The Beatles' “Oh, Darling.” After that, more pizza, more singing, and the only party game of the night “Who in the hell was James K. Polk?” We never did figure out who Polk was, or whose friend he was.
The idea of having a President's Day Party was a success, with minimal mess, and only one person leaving in shame. It's an odd holiday to wrap your head around, but it doesn't have to be as much of a struggle as you once thought of. Dress your friends up like Taft and watch them sing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot!” It's great fun! Just make sure nobody knows any Gilbert Godfrey jokes first. See you next week.