By Andrew Ramirez
I don’t care about the Presidents anyway. I’ve never daydreamt about Van Buren or Polk. The only Lincoln I’ve got an affinity for is red and busted in my gramps’ driveway. Or animatronic and plugged into a wall at Disney Land.
President’s Day, for several reasons, is something I’ve never experienced firsthand. But I’ve always imagined that in the big rubbery hearts of car dealerships, electronics stores, and cavernous malls all over the nation, that Monday in mid-February is hot shit. Discounts abound. The morning freeways are ruled by entranced thirty-something-year-old married couples driving Civics and downing coffee, sniffing the air. There’s a trail of blood on the paved roads. The slashed prices huddle together in dark alleys and pray for rain. It doesn’t rain. When they are discovered, a debit card runs across their throats and they are wrapped in tissue paper and carried home in a white plastic bag from the Pottery Barn.
Then I remember I’m imagining, and the reason I don’t know a damn thing about the presidents or their special day is because I woke up at three in the afternoon.
Because like any good three day federal holiday, Presidents’ Day is a good excuse to splurge on the good stuff and turn Sunday into Saturday, whispering to yourself (or screaming to the person next to you) I’m not thirty-five yet! All throughout the land, the lost youth live out their Jim Morrison fantasies by pressing the accelerator deep into Sunday night on Presidents’ Day Weekend. It’s kind of like Halloween for the irresponsible armies of youth. There are no families to shop for the next day, and no thirty percent discount worth hustling down a Wal-Mart aisle for. Instead we put on our Wild Child masks and get to it. We tickle the soft underbelly of the prime of our youth. It starts to giggle in the face of prudence. The next morning when we feel like shit.
Last Presidents day an old man in a bar told me for no reason that the road to hell was paved with good intentions. Then he said: “I heard that in a movie. Don’t worry though—it’s not supposed to make sense.”
So this past Saturday, Presidents’ Day weekend, I leaned into a face I’d been trying to impress and tried to recite the line like the old man had said it one year ago. “It’s kind of like that saying: The road to Monday goes through Sunday.”
I choked. “I got that from a movie.”
“Maybe from a book.”
“I’m…paraphrasing,” I said, then got up and walked away.
The next morning was the actual day for Presidents and I was wearing draw-string shorts and a pair of sunglasses, no shirt, at five in the afternoon, sipping water. I was also wondering where the day and forty-seven dollars went. It’s worth noting that my head was a fishbowl emptied of all fish, floating in the red hot and boiling ocean of a throbbing hangover. There’s no way I said THAT, I said to a friend.
“You definitely did.”
“Well shit. What time is it?”
“We missed all the good sales.”
“I don’t care,” I said. “Ben Franklin could clawed his way out the grave and start swirling his brains in a forty percent off Krupps blender I still wouldn’t buy it.”
“Franklin wasn’t a president,” my friend said, and then: “Why would anyone wanna buy that blender?”
“You’re right. My brains not working right,” I said. “My head’s never felt this bad. You think the presidents got hungover on Presidents’ Day?”
“Ulysses Grant probably. Roosevelt for sure though.”
“Yeah. Roosevelt,” I said.
“Don’t you wanna know which one?”
“I hate them all,” I said. Then I shut my eyes and pretended that when I opened them it was Tuesday.