Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Serenity now! As the starscape fills up like a pointillist masterpiece we’re left to bumper-car our way through another day in lockdown. Yesterday offered few moments of wall-busting revelry, as it seems most of this week will be traversed with our collective foot hovering a few precious inches off the gas pedal. That’s fine – fewer 3,000 word articles means more time to devote to our celebrations proper. Or to napping, whichever is deemed more important at any given moment. That said, we made sure not to neglect any of this:

National Eat What You Want Day

Another creation of Thomas and Ruth Roy, the couple who unleashed a few dozen of the weirdest holidays into our midst this year. While it seems most days are swamped with mandatory food we need to prepare or at the very least consume, this one contains no such missive. In a normal year – and here I mean ‘normal’ in the sense that we would not be celebrating every other thing, not ‘normal’ as in no pandemic – we would take advantage of this day to get a little gluttonous. But what to do in a world where gluttony is standard operating procedure?

We simply ate what we wanted, with no special flourish or indulgence. Cereal for breakfast, leftovers for lunch and pork tacos for dinner. Some snacks here and there, including the rest of those delicious butterscotch brownies from last weekend. But it’s hard to churn enthusiasm for a day of pigging out when pigging out is really all we’ve been doing, especially since the lockdown began.

For those of you who have been behaving, who have been adhering to your New Year’s diet or even just common sense ingestion, I hope you got a little crazy yesterday and indulged in some of your favourite foods. If not, perhaps you’re a fan of Nutty Fudge and you can join us in that today. There’s always more great food parties on the horizon.

National Twilight Zone Day

A quick scan of our available streaming services, almost all of which we subscribe to because what else are we going to do for entertainment in 2020, reveals that no service is offering the Twilight Zone. It used to be on Netflix (or perhaps it was American Netflix, back when I was forking out money for a VPN), and I’d worked my way through the first couple of seasons. This is significant, because there were something like 35 episodes in each of those seasons. Almost every single episode was terrific. This show passes the test of time with a blazing A+.

Why is May 11 National Twilight Zone Day? I have no valid answer for this very legitimate question. The show first premiered on October 2, 1959. The film came out on June 24, 1983. The first reboot dropped on September 27, 1985. The second on September 18, 2002. The third on April 1 of last year. To my knowledge the date May 11 does not factor significantly in any individual episode. So it’s anybody’s guess.

The show was not the first anthology series on TV, meaning a show where the entire cast and premise changes from week to week. But it was the best of TV’s golden age, introducing sci-fi, magical realism and brain-plucking philosophy into every episode. Some of the greatest episodes are still discussed today by rabid fans (and there are many of them). There’s “Time Enough At Last”, about a guy who finally achieves the freedom to read to his heart’s delight, only to break his glasses. There’s a lesson there somewhere that could probably apply during this pandemic.

There’s the alien feasting episode “To Serve Man”, which was expertly hommaged in a Halloween Simpsons episode. “It’s A Good Life” depicts a sadistic 6-year-old boy who can (and does) mess with the world in cruel ways using the powers of his mind. And of course the William Shatner classic, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”. And apart from Shatner, the star power on the show was still intense with established names and others whose fame was lying in wait, with appearances from Peter Falk, Charles Bronson, Robert Redford, George Takei, Buster Keaton, Ron Howard, Dennis Hopper, Dean Stockwell, Bill Bixby, Burt Reynolds, Agnes Moorhead and Mickey Rooney.

In lieu of actually being able to watch this show, I can only pay tribute and maybe catch a clip or two on Youtube. There aren’t many. Perhaps in an alternate dimension… a twilight-lit zone, if you will, we can tune in once again.

National Foam Rolling Day

Launched by TriggerPoint, a (wait for it) company that manufactures and sells foam rollers, this day was designed to point out just how great a foam roller can be for fitness purposes. I mean… sure, I suppose it can. I’m about as in-tune with fitness trends as I am with the various seasons of Doctor Who – I’m aware they exist, and I’ve heard good and bad things about some of them, but overall I’m just not that interested.

The foam roller was apparently invented in the 1920s by a martial artist and physicist named Moshe Feldenkrais. For whatever it’s worth, I would absolutely watch a film about a martial artist/physicist named Moshe Feldenkrais. I recommend casting Ben Schwartz in the role as soon as Hollywood resumes production. Moshe was aiming to decrease pain in his knee when he came up with the roller. The real money wouldn’t start rolling in until a fitness student named Sean Gallagher met up with Jerome Robbins, a Broadway actor, in 1987. He recommended the roller for Robbins’ fleet of fellow dancers, and the trend started to spread.

We have one of these sitting in our house, actually just a few feet from where I’m writing this. Why do we own one? I have no idea. Jodie has used it for stretches and physiotherapy, but it has rested dormant for months. Yesterday we used it and I remember why I never touch the thing. It’s great for stretching out the muscles, but it’s damn painful to do so. I could take this as a positive celebration, reminding us to keep our muscles limber and to exercise regularly, but do I need that lesson? On Eat What You Want Day?

Yes, I probably do. Thank you, TriggerPoint, for hawking your product in a way that I will notice this year. And now I need a nice warm bath.

World Ego Awareness Day

This one is quite specific. It’s a day created for those who are struggling with mental conditions relating to ego, which leads us deeper down the Freudian rabbit hole (“interesting that you reference a hole,” notes my internal psychiatrist) than we’re used to going. What sort of issues impact a person who is struggling with ego?

Having an excessive ego leads to narcissism (of course), but also to prejudice, to an inferiority or superiority complex, racism and sexism. It can lead to violent behaviour as well, and a constant need for approval. An ego issue can lead to a difficulty in feeling and expressing empathy. Look, we’re doing everything we can to keep American presidential politics far from this project, but dammit, this day is really testing us. I mean, there are few examples as perfect… nope – not going there. We’ll leave it as implied and move on.

Fortunately, issues with the ego are not in any way biological, and they can be worked on with a good therapist. I don’t know if there are medications that would come into play here, that’s not my profession. I would suspect that someone with an ego problem would also overlap with someone who feels they don’t need therapy, or that it won’t do any good for them. That would be the real challenge in dealing with someone on this spectrum. The site behind this movement and this day appears poised to offer help online for those with ego concerns, but it doesn’t look like much on the site has been updated since 2018. So I’m not sure just how much help it will be.

You likely know someone who could benefit from a little awareness of this day, so feel free to pass the info along. Just be prepared for a less-than-gracious response.

Be Kind to Animals Month / National Pet Month

We are, as most people who know us will agree, consistently kind to animals. To a fault, actually, in that we let two of them – two who snore, fart, and stretch perpendicularly, mind you – sleep in our bed every night. We are dog people, but we have plenty of affection for every animal that is not a spider, or perhaps an angry crow dropping through the sunroof of our car. Here are some ways you can be extra kind to our fellow planet-dwellers this month.

First off, if you’re looking for a new furry friend you can consider fostering a pet. Most shelters will have a batch of little fur-dudes and fur-dudettes who are not emotionally right for the shelter life, and they’d do better in a home. You can also report any animal cruelty you see. When summer rolls around if you happen to spot a dog locked alone in a vehicle with no cracked windows and the sun beating down, smash one of those windows and become a local internet hero.

When you’re shopping for meat, dairy or eggs, check for the SPCA logo on the product. This will tell you that the animals were treated really well before becoming your food (or dispensing it, in the case of eggs and dairy). Volunteer with your local SPCA, once we’re allowed to leave the house. You can also throw them some money and they’d really appreciate it.

Most importantly, if you’ve made the commitment to care for a pet, just fucking care for that pet for the length of its natural life or yours. A pet is a glorious opportunity to expand one’s family. Don’t take them for granted.

Today things get even quieter on the mirth front, which means either I scrape up some more weekly/monthly parties, or I get down and dirty serious with these:

  • National Limerick Day. I wrote an entire day’s article in haiku, can I do the same in limericks? Will I want to? You can bet a month’s earnings of a guy from Nantucket I sure do.
  • National Nutty Fudge Day. Dammit… what the hell rhymes with fudge? Sludge? Pudge?
  • International Nurses Day. Yes, they get another day. Like I said last week, they deserve all the days.
  • National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Jodie, who suffers from this on a daily, hourly and minutely basis, is very well aware of it.

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