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Spring 2010





March 8th or the Day of the Deceptive Mimosa



by Andrea Camilleri


If I must be completely honest, I was never entirely convinced by Women’s  Day which we celebrate on March 8th. The same goes for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The latter really makes me want to chuckle: are we fathers really sure of the legitimacy of our progeny? Beyond a reasonable doubt, as the Americans like to say? Some Ancient Roman laws reveal that, even back then, people had thoughts on the matter. This is a very sensitive issue; better to just drop it.


While I participate enthusiastically in every official holiday, I get weak-kneed when I’m ordered to celebrate on cue. The difference between the two is as big as a house!


I have spoken to other males about this, as Women’s Day gets closer. All of them had the same initial reaction. They lowered their voice and looked around suspiciously. The ones who looked the most dismayed when I asked the question, were the ones who appeared the most enthusiastic about Women’s Day. They loudly proclaimed their belief, so that women passing by could hear them clearly. It was evident that they would be celebrating to somehow exorcize their great fear of women.


Others who said it was not only a vital, but a sacrosanct holiday, were obviously being insincere: antifeminist to the core, the celebration gave them an opportunity to carry on their facade. One said that he respected women, but couldn’t think of any reason to celebrate them. “Would you celebrate someone who dented your car?” I was surprised: “What does one’s car have to do with it?” He went on to say, “Look, we lost a rib and Eden because of a woman.” I reminded him that it’s an old story. “Maybe,” he replied, “but nothing has changed.” 


Another friend, whose wife (we all agree) is insufferable, said that he was planning a big celebration as he does every year. Neither his eyes nor his voice betrayed any irony, but he must have sensed my amazement. “You see,” he explained, “Putting up with her every day brings me closer to saint- hood. So I’m grateful to her.” Another guy, who sees plots everywhere, said that Women’s Day is, in cahoots with the media and clandestine forces, the work of “Multmim,” a huge multinational run by mimosa growers.

  Accenti THE LAST WORD   March 8th or the Day of the Deceptive Mimosa  Andrea Camilleri

I guess I’m not the only one who has doubts. But before I tell you why, I’d like to give women a friendly warning: remember that there are many fewer holidays than regular days. Don’t be deceived by the mimosa. As the old saying goes: once on shore we pray no more. There’s a very simple reason to explain my bewilderment. When I was a boy, they told us to honour bread, the perfume of the table, the joy of the home, and so on. At home or away, for me woman has always been like bread: essential, indispensable to my existence and my survival. Like air. Has anyone ever thought of instituting a Day to celebrate the air we breathe?



Translated by Licia Canton. Originally published in Italian as “8 marzo, quando le mimose ingannano” in Racconti Quotidiani by Andrea Camilleri. Copyright 2007, Associazione Libreria dell'Orso, Pistoia.


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