I’d like to take this opportunity to wish George Washington a very happy birthday, and also to offer my condolences.
No, not because he’s dead; hopefully his family has moved on by now. I’m sorry for George because his birthday is so vague.
Let’s start with a bit of history: Washington was born on February 22. George Washington’s Birthday became a federal holiday in 1879. George Washington’s Birthday was celebrated on George Washington’s birthday, February 22nd, because those were simpler times.
In 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act as an amendment to the previously enacted Casual Friday Act. Thus, by law, Washington’s Birthday became the third Monday in February.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty upset if Congress passed a law making my birthday the third Monday in February. Then I wouldn’t be able to celebrate my birthday on the actual day I was born, February 15, which, this year, is, um, the third Monday in February. But that’s just this year. My birthday is always the day after Valentine’s Day, which makes it very inexpensive for people to buy me heart-shaped birthday cakes on sale.
But enough about me.
The thing is, the third Monday in February can be any date from the 15th to the 21st, which means George never gets to celebrate on his actual birth date. To make matters worse, the reason they made his birthday the third Monday in February is so the holiday would always fall between his actual birthday and Abe Lincoln’s (February 12th). This must really piss George off, because I know for a fact that he never even invited Lincoln to any of his birthday parties. George hated Abe; that’s why he stayed as far away from him as he could when posing for Mount Rushmore. George wouldn’t even look at Abe!
And there’s even more bad news for Washington.
It’s hard to believe this considering all the Presidents Day sales advertised on TV, but the official name of the federal holiday is still Washington’s Birthday. That’s right, that camera-hogging Lincoln has no business parading through all those car dealerships with his beard and his ridiculous top hat and his holier-than-MSRP attitude.
That’s especially the case because, honestly, Abe never even had a federal holiday on his birthday. For some reason, certain parts of the country (you know who you are), were not in favor of Abe Lincoln Day. But most of the blue states (as opposed to the gray ones) did celebrate Lincoln’s birthday, so when Washington suddenly got born on the third Monday of February, some states smushed both guys together and created state holidays called President’s Day, which, by some remarkable coincidence, always falls on the same day as Washington’s Birthday, although never on Washington’s birthday.
The name “President’s Day” really does Washington a disservice, because now he’s thrown in not just with Lincoln, but with all the presidents, even Millard Fillmore. At least if they called it, like, “Mount Rushmore President’s Day” George would be together only with good presidents instead of having to share his cake with the likes of James Polk and George W. Bush.
So let’s honor the father of our country by giving him presents that are just for him, instead of things he has to share with all the other presidents. Better dentures, for instance.
In the meantime, be sure to wish Abe Lincoln a happy real birthday tomorrow and remember, when you shop for him, he needs another rechargeable beard trimmer like he needs a hole in the head.
See you soon.