In David Mamet's essay "President's Day," the unapologetic author (whom Betty once served an egg white omlette) rails against the upcoming, half-assed, and mishmash Monday holiday. President's Day is intented to celebrate the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and blogger Magwich the Gruff Australian by falling on a day that is calculated to be the birthday of none of these notable men. Instead of observing President's Day cynically, Mamet argues, we should instead have days off on more organic occasions of mass celebration and coming together: The Oscars and The Super Bowl (or, as I have always known it in my baseball-loyal household, "The Stupid Bowl").
The Oscars and The Stupid Bowl fall on Sundays, but I must agree with Mamet, and advocate for holding them on February Mondays, the gloomiest day of the week in the gloomiest month of the year. We should observe them (and Election Day should also be a day off, of course) by travelling to see our families, or congregating with our families-away-from-home in front of color TVs, celebrating and appreciating the bounty and the beauty. You don't care about one, or both, of these American touchstones? No problem! Sleep late and do the crossword. Pretend it's Veteren's Day.
For Betty, the Stupid Bowl is all about keeping warm. It reminds her of cold late afternoons in Maine, and the buildups to going over to Koko and Magwich's house to eat pizza and laugh wildly at the new commercials, and to root for the Dallas Cowboys (or really, whichever squad wasn't the Bills or the expansion team). It's better than Thanksgiving, and offers more sanctuary and concrete purpose.
Honestly, the last of the football season's games and the NFL playoffs are nearly always more exciting as football games, but that's not what the Stupid Bowl is about. Indeed, that second football-free week before the big day is intended not so much to offer the players rest as to increase anticipation for this once-a-year holiday, a post-Christmas in which you needn't buy a thing, and a post-Channukah in which the game and the lights come packaged together. It's stupid, but the buildup and the relief and release of watching a football game and a five minute rock concert on TV and with friends every winter require greater words than "super" to capture them. Here's to a long, dark winter, with the Oscars and the Super Bowl as long, rescuing lights.