Mike Davies

What’s this Victoria Day thing?

Mike's Musings v

I have a six-year-old son named Sven, and he’s usually my favourite person to talk to.

We have excellent conversations, and he often, during the course of those discussions, makes me realize that, through the eyes of a child, some of what we do as a society is actually pretty messed up.

Like when he asks why we haven’t figured out how to keep people from getting sick, when we’ve figured out how to literally fly around in outer space.

Recently, he was asking why school doesn’t happen on weekends.

I couldn’t actually justify that, when he asked.

There are many ways that public education could be delivered, and I think it’s pretty much the scientific consensus that Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. isn’t the best way to do it. But if I was to say, “Because that’s how it’s been done since they decided to do it that way, even though it’s probably not the best way to do it,” his follow-up would be, “But isn’t that dumb?”

And I would have to say, “It totally is.”

So instead, I answered that it’s because people need breaks from things so they can focus on those things better when they go back to doing them.

And sometimes we get extra long breaks, I reminded him, which are even better than regular weekends for recharging those mental batteries. Like vacations, for example. Or even long weekends, where you get Monday (or sometimes Friday) off, too.

“Like next week,” I told him. “We have a long weekend this weekend.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because it’s a holiday.”

At which point he got excited, because holidays mean presents, right?

But it’s not that kind of holiday, I told him.

“It’s a holiday where we…uh….we recognize the birthday of Queen Victoria.”

To which he responded, “We have a Queen?”

“Well, kind of.”

Seriously, have you ever tried to explain this to a child?

Now, I’m not anti-monarchism, but honestly, a magical old man who lives at the North Pole and travels around the world in a sled pulled by flying reindeer once a year to give out presents made by elves is easier to explain to a child than why some people get next Monday off.

I couldn’t do it when I was put on the spot.

“We get Monday off,” I said, “because we used to be part of Britain, and they have a Queen,” I paused, “and we kind of still do, too. It’s complicated.”

I could have told him that Monday is the closest Monday to the birthday of the lady who was Queen of Britain when we became an independently-governed country. She got to be Queen because she didn’t have a brother and was the daughter of the eldest son of the eldest son (and so on) of a guy named William – who got to be King when his army killed a guy named Harold almost a thousand years ago.”

But I thought that would be too confusing for him. It’s confusing for me, and I’m in my mid-30s.

In any case, no, we don’t do presents on Victoria Day, Sven. Sorry. And yes, I agree with you that people are kind of weird. I mean, you don’t get presents on Victoria Day but you got to look for chocolate and jelly beans in a friend’s yard because of some fictional rabbit?

In any case, enjoy your long weekend, Campbell River.