In true Syd Nichols fashion, this week’s column is going to start off like one of my signature rants, but hang in there, it comes back around. Mother’s Day was just a few days ago and the annual holiday got me to thinking (dangerous I know).  My first thoughts centered on the holidays we celebrate, their inherent meaning, and how we celebrate them. I’ve mentioned in the past that I think that the vast majority of our holidays are silly and devoid of any real meaning. Even the holidays that once carried deep religious meaning or historical significance have been tainted and bastardized to the point that they have become little more than an excuse to behave a certain way and spend unnecessarily – I’m pointing a very accusatory finger at you Hallmark.

My least favorite of course are the “holidays” in which for just one day, so many of us falsely embrace others ethnic or religious heritage for the sole purpose of drinking like a frat pledge and having an excuse to make an ass of ourselves. Fortunately on those days, I’m always the guy standing behind the bar, not holding on to the other side of it draped in all green or wearing a sombrero while engaging in a chugging contest.

Then there are the holidays that were once deeply rooted in religion, but have quite sadly devolved into over-commercialized excuses to elicit unnecessary spending, exchange gifts, and engage in bizarre rituals that have absolutely nothing to do with the true meaning of the holiday. You always hear about the importance of the separation between church and state, but have you ever seen a government office open on Christmas Day or Easter Monday?

Despite the above ranting, there are still a small handful of holidays that I believe are important, relevant, and downright necessary. If it were up to me, we’d ditch them all except for Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Mother’s Day. In my humble opinion, there is no more important day of the year than Mother’s Day and no one more deserving of their own holiday than mothers. I’ve always felt this way and I always will. It’s one of my favorite days of the year. Though it’s now bittersweet since I can’t spend time with my own Mother, I am still able to pay homage to the mother of my children and all the other deserving mothers I am lucky to know.

Now don’t read into all of this and start calling me out for my hypocrisies. Of course I celebrate most of those other pointless holidays like the rest of the masses. I have kids and I would never rob them of that. I’ll let them form their own beliefs as they grow.  After all, I’m just a cynical, hyper-analytical clown…not a monster. I love Christmas morning and Easter morning for the sake of my children’s innocent, smiling faces.

By now you all know my mind works in tangents, so before I knew it I was transitioning from holiday outrage to cultural disappointment, leading me to question the modern day definition of a hero. A majority of the youth, and hell, even us to a point, worship sports figures, musicians, movie stars, and comic book characters. Most of those on this list either don’t actually exist, or make obscene amounts of money to do things for no loftier purpose than entertaining while perpetuating their own agendas.

There’s nothing heroic about catching a ball, running across a line on the ground without dropping it, and then dancing like a fool for the next minute or so as you get paid millions of dollars a year to do so. You don’t see a heart surgeon who just spent hours inside the chest of an infant whose life he saved spike his scalpel and moonwalk out of the room. You don’t see firefighters run out of a burning building with a barely alive body over their shoulders and then do a choreographed leaping chest bump.

There’s nothing heroic about writing a song with profanity laden lyrics that belittle and demean women or encourage criminal behavior, while making millions to perform it. And yet our kids are smitten by the mansions you live in, the cars you drive, the bling, and the entourage, and tragically they want to be like you.

If you make 30 million bucks a film to pretend to be someone else in front of a camera for a few months, good for you. Just don’t be audacious enough to try and preach your ‘values’, politics, or beliefs on those of us who actually work and think and raise our own children. And I won’t be specific, but if you named your child after a piece of fruit, I think I speak on behalf of most of us when I say; shut the f@#* up and go away!

I could go on this tangent for pages, but for your sake I will tie it back into to the original point of this piece. As I write this, it’s in the waning hours of Mother’s Day. I’m sitting here at my desk thinking about true, genuine heroes. I’ve had many people in my life that I’ve looked up to and admired. I’ve had a handful whom I may have even emulated to a point. But I’ve even been truly blessed to have intimately known two superheroes. One of them gave birth to me, and the other gave birth to my children.

If you’ve followed this column for any length of time, than you’ve read many stories about my Mom, my feelings for her, and her influence on me, so I’ll try and supply you with an abridged version of her greatness. About 12 years ago, she reticently retired from her fight with cancer with a 5 and 1 record. Considering that her opponent was cancer, those are pretty damned impressive stats. In fact, I’d call it hall of fame worthy and downright badass! She was larger than life and the most amazing person I’ve ever known. Everything I am I owe to her and everything I have I’d give for just one more day with her. She never once had a moment of self pity, and if you were fortunate enough to have met her, then you’re a better person for it. Happy Mother’s Day Mom, I love you and I miss you more every day. Thank you for everything.

I heard once long ago that when little boys grow up to be men, if they want to find the perfect mate they seek someone who is just like their Mom. Well, it most certainly wasn’t a conscious effort but I think I nailed it.

So now, after this lengthy build up I’m going to call it a wrap…for now. I’ll pick this up next week right where I left off, with the unveiling of another real life Superhero of mine whom I’m going to go kiss goodnight right now and wish one last happy Mother’s day.

For now I ask that you cherish what you have, embrace every moment, take nothing for granted, and never miss an opportunity to express your love and appreciation.

Thanks for playing along.

Until next week, Syd Nichols