From May Day to Stars Wars, it’s a month for celebrating.
Story: Fred Hilton
You can make a strong argument that May is the best month of them all. First, it has the shortest name. It’s only three letters long. Anything that has just three letters has to be good—like nap, dog, cat, fun, eat, beer and wine. (You count letters your way, and I’ll count them my way.)
Meteorologically speaking, things don’t get any better than in May. Just about everywhere, the weather is superb. In the frozen wastelands (that’s anywhere north of Jacksonville), the nasty ice and snow have gone for the year. In sunny Florida, we don’t have to bundle up and worry anymore about those frigid days when the temperatures drop into the 50s.
May is a month of celebration. It’s named for the Maia, who was a goddess of fertility in both Greek and Roman mythology. The Roman poet Ovid contended that May actually was named for the “maiores,” Latin for “elders.” However, nobody ever paid much attention to old Ovid. They all knew he had a bit of a drinking problem. Ovid would get a snootful and run around the Forum with his toga flapping open while he sang “XCIX Bottles of Wine on the Wall, XCIX Bottles of Wine.”
With the help of Ovid’s favorite beverage, May provides lots of days for special celebrations. May 1 is a day for spring festivals in many cultures. A friend of mine was really into the beginning of May as a grand excuse for a party. At his annual First of May party, he’d run around singing, “Hooray! Hooray! First of May! Outdoor [bleeping] starts today!”
There are plenty of other celebration days in May—though none as colorful as my buddy’s annual outdoor [bleeping] party. May is, for example, National Golf Month. This certainly should be celebrated heavily in Florida.
In the United Kingdom, May is National Smile Month. Closer to home, May is National Burger Month. The month also is designated as the official month for some other things, but none are as much fun as National Burger Month.
There also is the big May Fourth celebration for “Star Wars” fans: “May the Fourth Be With You.” “Star Wars” fans dress up in their Stormtrooper outfits, their Princess Leia hairdos and their Spock ears. (Of course, I know that Mr. Spock was on “Star Trek,” not “Star Wars.” Everybody knows that. I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.)
For me, May always has been a time of things returning to normal. I’ve spent most of my life in places where an annual influx of thousands of people alters the status quo and disrupts my peaceful existence.
For many years, I lived in a college town. The town was relatively small but nearly doubled in size each fall when 20,000 or so screaming, hot-blooded 18-to-23-year-olds would swoop into town. After arriving, they’d proceed to clog up the highways, take all the parking spaces, make it impossible to get into a restaurant, and do unspeakable things in public. Then, nine months late, they’d all disappear. As they left each May, I’d drive through campus yelling, “Go home, you little bleeps! Go home!” Of course, I didn’t yell too loudly because some of the little bleeps had nasty tempers and could have inflicted great bodily harm on me.
Now, living in Florida, I see our population double every winter when a massive flock of snowbirds swoop into town. After arriving, they proceed to clog up the highways, take all the parking spaces, make it impossible to get into a restaurant, and do unspeakable things in public. Then, by May, they all disappear. As they leave, I drive around yelling, “Go home, you old bleeps! Go home!” Of course, I don’t yell too loudly because some of the old bleeps have nasty tempers and could inflict great bodily harm on me.
In the spirit of total disclosure, there is one very bad thing about May: lovebugs. They pay their first visit of the year during May. Lovebugs have but one purpose in life: to make little lovebugs. Shortly after they hatch, a guy lovebug and a lady lovebug hook up, literally and figuratively. During that time, they fly around with the lady lovebug pulling her little scrawny husband lovebug along behind her.
They then proceed to splatter onto your windshield, dive into your beer, or fly into your mouth. After three or four days, Papa Lovebug dies with a smile on his face. Mama Lovebug lays 600 or so eggs and then croaks herself. A few months later, a gazillion lovebugs hatch and it starts all over again.
The only May thing that’s worse than lovebugs is this joke:
Question: “If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?”