Monday, June 1, 2009

School Holidays

The etymology of the word 'holiday' is intriguing, to say the least. It derives from the term 'holy day', of course -- any of the umpteen zillion days selected by the Most Catholic Church to commemorate the appallingly hideous deaths of a roster of saints expanding so rapidly that several popes have died in the effort to bring the thing under some semblance of control, and at least one new branch of mathematics has been conceived purely to estimate the length of time it will take before pretty much everyone in the world has been martyred.

The point of all these holy days was, in theory, rest. That and giving lots of money to the Church, naturally. If you were a medieval peasant, and it happened to be St Tenesmus' Day (St Tenesmus of the Molten Lead Enema, patron saint of lower-bowel dysfunction, whose name is still remembered in medical jargon through the term 'Tenesmus', meaning 'painful and ineffective straining of bowels') you could legitimately tell your feudal overlord to get fucked, because your immortal soul required you to sit around on your arse all day, praying that someone else would come along to do the fieldwork. Or something.

Flash forward a couple hundred years. Or so. And now we come to the concept of 'school holidays'.

Where's the idea of 'rest' now? For us medieval peons, things have gone way the fuck downhill. Dad's don't 'rest' during school holidays. We scheme. We manipulate. We control. We cook, clean, and most of all, we entertain. At length. Regardless of health, sanity, fiscal position, or any other concern, when the dreaded School Holidays come, we Must Be Dad no matter what the cost.

I can hear them outside my study right now. The boys are trying to capture their pet rats, who use their ridiculously large cage to steer clear of the brutes as far as possible. And the Mau-Mau has found the little button accordion Natalie bought for Christmas a couple years back... she's serenading the rat-catching effort at the top of her lungs. What are they planning to do with their now-very-nervous rats once captured? Does it have anything to do with the new lot of cardboard-box "army tanks" being built? Where do the underpants they put on the cat fit into this equation? (And in the name of God, why did the cat sit still for that?)

Most importantly: how can I get out of here without them noticing?


  1. Please take a picture of the cat in underpants for purposes of a LOL-cat caption contest.

  2. ...didn't last long enough. Maybe next time.

  3. Oh, it's inevitable. The poor cat hasn't suffered enough, apparently.

  4. The cat was lucky to get away with underpants. Saw one little angel (not mine) decide puddy tatt really needed hair clips. Lots and lots of hairclips.

    Puddy Tatt figured it was time Little Angel learned about claws. And teeth. Another of life's little lessons learned. But cats can't get hair clips out themselves, of course, so it was Send In the Dad time...

  5. Hmmm...on the way home from Hilton Head Island on Sunday, my 4 year old said, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" And I responded with, "Yes Brain, but why WOULD you want to put underpants on a cat?" (note, this may mean nothing if you've never seen the cartoon Animaniacs, and if you haven't, you have missed out).

    And a "roster of saints" kind of made me laugh, because I immediately imagined, in Monty Python fashion, a football pitch of 21 saints (and Franz Beckenbauer) running around, kicking a football. English, Irish and German saints on one side, the rest of the Europeans on the other. Naturally, a red card results in Martyrdom-by-Stoning.

  6. Steve: we own the entirety of Pinky and the Brain on DVD. Must admit, I like your Saintly Soccer Match concept there.

  7. I had control up to "Where do the underpants they put on the cat fit into this equation?". Lost it at that point, had me paralysed with laughter after that.

  8. Poor Toxo, as for you Dirk, sorry no sympathy!

    maybe you need another lucky cat, maybe one in metallic blue or something....

  9. I was thinking, St. Arnoldus would have to be on one of the rosters, until I realized he would make the perfect beer vendor.