Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Holiday Utility Curves

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone. I decided to mark the occasion with a Guinness and a post about holidays. 

I've decided that different holidays bring varying levels of joy or utility, depending on one's age. I don't think this is really rocket science...nobody would argue with the statement that most people are super excited about Christmas when they are a little kid, and less excited about it when they are in their 40s. What I've decided is that this utility curve is not the same for all holidays. 

So in by messed up brain, the level of enjoyment or utility is on the Y axis (the one that goes up and down) and your age is on the X axis (side to side). So holidays like Christmas sort of look like a Ski Jump. They are at their peak early in life, and then go sharply downhill for the rest of your life. That one is sort of obvious (and also sort of depressing). I promise they'll get better.

There are some holidays that follow a normal distribution. I would put most drinking holidays into this category (St. Patrick's Day, New Year's Eve, Valentines Day if you're single).  These holidays are of little to no importance during your early years, then become increasingly important in your late teens to mid 20s, and then fall back into obscurity. And by important, I mean they are a convenient excuse to drink too much. 

Editor's Note: This isn't entirely the case for everyone for St. Patrick's Day. If you're legitimately Irish (not Bennigan's Irish), then it is sort of important for your entire life. I know this because Kate is legit Irish. Like South Side of Chicago Irish. With a super Irish-sounding maiden name. Honestly, if I had a pet leprechaun, and the pet leprechaun happened to be female, I would probably give it Kate's maiden name. Damn this blog would be better if I could use last names. Oh well. Oh, and I pretty much swiped the Bennigan's Irish thing from Mike Birbiglia who has a whole bit about being Olive Garden Italian.

Editor's Note #2 - Kate says I can use her maiden name. So it's Katie Kerrigan...doesn't that sound like a good leprechaun name?

Some holidays are only important when you're in school, and then you forget about them when you grow up. I guess they sort of have the same ski jump distribution as Christmas. I'd put some obscure holidays that schools get off in this category. In Illinois we got Casimir Pulaski day off. Don't ask why. I wouldn't even know who that is if it wasn't for Wikipedia. We probably would've studied him in school, but we got the day off instead. I'd also put President's Day and Parent Teacher Conference Day in this category. And don't try to tell me that Parent Teacher Conference Day isn't a real holiday.

Some holidays seem to have two peaks that resemble, well, boobs, I guess. Sorry...you try coming up with something else that can be described as having two peaks. Not so easy, huh?Anyway, examples of this would be holidays like Halloween, where it's fun when you're a little kid, and then you don't care about it until you get to college and then it just becomes an excuse for people to dress inappropriately. Then it goes back to not being that important or fun. 

A couple of Nike Swoosh shaped holidays would be Labor Day and Memorial Day. Labor Day pretty much sucks when you're a kid because it means that the swimming pool is closed for the year (check local listings). But it's pretty fantastic when you get older and you get a three day weekend for no particular reason. Same pretty much goes for Memorial Day...utility seems to grow as you get older.

That leaves us with Birthdays. I've been thinking about it for awhile, and I finally have it figured out. I  think that the birthday utility curve sort of looks like any level from Super Mario Brothers. It's pretty flat most of the time, then every five years it gets exciting and goes up and you get to hit your head against the flashing question mark and grab the coin. This would be on your 5th birthday, 15, 25, etc. Your utility goes up a little bit, but nothing too crazy. Then it gets really fun every 10 years - like when you're zero, 10, 20, 30. These would be those big tubes on Mario Brothers - you can jump up on top and be at the highest levels of utility on these birthdays, or you can jump into the tube and go beneath the surface. That seems to be what people do when they get super depressed on their 30th, 40th, 50th birthdays. Maybe I took the Mario analogy a little too far. 

Alright, that's all I've got. Enjoy your corned beef and soda bread. And if anyone has an old school Nintendo that they want to get rid of, let me know. For some reason I really want to play Mario right now.


Laura said...

For the record, growing up in the US is not really legit Irish. I'm legit and fanatical about correcting people on this issue. Oh and love the blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey Everyone!

I've been trying to figure out a good place to start with the Acai free trial and was wondering if someone had any thoughts on whether or not the stuff works for weight loss? So far this is the 1 [url=http://acaiberries.zoomblog.com/]article[/url] I have been able to read online that seemed real for what my goals are. Opinions?

viagra online said...

this is a great site about Holiday Utility Curves, everything in here is wonderful. Great!!
just that wonderful congratulations for your blog!

Viagra said...

Great addition to your site. Thanks for this.

Viagra Online said...

Oh man… How did I ever not read your articles before? Do you write articles on only this topic or do you write on many others as well. How and where can I find your articles so that I read them and gain the knowledge on the same, because I just love the way you write.

Generic Viagra Online said...

I would like read more information about this, is very interesting! Thanks for the information. A worth bookmarking blog. I would be reading your articles regularly from now on.

Cheapest viagra online said...

This is what I have been searching in many websites and I finally found it here. Amazing article. I am so impressed. Could never think of such a thing is possible with it...I think you have a great knowledge especially while dealings with such subjects.