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May Day, May Day, May Day

MAY DAY        Photo by Alexander Podshivalov,

Here it is May Day already and according to who you are, May Day means different things. No surprise – I have my own idea on what May Day means to me.

My favorite May Day is the traditional holiday, the pagan practice of women dancing around the May Pole to celebrate Spring and the springing forth of life. There are many watered down versions of what it all means – in order to fit whatever religious orthodoxy prevails, but I prefer the old pagan idea.

In this version the May Pole is a giant phallus, the source of all new life, and dancing around it is a celebration of manhood. I can just imagine how it got started. Somebody in the village said it’s spring time – the flowers are in bloom, the grass is sprouting up out of the mud – we should celebrate. And the men all said, we should celebrate new life, and what’s the source of all new life? We are.

So everybody in the village, erected a giant pole and tied colorful ribbons to it, and celebrated men and manhood. Yes, I know that after the manly work is done, women have to finish up the chore over the next nine months, but hey, it’s the men that made it all possible.

My second favorite May Day is what pilots or ship captains say when their plane or ship is getting ready to go down. “May Day, May Day, May Day,” they say into the radio. Always three times, so there’s no mistake, even if there is a lot of static. It comes from the French word “m’aider.” It’s a trimmed-down version of the French phrase, “venez m’aider,” which means come over and help me, according to my friends at Wikipedia.

The reason it’s my second favorite May Day, is that when somebody says it into the radio, it means the movie is about to start getting exciting. People are in trouble and now we’re going to see how they get out of it.

My least favorite May Day is the one often ends up involving marches and protests. What can I say? I’m sick of marches and protests. It was started by a bunch of communists, socialists, and anarchists and is also known as International Workers Day. It’s not that I am anti-labor; I definitely am not. I respect work, whether it’s done in an office, a factory, or on a construction site.

Work is something to be celebrated. Marching through the streets complaining about how the world is not fair just seems tiresome. It’s true. The world is not fair. But marching around complaining about it doesn’t do much to change that.

Especially when the alternative is pretty girls dancing around a May pole.

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