Today marks the anniversary of Bastille Day, the beginning of the French Revolution. On July 14, 1789, the French prison of Bastille was stormed by the French people to overthrow the monarchy ruling at the time. This moment symbolized the end of French monarchy and the beginning of a new form of government. This day is honored with parades and celebrations similar to the 4th of July in America.
But the beginning of the French Revolution is not the most important historical item to recognize on this day. When you think about it, this is a war that the French actually can claim to have won! The monarchy did wave the white flag and surrender, but the majority of people living in France at that time could actually consider themselves winners in a war. Is it any wonder this is such an important day for the French? They had to fight themselves to win a war, but hey, that still counts, right?
To honor such an important occasion, I would suggest that we all help the French in their celebration by acting French for a day. For those of you who may not have a good idea of how to express your Frenchness, I've made a convenient "Top 10" list of ways to show your French appreciation today.
1. Don't shower or use deodorant. You really shouldn't shower or use deodorant for at least a week to get the true aroma, so you might want to go for an early morning workout in an effort to get that ripe flavor for today. Your co-workers might not appreciate it, but you're French right now. You'd actually prefer that people be annoyed by what you do anyway.
2. If you're a woman, don't shave anywhere on your body. Make sure you wear sleeveless shirts and short skirts to show that you're proud of that body hair. If you're a man, shave everywhere on your body. The gender roles seem to be reversed in France, so you should just pretend to be the opposite sex for the day.
3. Smoke cigarettes every waking moment of the day. Don't worry about "no smoking" areas either. Those signs are only for people who care what anyone else thinks. If anyone complains, just pretend you don't speak English.
4. Make a lucrative business deal with a known murderer or felon. This is especially effective if you make this deal with a person who has murdered or injured someone who was your friend or relative. If your other friends or relatives get upset with you for making a business deal with this person, just accuse them of being bloodthirsty and belligerent. But make sure you give them the impression that somehow you're still taking the moral high ground.
5. Don't tip anyone. Go out for an expensive meal and pay the exact amount of the bill. Tipping is a tradition of those useless Americans, so don't be bothered with it. Make sure you complain about the meal and the service before leaving too.
6. Act like Jerry Lewis all day to try and get your friends to laugh. If you're unsure how to act like Jerry Lewis, just think of the dumbest movie you've ever seen and act like one of the characters.
7. Make anti-Semitic jokes. Don't worry if anyone is offended. Be proud of your history of cooperation with the Nazis and hatred of Israel.
8. Be a jerk. You might have to make a serious effort on this one, because the French have it down to an art form. Start by telling everyone they suck at their job. Especially if they really don't. Then yell at people for no reason. Just make something up, and try to make them cry if you can. Call everyone you meet an "idiot", even if you've never met them before.
9. Go to a sporting event and heckle all known American players as loudly as possible. Don't discriminate your heckling based on race, skill level, or personality. If Serena and Venus Williams were fair game at the French Open, then it should be open season on all American athletes.
10. Introduce yourself to everyone today by saying "Hi, I'm _________. I surrender." Instead of shaking hands, give them a white flag and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Don't be concerned if this feels awkward when meeting women, children or the elderly. If you really want to be French, you can't go half way and not surrender to someone just because they appear small or weak.
Have a very happy Bastille Day.