In the late 90s, in Oakland, California, back when "East Bay" was widely recognized as Pig-Latin for "Beast", a band called the Gazillions took it upon themselves to revive a long-forgotten holiday, Brick Day.
Jason Smith, the drummer of the now-defunct Gazillions, was asked after the purpose behind Brick Day, and he had this to say, "Don't you think we need more national drinking days? And I'm not talking about holidays that drive you to drink, like Christmas, or those holidays that are used as thinly veiled excuses to drink, like Cinco de Mayo or St.Paddy's Day. I'm talking about a holiday that clearly admits its mission statement — that you are meant to drink all day. "
The Legend of Brick Day
On October 15, 1879, Ezekiel Fairweather decided to give up his masonry business in Tuscon. He gazed out over his stock of bricks, neatly stacked in cubic yards, and mournfully repeated the word that proved his undoing: adobe.. adobe.. adobe.
No one wanted his quality English brickwork in the burgeoning Southwest, preferring the indigenous form of masonry in the area. Having put all his money into establishing his brick factory, he had lost everything. So, he did what any sane man would do in the same situation — he headed for a saloon and commenced to get drunk. He walked in and sat down, pathetically clutching one of his bricks to his chest like a parson holding the Good Book. He set the brick down on the bar and ordered a drink.
"Well there pardner," said the jovial bartender, "whachew got that brick fer?"
Fairweather took in a deep breath, slowly lowered his glass, and said, "It's Brick Day, fuckface."
Brick Day is celebrated annually on October 15 by calling in too sick to work, going to a bar, and drinking all day. Faithful celebrants (as opposed to shiftless drunks) are recognized by the brick sitting on the bar next to, or under, their beer (and a cheap beer, this is the East Bay Punk Scene, not some nancy CAMRA session). The headquarters for Brick Day celebrations is the venerable Oakland dive bar and cultural institution, the Stork Club.
How to Celebrate Brick Day
- Sleep in late.
- Call in sick to work. (If you don't have a job, call someplace you might work, and let them know you won't be in.)
- Get a brick, maybe two (see below).
- Find a good dive bar, someplace with draught beer on special during daylight hours.
- When you order your first beer, set your brick on the bar.
- If the bartender asks you why you have a brick, give him the ritual response, "it's Brick Day, and you should have one too".
- If the bartender or anyone else at the bar doesn't know about Brick Day, give him a brick (if you brought an extra) and explain the Legend of Brick Day (proselytize for the cause).
- Drink yer beer. Have another, it's Brick Day. (If there is another weekday following Brick Day, go to work hungover, or DON'T GO TO WORK AT ALL.)
Brick Day is a fine excuse for a drink and a bit of tavern apocrypha, one that I was introduced to on October 15, 2000 at the Stork Club by J.Gorman (who later heckled me dressed as Raidan while I read the Second Coming from the stage, but that's another node). Both the interview excerpt with Jason Smith and the paraphrase of the Legend of Brick Day is from Katy S.Clair's 2001 article <www.eastbayexpress.com/issues/2001-10-24/music/planet.html>