On August 9, 1960, Harvard professor Timothy Leary consumes seven Psilocybe caerulescens mushrooms in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Five hours later, he experiences a “full blown conversion experience” next to a swimming pool. It is Leary’s first drug trip.
Now, it doesn’t matter what your view of drugs might be, but wouldn’t it be more fun and relevant to have stat holidays celebrating important contemporary cultural events, such Tim’s first trip, rather than State-sponsored dates based on ancient cults, dead monarchs, and jingoistic nationalisms? Each generation could change them as needed, keep them fresh and meaningful as time and culture moves forward.
To get us started, here are an old Boomer’s ideas for twelve more culturally relevant Stat Holidays:
January 1 New Year’s Day
February 14 Wayne’s World (1992) release
March 21 The first tweet (2006)
April 23 The first YouTube video (2005)
May 25 Release of Star Wars (1977)
June 11 First broadcast of American Idol (2002)
July 1 Canada Day
August 9 Tim Leary’s first trip (1960)
September 9 Elvis Presley’s first appearance on Ed Sullivan (1956)
October 1 Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show debut (1962)
November 18 Release of Steamboat Willie (1928), Mickey Mouse’s first film
December 17 Debut of the Simpson show (1989)
The everloving suggests that each of us should also get two further stat holidays of our own choice to best suit our own cultural proclivities. Sounds good. I’ll take 27th June to celebrate both Emma Goldman and the IWW, and 9th October to celebrate John Lennon.
Skylight Restaurant — the last of the classic diners on the Drive — has been closed for the last couple of weeks so that the family who run the place can get a summer vacation. They were open today and so the everloving and I eagerly took ourselves down there for an 11:00am breakfast.
Considering it was the middle of the morning on a work day, we were surprised and pleased to see how busy the place was, with just our usual table (kismet!) and one other available. Corned beef and hash, and eggs benny (definitely NOT hollandaise, but damn tasty) with lots of coffee and toast, satisfied our inner needs, while the other clients and their (loud) conversations kept us interested.
Behind me, unseen but not unknown, two transgendered friends went back and forth with a street person at another table. One would tell a story about how “they” had screwed up their claim, and the other would respond with a story that topped the first in getting-screwedness. This went on and on until the stories were far into the BS zone. Still, they seemed to enjoy themselves.
At another table beside me an earnest middle-aged man explained in detail to his bored companion (who never spoke so far as I could tell) how 9/11 was an inside job. I couldn’t quite hear who he considered the villains of the piece but he knew it was all very fishy.
On my other side, three millennial media types took up a booth with their laptops and iphones and notebooks. They ordered coffee and took up a lot of space for a lot of time. I didn’t notice them share a single word of conversation.
And then there were the four West Siders who arrived, and sat defensively, close together. They studied the simple menu for a long time and then ordered with lots of substitutions. They whispered among themselves, and they sounded like the coming of gentrification. Their various loud perfumes filled the room insensitively for those with chemical sensitivities. Leaving the Skylight and plunging into the aroma of Western Reduction (really powerful today) was almost a relief.
This is the 89th anniversary of the murder by the State of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.
What from the splendid dead
We have inherited –
Furrows sweet to the grain, and the weed subdued –
See now the slug and the mildew plunder.
Evil does not overwhelm
The larkspur and the corn;
We have seen them go under.
Let us sit here, sit still,
Here in the sitting-room until we die;
At the step of Death on the walk, rise and go;
Leaving to our children’s children this beautiful doorway,
And this elm,
And a blighted earth to till
With a broken hoe.
— Edna St Vincent Millay “Justice Denied in Massachusetts”
Lest we forget.