I Feel Sick.

So Amy and I are eating lunch in the food court on campus today, and on my drink cup, I see an ad for this. Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Orlando, every Saturday through April 19.

I take umbrage at this. I take offense at this. I am fucking steamed like you would not believe at this, and not just because the bands playing have included Bret Michaels of Poison and Kool & the Gang.

I'm pissed because it is a desecration of the one holiday I hold holy. Amy has New Years Eve, and I have Mardi Gras (not that I've been in a position to celebrate it lately).

Let's begin with the obvious--Universal has put Mardi Gras on a Saturday, which makes absolutely no sense given the name. Mardi is French for Tuesday--it's one of the few things I remember from my three years of high school French, that, and how to conjugate regular -er verbs. If Universal wanted to do a Saturday show along those lines, it should be Samedi Gras, not Mardi Gras.

But then there's the second half of the construction--the Gras part, which means "fat," as in Fat Tuesday, the last day of debauchery before Ash Wednesday, and the forty days of misery known as Lent. "But Brian," you say, "you're an atheist, not a Catholic. Why the hell should you care so much about this?"

I care because Mardi Gras is the one religious holiday that celebrates humanity. It says "yes, we acknowledge that people really want to get hammered to the point of illness and potentially engage in sexual activity and exhibitionism that they wouldn't normally partake in because the church is such a tight-ass," and gives them, not just permission, but encouragement for said behavior, complete with a "Get Out of Hell Free" card at midnight, thanks to midnight Mass. What's not to love about that? It's a holiday that screams "be the wild person you want to be 364 days a year--God's giving you a freebie!" And it's the once-a-year nature of the holiday that makes it special.

But Universal doesn't care about any of that. They think Mardi Gras is synonymous with "party with beads and shitty music." Third Eye Blind? Huey Lewis and the News? Heart?

And you know what else is in the pictures? Kids. Fucking kids. Mardi Gras is the one adults-only holiday out there, and for years, cities have been trying to make it kid-friendly, which is beside the point for the whole damn holiday. And I'm not even talking about the gratuitous nudity (which, thanks to fucking Girls Gone Wild has lost all its charm)--I'm talking about the carefree atmosphere that allows one to laugh at a friend who has slipped and fallen in someone else's puke, and who can't get up because he or she is too drunk. I'm talking about the desperate search for a toilet where the owner isn't going to charge you twelve bucks for a drink you don't want. I'm talking about taunting the street preachers who stand in the intersections holding signs that say "God Will Destroy All Sinners With Furious Anger."

No. You'll get Huey Lewis and the News, and maybe he'll sing that Back to the Future song, and Universal Studios will drop a goddamn DeLorean on the stage as the big finale.

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