This little holiday doesn’t have quite as much going for it, unlike the flashier Thanksgiving and Christmas spectaculars, filled as they are with rituals like massive feasts and drunken relatives bickering over stupid things. Basically, May Day involves flowers and people prancing around a stripper pole. That’s about it. So, let’s jazz things up with some new traditions, shall we?
Prepare Your Dwelling
1. Throw away the left-over Easter Eggs that have been dripping radiation in the back of the fridge for too long now. Those things were really cute at one time but, just like children, they turn bad before you know it. And it doesn’t matter that these were Little Jimmy’s first Easter Eggs and parting will be such sweet sorrow. Jimmy has already forgotten about them and moved on. He is now more invested in obtaining security clearance to those damn locked cabinets in the kitchen which tempt him with their forbidden treasures.
2. Finally put the Christmas tree box back up in the attic. Granted, you may have been using it as a handy folding table for the laundry, but that job activity is not part of the tree’s union contract, and he’s about to file a grievance. The last thing you need right now is a labor dispute when you are trying to make flowery headdresses for your 27 nieces, a gaggle of girls that are living proof that your brother clearly needs to find something else to do with his penis.
3. Force yourself to have the dreaded talk with the relative who was been “staying over for a few days” for at least a month. Explain to this person, the one you essentially stopped loving on Day 6 of the visit and simply couldn’t stand by Day 9, that May Day is the International Day of Moving on Down the Highway. (“Doesn’t that sound like fun? I’ll help you pack!”)
If the relative proves even more slothful than expected and does not immediately leave on a jet plane, tell the rest of the May Day story, which involves May 2, otherwise known as May Dead. This is the International Day where people who actually pay the bills in a dwelling are allowed to hunt down those who don’t, and nobody asks questions about bodies that might be discovered in alleys on May 3rd.
4. Beautify the world by running down to Lowe’s and buying a bunch of those sad little dollar plants left on the orphan rack after gardeners who really know what they are doing have picked through everything. Take them home and shove them in something, maybe the cute planter on the patio that looks just like a giant coffee cup, that thing you had to have back in 1983 and then promptly forgot about. If really invested, you might actually mow the lawn, but everyone will understand if you’d rather watch Ellen.
On the Big Day, Plan Exciting Activities That Will Entertain All Maturity Levels
5. Make sure that your maypole is the most obnoxious and borderline obscene-looking thing that you can find. After all, back in the day before the Christians came along and redesigned history with their stone tablets and burning bushes, May Day had something to do with fertility. (Ask your assembly-line brother, he’ll know about that.)
The little kids won’t get it, unless they’ve been watching HBO after you go to bed. But there will certainly be that unruly pack of twenty-something males that always stands off to one side, drinking beer, normally too cool to be at a party with flowers but forced to make an appearance or they risk disinheritance by Great Aunt Cleo. Ogling the giant tribute to their own anatomy will keep them occupied for hours.
6. Spike the lemonade. Just do it and don’t look back.
7. When all the little girls gather around the maypole, daintily clutching the long ribbons and trying to avoid the birds that keep pecking at their flower-laden heads, walk up and whisper to them a little secret. If they run really, really fast, fast like Momma just found out what actually happened to the fancy crystal vase in the formal dining room, they will actually be able fly. Like an airplane. And then they can wear cute skirts and serve peanuts.
Now, just stand back and watch the Himalaya-on-acid developments, with projectile children sailing through the air and your neighbors holding up ranking cards based on style, execution and landing distance. If any of the little Amelia Earharts call you out as the inspiration for the Lucy in the Sky Without Diamonds business, simply point at the empty candy wrappers littering the patio and shrug your shoulders. Sugar is the devil’s work, yes?
8. If you decide that you need to burn something, another ancient tradition that was kind of down-lowed by the Puritans (unless it involved witches), go right ahead. There’s something very cleansing about destruction and rebirth, especially if you’ve had enough of the lemonade. It is generally advised that one should burn things and not people, but a good host will always let the guests decide. Take a vote and see what happens. As a safer alternative, perhaps everyone should just hold their lighters to the sky while someone plays “Freedbird” on their iPad.
When It’s Time for People to Go Home, They Need to Git. Two options:
9. Walk out onto the patio, completely naked. Most of your relatives will realize that they really shouldn’t be seeing this and begin gathering their things, unless those relatives happen to be from East Texas, parts of Arkansas, or also watch HBO after midnight. To motivate your friends that don’t qualify for the incest category, hold up a cattle prod and wave it menacingly. This should nicely resolve things in an expedient manner, with car doors soon slamming. (Unless the non-relatives are from West Texas, parts of Louisiana, or raise livestock.)
10. If some people still insist on hanging around despite your personal free-birding, you may have to resort to tranquilizer darts. This may sound a bit harsh, but there’s only so much one can take when obnoxious fools do not understand that their entertainment value has faded. Of course, some folks may be so inebriated at this point that a projectile sedative might actually perk them up a bit, leading to increased mayhem and personal regret. (All exit plans have a downside.) This could turn out to be a very long night, especially if someone finds a dusty brochure on what really happened with all that May Day fertility stuff back in the day once the moon came out and the cows were asleep.
Just make another batch of spiked lemonade, find a comfortable chair, make sure your insurance premiums have been paid, enjoy the show, and wait for somebody to write a blog post about what happened…
Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury”, many moons ago. Some modifications made. I realize I’m slightly late with the timing of this post, but it took me a while to find this little nugget of wrongness in my dusty and poorly-organized archives…
Categories: 10 Reasons Why