Monday, January 4, 2010

Time For A Different Kind of Holiday

We have just come off the traditional season of gratitude and sharing, starting with Thanksgiving and wrapping up with Christmas.

I say, enough of this frivolity and joy. It's time to commemorate crankiness. If we can have a month of Advent, why can't we have a day of just Vent?

Scheduling it sometime in January would be appropriate, as the credit card bills from the holidays come in and the weather is still dark and stormy. January 29th would be perfect. It's within the appropriate wintry season, but more important, it's the day H.L. Mencken died in 1956. Mencken was the crusading newspaper editor who said it was the media's job to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. But he was also a well-known crank who defined cynic as someone who, when they smelled flowers, looked around for a coffin.

A potential back-up date would be February 12th, birthday of Alice Roosevelt Longworth. She was the Washington hostess known for saying, "If you can’t say anything nice, come sit next to me."

Commemorating a Day of Vent might be problematic, however. On most holidays, people take the day off. On this one, though, customer-service call centers would have to double their staff. When people take the day off, they like to go out and eat, but restaurants would probably be closed. None of their staff would want to work on a Day of Vent, because dealing with customers the other 364 days of the year is bad enough.

On the other hand, unlike other traditional holidays, it would be a perfect day for families not to get together. Venting about the accumulated slings and arrows of the preceding quarter-century would make for a truly depressing day.

It would also be an appropriate day for Disney to release a sequel to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The story of Crabby, Grouchy, Surly, Sulky, Mopey, and Whiny (Grumpy, or course, would be retained from the original) could turn into an annual holiday classic, the flip side of It’s A Wonderful Life. Of course, I’m not sure of an appropriate title: Slush Gray and the Seven Dwarfs sounds like a porno movie; Seven Angry Men and Return of the Maleficent Seven sound like sequels to different movies entirely.

If anybody's going to work overtime on a Day of Vent, it should be the psychologists, psychiatrists, and licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs). They would have to schedule special extended hours. The good thing about a Day of Vent is that it could have therapeutic value all around. After all, what some people need is a good listening to.

1 comment:

  1. Though I'm not generally a complainer, I like the idea.

    Just a quibble, but I would say that the season of gratitude and sharing lasts through New Year's. If nothing else, on New Year's Eve many people are grateful that the past year is over. That was certainly the case this year.

    Another possible date would be February 29. Lots of people complain about leap years already -- "Whose stupid idea is this, anyway?" -- and that way we could collect our complaints for several years so we'd really get our gripes' worth.