Written by Biff Mitchell 

 

It was the world’s first annual international holiday

and everybody was excited

from Bamako and Brazzaville to Port Moresbury and Bellefontaine

from Hobart and Managua to Kalymnos andTurpan

from Derbent and London to Hemer and Dahaban

From Fredericton and San Lucas to Bangor and Dunhuang

everybody was excited

 

It was the world’s first annual international holiday

a day for child soldiers in Burma to lay down their guns and write home to their parents

a day for babies dying from starvation in the Sudan to stop starving and smile and gurgle like babies do

a day for bankers on Wall Street to stop stealing money from the poor and buy chocolate at the neighborhood co-op

a day for wife beaters everywhere to do the dishes and laundry and bring home flowers

a day for politicians around the world to take a break from lying and read The Road Less Traveled

a day to lay down machetes and dance with the children

a day for warring neighbors to shake hands and exchange recipes

a day for gadget slaves to lay down their iPhones and go for a long walk in the woods,

naked

 

It was the world’s first annual international holiday

and the day started off sunny on one side of the planet

and dark (but clear-skied) on the other

there were no tsunamis, hurricanes, blizzards or tornadoes

no volcanoes, limnic eruptions, earthquakes, floods or forest fires

no outbreaks of Ebola, e-coli or flu

no mudslides, avalanches, droughts or famines

no Extinction Level Events

no riots, arrests, seizures or crackdowns

no bankruptcies, scams, economic crises, investor paranoia or lack of fiduciary prudence

no wars, police actions, diplomatic breakdowns or terrorist attacks

no scandals, ru mors, publicity stunts, divorces or cover-ups

not a single spontaneous combustion of a human being

and everybody agreed that the absence of bad news in the media was exciting

 

It was the world’s first annual international holiday

and for once nobody was calling the shots

nobody said, “You cannot eat meat on this propitious day.”

nobody said, “You have to get up early and wear your best socks.”

nobody said, “We’ll all meet at the meeting place for speeches and PowerPoint presentations.”

nobody asked for tickets

nobody asked for ID

nobody asked for passports or references

nobody asked questions or doubted another’s word

nobody cast suspicion

and everybody had fun doing their own thing

 

It was the world’s first annual international holiday

and people were passing things out

they passed out smiles

they passed out hugs and kisses

they passed out free stuff like ice cream and hot chicken samosas and chocolate coated

ants

they passed out WOWgrams

they passed out cards for every occasion

they passed out absolution

they passed out free passes to concerts

they passed out papers for safe passage through dangerous territories

they passed out recognition and pats on the back

they passed out shoulders to cry on and ears that would listen

some, overcome by the excitement, simply passed out

after which, the face paint was passed out J

 

It was the world’s first annual international holiday

and everybody danced to whatever rhythm they danced

drums beat out around the world to whatever rhythm the drummers beat

there were parades in the streets and celebrations in hostels around the world

piñatas hung from trees wherever there were trees

every wrist wore the Martenitsa and every hand held a sparkler

there was bean throwing and pumpkin seed spitting

young and old wore costumes and sang songs in foreign languages

fireworks filled the skies over streets painted in red and white stripes

candles and incense and bowls of hot punch spilled over the curbs

oceans of smiles flooded the streets and alleys and gurgled up from the sewers

the earth vibrated madly with excitement and goodwill and the approaching aliens nodded approval and called off the cleansing

 

It was the world’s first annual international holiday

and the hangover lasted a few hours into the next day

before the babies began to starve again

and the children picked up their guns

 

Text © Biff Mitchell

 

 

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