Sunday, February 15, 2004

Dead Presidents

Today I celebrated Presidents' Day in accordance with the customs and traditions of our rich American culture to honor and preserve the memories of the many fine leaders of this the greatest country in the world: I bought a mattress.

Some of you may wonder exactly what buying a mattress has to do with a national holiday commemorating our chief executives. It's complicated.

First of all you have to realize that buying a mattress is only one of many ways that we can pay tribute to our illustrious Heads of State. You could also buy a dishwasher or a pair of pants or, if you really want to demonstrate your patriotism, an SUV. You see it's not what you buy that's important. It's the fact that you cared enough about America to go out and make a purchase on this historic shopping holiday. Because it is buying things that made this country great in the first place.

Think about it. Island of Manhattan? Ka-ching! Bought and paid for. Louisiana "Purchase" -- say no more. Alaska? -- Seward's folly my ass, how about Seward's damn good deal! Buying things is the very backbone of our nation. Look at slavery -- imagine where our country would be now if we hadn't gone out and bought all of those wonderful black folks! It just wouldn't be America without 'em.

And think of how our presidents get elected -- what's the first thing a candidate has to do if he wants to run for president? Exactly, he has to go out and raise a bunch of money. And how does he raise that money? How else? He holds a big sale and the special interests buy him off piece by piece. That money is then used to purchase airtime so the candidate can sell off even more of himself to the voters. But it's not just a one way deal, because he also buys their votes with gimmicky tax cuts (if he's a Republican) or ridiculous promises of jobs and health care (if he's a Democrat). It's a perfect market economy.

Now originally, there were two President's days, Lincoln's birthday and Washington's birthday. For many years, Lincoln's birthday was celebrated with the glorious "one penny" sale. Buy one item, get the second item for only one penny more! It was a fitting honor for a truly great man. In fact that is why Lincoln's face now appears on the penny. Similarly, on Washington's birthday, we had the "one dollar" sale. Same deal but this time it's a dollar. It didn't seem fair that Lincoln's birthday had such a better deal that Washington's, so Congress in its Solomonic wisdom decided to combine the two and make it one big sale for all to share and enjoy. A democratic solution if there ever was one! Now all merchants could take part in the celebration and instead of being limited to the "one penny" or "one dollar" concept, they could choose whatever sale price seemed most fitting to the occasion, say for example "50% to 70% off" or perhaps "no money down" or the ever popular "will beat any price in town!"

In these troubled times of war and terror and low-carb diets, isn't it nice to know that certain values still hold true, like the freedom of the American people to go out shopping and buy nice things and not have to make any payments until June!

I for one am proud to live in a land where I am not judged by my actions or my character or my beliefs, but rather by the clothes I wear, the car I drive, the gadgets I own and the limit on my MasterCard.

Let as all stop and think of the many gifts we as a nation have been blessed with, either in the form of a multitude of makes, models, colors and styles from which to choose, or in the endless array of payment plans available. And let us give thanks to our Dead Presidents for providing us with a national holiday on which to celebrate our blessings and enjoy to the fullest these fruits of capitalism which we so richly deserve.

God Bless America.

Love, Yankee Doodle Dick

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