Friday, March 27, 2020

We’re all a little jostled by our upset rhythms, and some days pressing on may feel akin to leaning into an ever-tightening noose. But hindsight is up around the bend, waiting to gift us with a perspective soaked in relief and coated with optimism. We should all be able to look back at this weirdness and believe we did what was right. I can’t say with any certainty that there is a point in persisting with this 366-day party while the world quakes outside my door, but dammit, onward we go. Next stop:

Live Long & Prosper Day

89 years ago, Leonard Nimoy was born. It’s his birthday that triggered this homage to the Vulcan best-wishes message, and according to the official website, we are to use this day to contemplate the title of this day, and figure out a way to apply it to our lives. How can we live longer? More prosperously? What about those people who can’t make the Vulcan hand gesture without using their other hand to spread their fingers apart? Should they live shorter than the rest of us?

Matt McCarthy, just a normal dude, embarked on a project in 2017 to craft an illustration to represent a different holiday every day. Imagine that, somebody committing to a year-long celebration to commemorate various things, using his artistic skill. Well, today we get to make up our own holidays (see below), and Matt felt that this was an ideal fit for March 26.

Right now we’re all effectively doing our best to live longer by staying inside our homes. Unfortunately that appears to be having a rather negative effect on our cumulative prosperity, but hopefully this is a temporary situation. Today we’ll point out that Star Trek is on Netlfix and Prime, and that picking a random episode and settling down for ~45 minutes is a magnificent way to allow your brain to prosper from some top-quality fiction. May we all get through this and back to exploring the galaxy – or at least the city streets outside our homes.

National Spinach Day

Like most children, I assumed that if you were to consume spinach you would immediately increase your forearm strength tenfold, and then be prone to violence. I was shocked to learn that none of this was true. I was also shocked to learn that I liked the flavour of spinach, even in that precious period of childhood in which the only green foods I enjoyed were lime and/or sour apple flavoured candies. Spinach has a wonderful taste, and it’s still the only food I know that can get ‘wilted’ for a recipe.

Ancient Persia, the birthplace of so much of our civilization, is believed to be the origin point for spinach. When it made its way to India and China in the 7th century it was called the Persian Vegetable. It ventured boldly into European cuisine because it showed up in early spring, when fresh veggies were in short supply. And just like that it worked its way into regional cuisines all over the known world.

Spinach is incredibly healthy, which should surprise no one. During World War I wounded French soldiers were given wine mixed with spinach juice in order to curb their bleeding. This should surprise everyone if it actually worked. The thing about raw spinach though, is that it contains oxalates, which prevent absorption of calcium and iron in your innards. It’s best to consume spinach “cooked in several changes of water” to get all the nutrients and no oxalates.

Several changes of water? What the hell does that even mean? Not wanting to find out, we simply enjoyed some spinach with dinner. We felt marginally stronger for it, and fortunately felt no desire to punch anyone named Bluto.

National Nougat Day

Nougat: that stuff in some candy bars that isn’t as tasty as caramel. But alas, it’s so much more. Made from sugar or honey plus roasted nuts, there are three varieties of nougat out there. Viennese or German nougat is a chocolate-and-hazelnut praline concoction. Brown nougat is made without eggs and is usually crunchy. And white nougat is what you’ll find clinging to peanuts in a Snickers bar, holding up the caramel in a Mars / Milky Way, or whipped into a fluffy frenzy inside a Three Musketeers.

We head back to Central Asia once again for the origins of this treat, specifically to around Baghdad in the 10th century. It made its way up through southern Europe, where it remains mainly a Christmas-time snack.

We considered just picking up some nougat-ful candy bars and calling it a party, but given that Carol’s Sweets was still open as of last weekend (and may still be today), we took advantage of their quality goods and got some true nougat chews. They were extremely chewy, and while Jodie remains less-than-thrilled about the stuff, I found it to be charming and really tasty. And we have plenty left over, so National Nougat Day will ring out through the weekend, at least.

Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

Finally, our chance to contribute our own spin on what sort of celebrations we should be honouring this year. Thomas & Ruth Roy, those kooky Pennsylvanians who have created some of our most wonderfully weird celebrations this year, popped this day into the world so we could all join in. They submitted more than 80 celebrations to Chase’s Calendar of Events, and on this day we are encouraged to submit our own. And we totally did.

Jodie proposed Halfway Through Day, which would land on July 2nd this year, July 1st on non-leap years – the halfway point of the calendar. To celebrate, she suggests taking a mid-year do-over on New Year’s Resolutions. Re-evaluate where you’re at, and zero in on some new achievable goals for the rest of the year. A great idea.

My contribution lands around the same time. I am proposing National Create Your Final Playlist Day to land on June 28. On this day, we take a moment to create (or edit, if you’ve already done this) a playlist on Spotify, Apple Music, or even a mix tape / CD if you’d rather. Your aim is to include the songs you’d like played at your funeral, wake, or even your autopsy if you feel it’s important to plan for that. What songs would you like people to associate with you? Keep the mix to an hour or two at the most, and maybe leave out songs that will annoy your loved ones. Unless you want them to suffer through two hours of Napoleon XIV’s “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha Ha”. That’s up to you.

Purple Day

There appears to be a day for every colour throughout the year, usually promoting a cause like cancer, AIDS, bullying, etc. Purple Day is for epilepsy awareness, a cause no less important. The aim is to encourage as many people to wear purple as possible, so that those who are not can ask someone why, and maybe learn a little something.

The first thing we learn about epilepsy is that it’s estimated that 1 in 100 people have it. The next thing – and this is the really scary thing – is that the cause of the disease is usually unknown. You can get it from a stroke or a brain injury, but often it just shows up unannounced. Of course the big symptom is the seizure, and it would benefit all of us to take a first aid course to learn how to handle a seizure. It’s a scary thing to watch, but if someone with a calm head is around to take care of the situation, that’s a good thing.

There isn’t much we can do to prevent epilepsy, apart from not getting a brain injury, and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Fortunately there are a number of medications out there (including cannabis) that can take the edge off these seizures or even curtail them completely. If you know someone with epilepsy (or if you are someone with epilepsy), I hope you threw some purple on and showed the world yesterday. By which I mean, posted a pic or stood in your window. Gotta stay distanced!

Solitude Day

I can think of no better time of year for this day to show up. As we all learn to master the art of keeping the hell away from other people, we find this lovely little day, reminding us that sometimes we’ll only do this once per year. On this day we are meant to reflect quietly, perhaps create some art or enjoy some art, but to do it alone. In peace. Just like every other day for those of us in quarantine.

Parents with small children probably look at the title of this day and chuckle in that sad, lost sort of way that only a prisoner can relate to. But for the rest of us, this was an easy feat. Jodie worked on some school work for a while, had a nap, walked a dog, played on her phone, and read her book – all far away from human accompaniment. I was “at work”, meaning telecommuting from my office, where I also wrote this article and played some games. We were both solitary for a good chunk of the morning and afternoon.

As long as you don’t count the dogs. And you shouldn’t – when alone with dogs you are just that – alone with dogs. Dogs are there to enhance the solitude and to beautify it. If you didn’t get around to toasting this yesterday, I hope you can grab a few moments today to appreciate the beauty in solitude. Given that we are all banned from wild parties and people-heavy events, we’ll get plenty of time to appreciate it. Then we can spend the rest of our time yearning to get back out into the world.

Someday. When it’s safe for everyone.

Things ramp up today, though we can’t quite get to everything we’d like to. Maybe you can:

  • National Scribble Day. A day to express our feeble non-talents in scribbling.
  • National Joe Day. I was going to make a plan to take my buddy Joe out today. Instead we’ll just chat. Joe is one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met, so I’m looking forward to it.
  • International Whiskey Day. Oh, thank you for this. This is a great thing to celebrate.
  • World Theatre Day. And here’s something we have to mourn a little. No opportunity to head out and see theatre today, so we’ll have to wing this.
  • Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day. Of course – how could we not celebrate this one?
  • National Spanish Paella Day. We had planned to go out for paella. We’ll see if we can order some in, though I suspect we’ll come up empty. But we will try!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s