April 22, 2009

A Very Merry Unbirthday Indeed

For those of you not in the workforce, today is "administrative professionals" day. I found this out when my office manager said, "happy admin profs. day" to me, to which I replied, "I'm more of a semi-pro" - after all, I only work 4 1/2 hours a day. But the thought is nice, to be honored for what you do, sometimes with a gift certificate or flowers.

But is this a real holiday? Compare the premise to the upcoming Mother's Day (May 10th), a day intended to honor your own mother for the hard work she put into raising you. [For some of our mothers, they probably deserve two such days, as they were required to raise people like me. Oy.] This is a legitimate day and purpose to celebrate, though I wouldn't use the term 'holiday' since technically speaking a 'holy day' is for honoring God alone. Mother's day is ok but, because it is marketed as a day to celebrate any mother you know, even outside of your own family, too broad in scope (it makes almost everyone special - and requiring of a gift to tell them so).

So what about admin profs. day- should one be honored simply for getting out there and performing a task? They already pay you to do it; shouldn't that be enough? It's like asking for a celebratory plaque for having not been sentenced to jail and, as Chris Rock says, "You're not supposed to be in jail!" There are many enumerations on the 'honor so-and-so' theme: children's day, grandparents day, Victoria day (in Canada). ;) Declaring everyone in need of a special day to be honored is redundant, isn't it? I mean, what else are birthdays for? When you celebrate someone's existence (basically what a birthday is), you are recognizing them as great for everything they are- a mom, daughter, brother, grandpa, friend, coworker, mechanic, pastor, etc.

Add to the list days set aside to remember this, that and the other, anti-racism day, international chickens day, national pogo-stick jumping day, celery awareness day, etc. We've obviously got our priorities out of whack when both celery and autism are on equal footing as 'things we should be aware of.' I'm aware of celery and autism. Now what?

Thus the problematic proliferation of subjective 'holidays' is threefold:
1) holidays are defined as suiting one purpose or person only (like Christmas is for Jesus);
2) one should not be honored outside his own birthday for just being what he is;
3) holidays should have purpose that is limited in scope, lest they lose their significance.

Now then, on this criteria is Earth day a holiday? What is the day for - are we to celebrate how old the earth is (controversial), or that it is (obvious), or perhaps we are just supposed to be aware of it (it's hard not to be)? Or remember it (can you forget it?)?

No, Earth day is for none of these reasons, explicitly. The environmental extremist (the only kind there is) will tell you that today is the day we honor "Mother Earth" by taking care of her. No doubt the lapdog media will promote this dangerous idea like it did last year with its "earth in crisis" global warming- oops, I mean 'climate change' scare. We will be compelled to "protect her" by recycling, using funny lightbulbs, buying hybrid (government-approved) cars, eating less meat and having less children. You see, the planet of Earth has been made into an entity, anthropomorphised from a mass of dirt, heat and energy into a living, breathing thing.

Now, hold up a minute. Is the earth a living, breathing thing? No. It was created (by God), but bears no resemblance to animals or humans in its eating, procreating, growing or social behaviors. This is mainly because the earth has no eating, procreating, growing or social behaviors. But the extremist greenie will insist that we the people - the aforementioned eaters/procreators- are killing the earth by, well, everything we do.

An alarm should be sounding for Christians. We are commanded to "be fruitful and multiply" and Adam was given "dominion over the animals." God seems to think eating meat and having babies is a good thing, especially if you also raise those children up to love God. And the first people did take care of the vegetation and animals, that is, until sin wreaked havoc, causing our ancestors to abuse the plenty God had bestowed on them.

But Adam and Eve didn't then start recycling and change it back to Eden. And the earth changed, but it didn't suffer. And it has been changing ever since.

Three autobiographical stories:

Back in the 90s I was a pre-teen environmentalist. Serving on my student council, I pushed aggressively to rid our cafeteria of the pollution-causing styrofoam trays we were forced to use because we didn't have a dishwasher. The reason we didn't have one? The dishwasher itself and the water used would cost too much for our liberal arts-focused school to afford. So, if we replaced the styrofoam with reusable plastic trays and a machine to wash them, we'd be sacrificing programs the students liked, such as art and music classes. It wasn't a trade-off I understood the importance of until art was mentioned. Hmm, I guess I'd rather have my creative outlets (a first lifestyle choice for me) than reduce our school's waste output. Instead, we lobbied the students to pledge not to use CFC hair spray. President Clinton even sent us a letter commending the effort (hey, it was cool at the time!).

At home, my mother was a pioneer recycler in our town. I remember many a trip to the dump with a carload of pre-sorted paper, plastic, glass and aluminum cans, long before the days of city-issued plastic curbside bins. I liked to help sort and toss bottles, and sometimes my mom let me keep the $0.21/lb we'd get for the soda cans. The place stunk something awful, but it was fun in a novel way only a kid can appreciate.

In college, I was known for picking cans and bottles out of the garbage and carrying them until I found a proper recycle bin home for them. My friends- and especially my boyfriend back then- were appalled at this behavior and, on one occasion, informed me I would be walking alone if I continued that! I was also known to haul my own recyclables to the city dumpster site, even offering to take other peoples' beer cans and bottles from frat party houses. Now, that's extreme!

Nowadays I rinse and sort things, but I throw paper right into the garbage and don't think twice about it. When near a paper bin, I recycle it, but I don't have a moral crisis when I can't. And is the planet "dying" because of this behavior? No. For every person like me as a 20-year-old earth nut, there is someone who throws everything away and evens it out.

Besides, it turns out not having those CFCs in the atmosphere wouldn't change the outlook of the ozone layer anyway, since the new theory is the depletion is caused primarily by cosmic rays hitting electrons. The cosmic rays operate on an 11-year cycle which is controlled by the sun. And there's not much we can do about that, is there?


*Victoria, if she had a facebook or twitter account, would tell you she's on her way to buy some aerosol hairspray, just to offset the loonies who have bad hair due to saving "mother earth."


Farmgirl Cyn said...

There's a National Chicken Day??? WHY DIDN'T SOMEBODY TELL ME ABOUT THIS???

Actually, I posted this morning about "Earth Day"....kind of on the same vein as yours, only shorter.
(I like yours better!)

Bonjour Madame said...

Very well said and thought provoking. You always have the right words.

Victoria said...

Well, ok, I made up int'l chicken day and celery awareness (at least I think I did).

Cyn- I liked your post, too! You put it in the right perspective- on the Creator.

Stephanie- You are too kind! Thank you.

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

Oh, this was great. Thank you so much for the biographical info. What a riot. Thankfully, I can not picture my dignified, lovely sister in law dumpster diving on behalf of Mother Earth. You've come a long way baby!
- I have this huge post on my head on "earth day" and "population control" and "overpopulation" but since I have contributed to the "overpopulation" of the Earth and my recycle bin is full - well, I didn't have the time.

PS - A few weeks back wasn't there "National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day"

I bet 1-800 Flowers was ringing off the hook.

Victoria said...

PF- Sadly, I dumpster dove and worse. Truly embarrassing! The lives I've lived could probably fill a book. It's been novel, if you know what I mean.

I hope you are joking about the "special day" you mentioned. If not.. I think we should lobby for a "forgotten children's" day to counteract it.

NOT to the nth degree, my dear. Planned Parenthood makes me sick.


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