Today, for all our Canadian friends and enemies, it is Victoria Day.
That's right, the official celebration of the Queen's Birthday. Yes, the Queen is currently Elizabeth II, and she was born on April 21st, but today is nevertheless officially her birthday, May 24th. But only in Canada. Not in the UK, or an any other Commonwealth country. Her birthday was April 21st in those countries. It's kind of like the shift between the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, except lamer.
These countries have a long history of this--inexplicable vacations, disconnected holidays, or, my favorite, holidays celebrating failure. ANZAC Day, commemorating Aussies and Kiwis getting fucked over by the British and slaughtered by the Turks. Guy Falkes' Day, remembering the failure of the Gunpowder Plot. Boxing Day...actually, most people can't quite explain to me why this day is off, or what it precisely commemorates, but it seems like a good idea to get the day after Christmas off and so no one's complaining.
So it makes sense, in context, I guess, for Victoria Day to commemorate Elizabeth's birthday over a month later.
My favorite British holidays were always just "Bank Holidays." That's all. "Today, the bank will be closed. The rest of youse are welcome to close up, too." And most businesses follow suit. The key thing about Bank Holidays is that they are sprinkled throughout the calendar, so the British don't suffer from our horrid problems: a shitload of vacation from November until early January, and then nothing for nearly a solid half-year.
So I had a birthday this weekend. Yeah, I know: go me! I am always conflicted about birthdays, since I like parties and all, but I feel kind of fake simply celebrating my ability not to get killed another 365 days in a row (even if this was one of those years with more potential death than most).
But it deserves some recognition, since I had a couple of revelations.
Going from a pack a day to no packs a day will not instantly make me capable of sprinting 100 meters with no adverse effects.
Bumming a cigarette off of someone will not ease the 100 meter pain.
Quitting smoking is still the right thing to do.
Quitting smoking is nevertheless not very fun.
Ummm. That's about it. Tiny Tim will not be coming out to say "God bless us everyone" after this revelation.
In fact, no gimps at all will be entertaining you now.