I have just discovered that in a vote of 14 to 1, Los Angeles city council, on the heels of a couple of other cities, has voted to rename Columbus Day “Indigenous Peoples Day.”
Now I would’ve thought, as a Native American, I wouldn’t be overly thrilled with Columbus opening the floodgates and allowing all manner of people to run rampant across the country, but I would see this as a part of history, which while deplorable to me, I comprehend. If it was me however, I wouldn’t be trying to eradicate the past, but building the future, and would’ve offered the suggestion that there be an “Indigenous Peoples Day” in addition to Columbus Day.
After all, one man’s fish is another man’s poison, and this name changing business has indeed upset a large group of Italian-Americans – and who are we to decide which group gets to be upset first or who will be forced to remain upset? I can give you my warm personal assurance that there isn’t one person alive today who is directly responsible for what happened way back in 1492.
So I am proposing that in order not to offend anybody ever again, we should look into the derivations of the naming of the days of the week, and the months of the year, because sure as eggs are eggs there is something offensive lurking behind each one.
Take the days of the week for a springing off point. We have a whole bunch of Norse gods and goddesses – of the sun; the moon; thunder; fertility and death. We have the singularly unfortunate (if you will pardon the pun) one-handed Norse god of dueling; and last but not least, the Norse traditions gave up and just named Saturday Saturn’s Day – thus no doubt offending Pluto and Uranus, but how could you have Uranusday and not smirk?
As for the months, we have various gods and goddesses – of beginnings, of love, of spring growth, and of the queen of the gods; then we have a little feast of purification, a couple of Roman emperors were thrown into the mix, and then evidently the Romans too got bored with finding acceptable gods and just settled for boring old number words – like sept, novem, decem and so on.
Well now if all of that isn’t a little petri-dish of future seething animosity, hurt feelings, and potential over-bookings on therapists’ couches, I don’t frankly know what is.
We could of course rename the months by simply assigning a number: January of course being 1 and December being 12. To avoid any confusion, Sunday could be “A” ending with “G” for Saturday, which would also happily accommodate F for Friday, as in TGIF, the springboard for the weekend.
Or we could go with the old standby which I’m sure, in its singular simplicity and descriptiveness, we could rename everything “gray” and be done with it. As in “let’s meet at 1 on the grayth of gray”.
Oh – and before you fly to your computers and pen outraged emails to me – let me give you a hint.
Lighten up. Smile more, you’ll feel ever so much better.
-- Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.