Zhuangzi
March 2nd, 2006

Zhuangzi

More metaphors than you can shake a stick at. Hooray! If you’re not familiar with Zhuangzi, well, then you should remedy this.

This week my city celebrated a local holiday called “Fat Tuesday.” It’s an ancient tradition surrounded in myth and legend said to honor the inventor of the plastic necklace, Thor “Fatso” McKlintock . Each year members of the Voodoo religion sit on paper mache carts pulled by SUVs and throw beads at people in the streets. As dictated by tradition, passers-by suppress the natural urge to run from things being thrown at them and instead attempt to catch what they can. It is said that whoever collects the most beads will become “King of Tuesday,” making them immune to all misdemeanor laws for an entire year. Many women are especially competitive, and attempt to attract more beads by removing their shirts. (It is a well known fact that Thor McKlintock’s greatest rival in life was Eddie Matthews, inventor of the t-shirt, and thus disrobing is considered a ceremonious gesture of good faith.) In 1967, to help bolster interest in the space program and also reduce the amount of federally recognized Voodoo holidays, Lyndon Johnson renamed the holiday “Marty Graham Day” in honor of the first astronaut to die during a flight simulation. In addition to the traditional beads, cakes baked by astronauts (dubbed “moon pies” by Niel Armstrong) were also tossed during the holiday. Decades later the name has been shortened to “Mardi Gras,” with the once solemn homage to the Haitian pantheon replaced with public drunkeness and unsolicited camera crews.

Here’s to tradition, and mighty Damballah!

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