Dear Hypersensitive Lady

Having just read your recent letter to the editor of my local paper, I need to tell you that the reality distortion field which surrounds you is quite powerful. Oh, and you're full of it. You start off with

What is "holiday?" Wherever I go in Lexington, I am wished a "Happy Holiday." I understand Christmas and Hanukkah, and Kwanza, but what is "holiday?" Every holiday marked on the calendar, commemorates some momentous event in the life of an individual or in the history of a people. What does "holiday" commemorate?

Frankly, I don't believe you're this stupid. The word "holidays" describes a collection of special days. Wishing someone "Happy Holidays" is kind of like saying "Enjoy your weekend." It saves us from having to say "Enjoy your Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday." Even though Saturday is the Sabbath for Jews, and Sunday is the Sabbath for Christians, it's still OK to save time and confusion by employing the catch-all phrase. Please tell me that you're not going to start decrying the War on Sunday. Saying "weekend" does not have anything to do with denying the mystical specialness that you may feel Sunday encompasses. It's just convenient. Likewise, we say "holidays" because there are more than one of them. If someone hasn't met you before and forgets to check for the horns, he might not know if you're Christian or Jewish, so he might wish you a "Happy Holidays" just to play it safe.

Please tell me it hasn’t been invented just to secularize and belittle the celebrations of others.

Right. That's just what happened. A secret cabal of atheist word-inventors cooked up the word "holidays" just to piss you off. In their subterranean lair, deep beneath the Galapagos Islands, birthplace of evolution. And then they read Harry Potter books while listening to Black Sabbath and eating hummus. Thank hebbens to Jeebus that investigative reporter extraordinaire Bill O'Reilly discovered this nefarious new plot! But wait! There's more:

If "holiday" fills a need for some who do not choose to share in Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza, do you think the date for it could be changed?

Please see above. This is like asking if maybe rectangles could have a different number of sides so they won't be confused with squares.

If this trend to belittle continues we will soon be calling the Fourth of July "hot dog day" rather than Independence Day because someone out there still bemoans the breakup of the British Empire.

No, we won't. No one will do that. If I have to pick only one problem with that terrifically inept analogy, I believe I will select the fact that no one gives a crap about the British Empire. At least you close strong:

Actually, it may be a good thing if storekeepers and public officials continue to put down Christmas traditions. Sooner or later, it is bound to make Christmas celebrants resentful enough to drastically scale back the commercial side of Christmas in favor of church and home. I look forward to that day.

Given the way things are going this year, the idea of the angry Christians taking their ball and going home sounds kind of nice. You, in your church or home doing whatever it is you do, and me in mine, enjoying "The Grinch Who Stole Soltice" while setting up all the penguins in the Lego creche under our tree.

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