This year for the first time I realized that no one can agree on where to place the apostrophe (if at all) in President's' Day. A quick search on the internet shows that the definitive answer is obvious--call it Washington's Birthday.
But since I saw it in commercials for mattresses spelled three different ways I was compelled to figure out which way is correct.
Digression: Why mattresses and presidents? (though JFK and Clinton come to mind when searching for a connection). Can you imagine George saying to Martha, "Some day I hope they commemorate me and all the great men and women (in this Downton Abbey-like revisionist version I am making him a feminist) who hold my job in the future by offering great deals on mattresses!!"
No of course not. He would have wanted the day commemorated by giving our kids the day off of school so we can take them to Nickel City (local arcade) which, at this time of year, as my neighbor Danielle pointed out, could also be called Cesspool.
Or we could honor them by cramming the day full of orthodontist appointments and last-minute rehearsals for the high-school variety show. Whatever.
Back to the apostrophe. I am going to make a case here.
It can't be President's Day because that would imply we are only honoring one president which defeats the whole purpose of changing it from Washington's Birthday in the first place.
It technically could be Presidents' Day for obvious reasons.
But this year I noticed a lot of companies went with the somewhat confusing Presidents Day. I had this explained to me once by a colleague, Mary Brent who pointed out that if you use a noun enough it kind of becomes an adjective and you don't need to worry about possession anymore. Her example was Farmers Insurance.
I also noticed that Sears and BMW went apostrophe-free (in their TV ads anyway) and I choose to believe they have some of the best copywriters left in the world.
Tweeters don't do copy-writing so maybe I need to explain....Well kids, once upon a time there were people who, never mind. It gives me comfort to imagine a room full of smart English majors debating this over at Sears headquarters. Sears' headquarters. Errr...
So I make the case to go apostrophe-free. I have at least two regular readers who are English majors (Amy and Lorri) who may want to thrust and parry on this. Go for it.
And while I am suggesting we let go of that apostrophe, and we are fresh off the Family Christmas Card Season, a gentle reminder that you should not sign the card "Love, the Brown's" It is simply, "Love, the Browns".
Think about it a minute, I'll wait.
Oh, no, I do not think you are a silly goose for making this very common mistake and did it myself for MANY years. But stop it now.
So today's lesson is that with apostrophes, as with mattress sales, less is more and if I ever figure out commas I can share that with you too.