Finally. A holiday that I can really sink my teeth into. A holiday that I can really get behind. A holiday that I should get off for, because it's a hoilday that celebrates me. It's Mardi Gras.
For those of you who aren't aware of the history and the meanings behind Mardi Gras, let me explain it to you. It's a Catholic holiday that is deeply tied in with the ideas of Easter and Lent. Here's the deal: the forty days before Easter are the Lenten holiday in the Catholic religion. The first day of lent is Ash Wednesday, the day that everyone who is Catholic walks around with little ash smudges on their forehead. Fine. But the thing about Lent is that it's a time for personal restriction. You can't eat meat on Fridays, you are supposed to give up something important to you, etc. So Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday, was developed as a way to go nuts before the season of fasting. That's right, it's the bachelor party of the religious comminuty.
Mardi Gras, however, has become so much more. It's definitely the dark horse of amazing holidays. Everyone goes on about Spring Break all the time. Spring Break this, and Daytona Beach that, and South Padre Island, blah blah blah. No! Listen. New Orleans or Mobile or Biloxi at Mardi Gras, that's where it's at. It's like a celebration of public drunkeness and debauchery. Food is dirt cheap. Booze is dirt cheap. Guys, girl will flash you for chains of 25¢ plastic beads. Are you kidding me? Are you seriously messing with my head? I don't know how this isn't a national holiday. I do not understand why ANYONE, ANYWHERE is at work today. George W. Bush loved to party back in his day; he had eight years to get this done, I don't know why he didn't make it into a permanent national holiday. I am so excited that the last line wasn't even close to a complete sentence.
The thing I love about Mardi Gras is the extravagance. It's a day to blow the wad, party like you're Prince in the 80s and it's 1999, and generally be bad as hell before you have to be pious and you don't have to apologize for it. You don't have to feel guilty about it. It's rude, it's crude, it's inappropriate but it feels oh so good. And it's not ashamed of itself one little bit. It's fantastic. And the best part is that even if you do not choose to celebrate the Lenten holiday, if you don't choose to fast and whatnot and just live the forty days before Easter like you live the other 325 days in the year, you can still celebrate Mardi Gras like it's going out of style. It's open and available to everyone and anyone who wants to celebrate.
So let's give some love to Mardi Gras. I know I am. Let's all take sick time or a personal day (well, probably two because there is no way anyone is going to be in any shape to go to work on Wednesday unless your job is as a mattress tester or maybe a sleep study patient) and let it all hang out for Mardi Gras. Boys, the friendly New Orleans tourism people will be handing our handfulls of beads at the airport as soon as you step out of the baggage claim. Use them wisely. Boys, get drunk, puke all over Burbon Street, then climb a lightpost and fall off and get a concussion. And don't be ashamed about it. Girls, swill Michelob Lights and show your tatas to anyone willing to chuck some beads at you, and don't be ashamed about it. Let's all go out and act like we are Roman aristocrats. Let's all go out and act like we are in a Girls Gone Wild video. Let's twist and contort the old standby saying: Nothing in moderation, everything in excess. That's the spirit of Mardi Gras. Let's live it up.