Well the Holiday Season has finally arrived, the time of year that we set aside a few days to spend with our family, just to remind us that there really are a few things worse than work. We all recognize the importance of holidays, and why we need so many of them at this time of year, when the weather turns cold, and the nights are long. We take our holidays when we do, because that’s when we most need a break from our daily grind.
By the middle of November, most of us are on the verge of going postal. Then, just as we are about to snap, the four-day Thanksgiving Weekend rolls around. After four days of turkey, beer, and televised football induced oblivion, we can drag ourselves back to work with something like a smile on our face, knowing that there’s just four more weeks till Christmas, and then the whole fucking year is over in a week-long orgy of food, gifts and alcohol abuse. That’s why we have holidays.
Without the holidays, we’d never get through the year without killing somebody. Whether it’s our bosses, coworkers, elected officials, the general public, our family or ourselves, we all have our lists, and every year the holidays come along just in time to to save their lives, and help us get through the rest of the year without incurring a lengthy prison sentence. But what about the struggle just to get through each day?
If you’re like me, you know how difficult it can be to get through a whole day, let alone year, without strangling somebody or curling up into a fetal position, sobbing and screaming “Why… Why… Why…” until you are too hoarse to speak. I know that life is hard, and every day is a struggle. Everyone deserves a break from the stresses of the day now and then. That’s why I invented:
(cue dramatic sound effect, Ka-Bam)
(cue angelic choir ahhh- ahhh- ahhh).
The holimin is a kind of micro-holiday. Holimins break up the day with little one-minute-long celebrations that let us set aside the burdens of our daily grind for a moment of merriment. My partner and I, being the cultural creatives we are, have been celebrating holimins for more than five years already, and in that time they have become a cherished tradition for us. We now celebrate many holimins throughout our day, and we have developed customs and rituals around each of them.
Some holimins are more festive, some more spiritual, while some simply remind us of who we are and what time it is. You might celebrate some of these holimins yourself, and not realize it. For instance, lots of people around here, and cannabis enthusiasts all over the country for that matter, celebrate the holimin that falls on 4:20.
If you’ve ever sparked up a joint or fired up a bong load precisely, and intentionally at twenty minutes after four, you’ve celebrated the 4:20 holimin. I very much enjoy this holimin, even though I smoke pot all day long, I take special pleasure in it when I do it at exactly 4:20. Around here, parties often start at 4:20. Informal groups often gather to partake in cannabis smoking at 4:20, and some employers even schedule breaks at 4:20 to allow their employees to enjoy a smoke at that time.
All over the country, people set aside what they are doing at 4:20, pick up a joint or a bong or a pipe, add fire and inhale. This simple act changes their whole perspective on the day, and makes them feel better, and forget about whatever it is they were doing at 4:19. Yes, 4:20 provides an excellent example of the power of holimins, but you don’t have to wait until late afternoon (or very early morning) to celebrate a holimin, nor is it necessary to indulge in psychoactive drugs to enjoy them (although it helps).
Any minute of any day can be a holimin if it is significant to you, and you take the time to celebrate it. Of course, it always helps to have someone to celebrate a holimin with, but it’s not completely necessary. Like holidays, holimins tend to lose their meaning, and become depressing, if you try to celebrate them alone, but also like holidays, holimins can bring you closer together and strengthen the bonds between people who celebrate them together. On the other hand, I have discovered that too many holimins, or holimins celebrated at inappropriate times, like during sex for example, can have a negative effect on a relationship, so strive for a good balance in your holimin celebrations.
It doesn’t cost a lot, or take a lot of time or energy to celebrate a holimin. In fact, you should always keep holimin celebrations to less than one minute, this precludes shopping for gifts, costumes, decorations, or even food preparation, which tends to bog down holidays and make them expensive. Holimins, by contrast, require only a simple gesture, a chant, a short song, a little dance or an embrace, just a little something you can do in less than 60 seconds, without prior preparation, to acknowledge the special moment.
For us, holimins began with a minute that acquired significance with the advent of digital timepieces. Perhaps you celebrate this one too, 11:11. AM or PM, 11:11 is the only time of day when clocks show us four ones in a row. In the world of digital time, 11:11 has an elegance only matched by 12:00 or 6:30 on clocks with dials and hands. There is a certain Zen about looking at a digital clock at 11:11, a time when all things are equal, and all is one.
Now, excuse me while I go celebrate 4:20.
Ok, now what was I talking about, oh yeah, 11:11
To celebrate 11:11, we have developed this little tradition: Whichever one of us looks at the clock at 11:11, will pick up the clock and show it to the other one of us. We then turn and look at each other with the expression usually only seen on small children as they gaze at a decorated tree piled high with presents on Christmas morning. We hold our hands up, fists clenched, save for the index finger on each hand, which we hold straight, and pointed skyward. Using our raised forefingers, we then recreate the digital display in flesh and bone, with real digits, while we chant, in unison, “Eleven! Eleven!” as though we were shouting “Happy New Year!”, and then we kiss.
We found the whole celebration tremendously fun, and it only took a few seconds. It made us smile. It made us laugh, and more than once it evolved into late morning, or late night nookie, but it didn’t happen every day. That is, most of the time 11:11 would just slip by unnoticed, and we wouldn’t celebrate it. So, we decided we needed some more holimins.
10:10 seemed like a natural, it’s got a kind of balance about it. It’s binary, which seemed cool. So, building on the success of 11:11, we developed a holimin tradition for 10:10 similar to our 11:11celebration, but instead of holding up only one finger on each hand, we hold up all ten fingers. Then, we give each other two-handed high-fives, chant “Ten! Ten!”, and kiss.
10:10 became a hit as well. Before long we started celebrating 12:12, 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44 and 5:55, and developed holimin traditions for each of them. As we added more holimins, we started looking for different things we could do to celebrate them. 3:33, took on special meaning for us, because it is half of 666, the number of “The Beast”. We call 3:33 the Half-Beast Holimin, and it became the first holimin with a special holimin song, at it goes like this:
(sung to the tune of Wild Thing)
You left my raft beached
You make Menonite movies
You’re my Half-Beast
Be sure to go “ner, ner, ner”, or if you are cat lovers like us, go “meow, meow, meow” to cover the guitar chords between words, and do it all with enthusism, and maybe even air-guitar hand gestures. Our Half-Beast celebration quickly became a favorite, and we even celebrated it in public a few times; once, I recall, very quietly, in the library, and another time at The Meadows Cafe in Redway, but we still wanted more.
We added 12:34, then 1:23, 2:34, 3:45 and 4:56, as well as 6:54, 5:43, 4:32, and 3:21, which, of course, involved chanting: “Three!… Two!… One!… Blastoff!”. We developed holimin traditions for all of them. I won’t bore you with the details, but they’re all silly, and fun, just like regular holidays. To top it off, we added 10:01 and 12:21, and dubbed them the palindrome holimins. Looking at the clock became more fun than playing a slot machine. Any time of day, there was a pretty good chance that the clock would “pay-off”, with a holimin.
The palindrome holimins proved to be the “straw that broke the camels back”. Over time, all of those holimins became burdensome, and stressful on our relationship. Besides that, it became hard to get anything done unless we hid the clock. Eventually, for the sake of our relationship we said “Never again” to holimins, and ceased celebrating them all together, but it wasn’t long before we started missing them.
Today, we still have our holimin traditions for all 20 holimins, buy we’ve learned to only celebrate them if they feel appropriate to us at the moment, and we seem to have arrived at a happy balance of holimins in our lives. I hope you will try out holimins for yourself. Experiment with them, see what works for you, and develop your own rich holimin traditions. Happy Holimins!