I bounced this idea around in my head for a while and I think I’m just gonna run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.
You guys are familiar with Festivus? (“A Festivus for the rest of us!”) Its the holiday from Seinfeld that was invented when one of the characters got tired of all the Christmas hype. It has its own rules, its own traditions, and, apparently, it’s own adherents.
Made-up holidays aren’t anything new. Kwanzaa is an amalgam of ‘traditional African holidays and festivals’ cleaned up and marketed to empower black people. Presidents Day is a holiday created by bumping Washingtons Birthday and Lincolns Birthday into a combined holiday. (To keep the number of federal holidays constant, thereby ‘freeing up’ a day For Martin King Day). So why not a fabricated holiday for those of us who believe in preparedness, and it’s virtues and lessons?
WIthout further ado:
The Paratus FAQ v1.0
What is Paratus?
Paratus (from the Latin ‘prepared’) is a one-day ‘holiday’ that basically exists to give an excuse for like-minded folks to exchange appropriate gifts, get together in a social setting, and, perhaps, share some ideas on the subject. It is intended to be a secular holiday but, reflecting the individualistic nature of it’s practitioners, can incorporate a religious element if the practitioner wants. However, the ‘true’ Paratus is strictly secular, non-denominational, genderless, mostly apolitical, and thus available to every demographic that wants to participate.
When is Paratus?
Third Friday of September. September, because there’s kind of a lack of holidays around that time, on Friday so you can have the weekend to play with your new gear, and the third Friday so you don’t have too close a followup to any 9/11 events.
Are there Paratus colors?
St. Patricks day got green, Christmas gets red and green, Halloween gets brown and orange…the colors of Paratus are subdued earth tones suitable for camouflage, as well as camouflage patterns themselves. Woodland, multicam, digicam, even that crappy ACU all count towards being the ‘Official Color Of Paratus’.
How does the gift giving work for Paratus?
Paratus closely follows the Christmas model – as Christmas traditionally dictates an empty stocking hung by the chimney with care for Santa Claus to fill with gifts, Paratus calls for an empty backpack to be left by the preferred primary exit of the dwelling. Your Paratus gifts are placed in the backpack by the giver. Or, if you prefer the ‘Santa Claus’-type mythos, the backpack will then be filled by the elite Paratus Long-Range Recon Gift Squad. It is advised to wait until a child is in their teens before breaking to them the harsh news that the Paratus Long-Range Recon Gift Squad is really just mom and dad filling their backpack with freeze-drieds once the kid has gone to bed.
Gift giving is not based on behavior (‘naughty or nice’) but based on either need, or revenge gift-giving obligation. Get your intended recipient either something they need or something that will force them to get you something equally as awesome. Win-win for everyone. All gifts should be able to pass the test of “if the world ended tomorrow, would this be really useful?” It is considered perfectly acceptable to leave cash, although in the spirit of preparedness precious metals are preferred over cash. Unreciprocated gift giving is acceptable if the recipient makes a tremendous expression of gratitude and makes a self-deprecating remark about their own lack of generosity. The giver then agrees with the recipient about their lack of generosity, injects a level of snark or good-natured mild condemnation, and the obligation is then discharged. Here’s an example:
A: Hey, man…thanks for the cool Swiss Army knife.
B: You’re welcome. So..uhm..where’s my gift?
A: Yeah…about that…things are a little tight but I promise I’ll get you something even more awesome next Paratus. Plus..Im cheap..I’m so cheap I watch porn movies backwards because I like watching the hooker give the money back!
B: Yes. Yes you are. You’re so cheap you won’t even tip your hat! But…Happy Paratus anyway.
And everyone can still be friends!
What are the traditional Paratus foods?
Paratus is a gastronomically flexible holiday. You can either do a ‘real’ dinner with your fellow celebrants where the cuisine is whatever you want – pizza, Chinese take-out, home-cooked turkey, whatever – but the more orthodox celebrants will enjoy meals that are exclusively comprised of long-term food and/or homegrown/harvested foods cooked using a non-grid-connected cooking device. Whereas Halloween has candy corn, St Patricks Day has corned beef and cabbage, and Thanksgiving has turkey as traditional food, Paratus supports the notion of ‘do what you can with what you have’. However, anything freeze dried would probably be considered a ‘traditional’ Paratus food. The little marshmallows in Lucky Charms do not count.
What are the traditional Paratus activities?
Shooting, naturally. Anything that promotes the idea of preparedness. This can include, but is not limited to, watching traditional Paratus movies (“Red Dawn”, “The Omega Man”, “Threads”, zombie movies, or any other movie with a ‘survival’ theme), trading books on related subjects, going shooting, hunting, fishing, or just sitting around discussing current events and strategies against them.
What are the traditional Paratus greetings?
“Happy Paratus” seems to work best. “Joyous Paratus” sounds odd, “Merry Paratus” sounds like a Greek actress, and “Good Paratus” sounds like a medical diagnosis.
Is there a Paratus mascot?
Well, there are leprechauns for St Patty Day, witches and ghosts for Halloween, Santa Claus for Christmas, Cupid for Valentines day……the Paratus Development Committee is still on the fence about this one. A heavily armed, and slightly scarred, Felix the Cat is in the lead since the notion of “Whenever he gets into a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks” has some merit as well as cats having nine lives. However, at the moment, there is no official Paratus mascot.
Are there any Paratus carols or music?
Paratus is discouraged from having a specific musical theme in order to prevent people from playing it a month-and-a-half before the actual holiday. Additionally, retailers are discouraged from starting their “Paratus Season” sales more than 30 days before the holiday. However, after-Paratus sales are highly encouraged.
Again, reflecting the individualistic nature of adherents and participants of Paratus, some folks may concoct their own Paratus playlists. Commonly encountered tunes might be “Opening Theme” from the Red Dawn soundtrack, “Silent Running” by Mike + The Mechanics, “A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams Jr., and similar arrangements.
Anything else to know about Paratus?
At the moment, no. Go forth, have a Happy Paratus, and be sheeple no more!