Working at a local government agency is surprisingly fun, though occasionally a bureaucratic nightmare. One of my regular duties is posting agendas for Local Service Council meetings – where Public Comments are encouraged and very often negative. This makes me think the ideal holiday for the company is Festivus.
The holiday season showed me that the politically correct term “Happy Holidays” is preferred since “Merry Christmas” has religious connotations, though it never stops people from using those words. It exposes people’s belief systems, which are easily exploited – not that hypocrisy is not rampant among everyone.
I’ve been exposed to multiple belief systems by friends, family, roommates, etc. I’ve only kept the parts I agree with and discarded the rest. I’ve seen the good and bad of certain religions and fanaticism in general and as nice as it is to have a supportive community, that can come from secular activities also.
Festivus is traditionally celebrated on December 23rd and was invented by the father of Dan O’Keefe, a screenwriter on the hit 1990s sitcom Seinfeld. The holiday appeared in “The Strike” episode of Seinfeld that broadcasted in 1997. (source: Pick Up That Fork)
Frank Costanza: “Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.”
Cosmo Kramer: “What happened to the doll?”
Frank Costanza: “It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!”
Kramer: “That must have been some kind of doll.”
Frank Costanza: “She was.”
According to FestivusWeb:
The Festivus episode of Seinfeld (“The Strike“) reveals how the Festivus celebration includes four main components:
1. The Festivus Pole: The Costanzas’ tradition begins with an unadorned aluminum pole, which Frank praises for its “very high strength-to-weight ratio.” The pole was chosen in opposition to the of highly decorated, commercialized Christmas trees, because it is very low-maintenance, and most impotantly because the holiday’s patron, Frank Costanza, finds “tinsel distracting.” (Read More)
2. The Airing of Grievances: At the beginning of the Festivus dinner, each participant tells friends and family all the times they have disappointed him or her the past year. As quoted by Frank Costanza: “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it!” (Read More)
3. Festivus dinner: In “The Strike,” a celebratory dinner is shown on the evening of Festivus prior to the Feats of Strength. In the episode the meal appeared to be meat loaf on a bed of lettuce. No alcohol was served, but George Costanza’s boss, Mr. Kruger, drank from a flask. (Read More)
4. The Feats of Strength: After the dinner, the head of the household tests his or her strength against one participant of the head’s choosing. Festivus is not considered over until the head of the family has been pinned. However, a participant may be allowed to decline to attempt to pin the head of the household only if they have something better to do instead. (Read More)
My 90’s TV Memories
I was overly focused on my studies back in the 90’s (too many AP classes), but there were a few shows I watched regularly: The Simpsons, Friends, and Seinfeld. Honestly, I haven’t kept up with the Simpsons because there are so many seasons and just watching recent ones is like seeing a new funny commentary on something I already forgot about long ago.
Lately, I’ve been rewatching Friends re-runs on cable and network TV mostly because of its frequent syndication airings. I’ve also started been watching The Goldbergs and Two and Half Men, but just because they’re always on before or after whatever news shows I watch.
Anyhow, Seinfeld was a hilarious and edgy comedy ahead of its time and though it ended more with a whimper than a bang – it was more memorable than most shows. Of all the characters on that show, I related most to George Costanza – possibly because of his parents. I have also wanted to take naps under my desk at work, but I know it’s not necessary or a good idea!
Festivus Airing of Grievances (educational)
For the final project, I thought the restaurant website was the easiest option despite requiring passing data through a form to FireBase (Google’s app development platform). It was also fun because the site was for Monk’s Cafe, the fictional cafe where the Seinfeld group would meet. I wasn’t necessarily proud of what I came up with, but I got it to look exactly like my design.
I was annoyed when a developer (who took the class after me and just copied the template) said I spent too much on design. I knew the functionality was important for that class, but I focused on building out the wireframe. I had issues just getting it to function properly and relied a lot on my TA for guidance (more so than usual).
For her (a developer at Warby Parker), it was a simple fix though I was overwhelmed by holiday travel plans despite having started weeks in advance. One feature I wanted to include was showing the restaurant as closed or open based on the actual restaurant’s hours. Not necessary, but a cool, optional task I couldn’t figure out.
Despite feeling down about my barely functional site, I shared it with my brother – who thought it was cool because it was Seinfeld related. Hurray for not being discouraged by my lack of ability!