Saturday, July 25, 2020

This rollicking succession of days, in which our treasured ability to duck and cover from this rampaging virus (not to mention the other agonies of daily life) is coming to an end. Yesterday I chanced upon an epiphany. It might be the only means by which I can stomach an unnecessary return to the cold ugliness of the world, and the festering petri dish of recycled air in a musty office tower. Write less, smile more. Our minutes of liberation are finite. The last four months have taught me that I can love my job in better surroundings. They revealed to me the value of time, puppies, and all this weird shit:

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Day

For the first time in nearly 1,300 celebrations we found ourselves successfully honouring a celebration on the correct day, and then forgetting to write about it. It simply plopped from my brain onto the floor beneath me yesterday. Fortunately, all that hit the floor was my brain-chunk, not the actual object of celebration itself.

It was 1923 when H.B. Reese, who had worked on a Hershey dairy farm, hit that fortuitous collision of Hershey chocolate and peanut butter. He started his own company and sold cupboards of those cups up until his death in 1956. That’s when his six sons started working toward the 1963 merger with Hershey’s that led to the beloved cups being Hershey’s top seller before the decade was out.

The Reese cups are without question our most beloved candy bar – even though it involves stretching the notion of the word ‘bar’. But there are also Reese Sticks and Reese’s Pieces and Reese Crunchers and so many more options. Above are what we picked out for the day, and even though we were also committed to a delicious sprinkle-topped bowl of vanilla ice cream on Thursday we somehow made this happen too.

We are very dedicated to the dessert celebrations. Our priorities are A-OK.

National Cousins Day

I guess every familial connection should get its own special celebration, right? I mean, it’s utterly silly but if it prompts us to reach out to one another and connect, however briefly, isn’t that a good thing? I avoided the cousins I don’t particularly care for (and I may have forgotten one or two I actually like – sorry!), but I reached out and said hi to a few beloved cousins.

That’s… really all there is to say about National Cousins Day, isn’t it? No one knows who invented the celebration, we only know it exists. I’m going to follow my “write less, smile more” self-advice and simply move on. Celebration celebrated.

National Drive-Thru Day

My source on this one indicates it was started by Jack-In-The-Box, the first drive-through burger service. I’m not 100% certain that is accurate, but I’m not a fast-food historian. I haven’t ruled that out as a possible profession when I grow up, but I’m not there yet.

It was a place called Kirby’s Pig Stand in Dallas that opened up the world of car culture and dining. In 1921 Kirby’s opened the first drive-in restaurant – you know, those parking lots with car-hops who serve you on a tray hanging off the driver’s side window. If you’re old enough to remember these places first-hand, you are likely at least as old as I am. Congratulations.

The first actual drive-thru was City Center Bank in 1928. The first one to serve food was a franchise of the Pig Stand out in California. McDonalds jumped on board in 1975 in Sierra Vista, AZ, which was close to a military base. The troops on duty often couldn’t leave their vehicles, so this McDonalds got clever by setting up a window where they could conduct the entire transaction. I can say with confidence that I have not been inside a fast food restaurant in 2020, because the drive-thru is more pandemic-friendly, and besides – I’m always on the go. Look at me, just going all the time. It’s really quite spectacular.

Last night we took a road trip to Spruce Grove (which is about a 15-minute road trip, but city limits are crossed so it counts). We drove through at Jack’s, an independent restaurant that has been providing tasty fast food to suburbanites for decades. The licorice milkshake was something special. It was a much better choice than another boring ol’ McMeal.

National Tell An Old Joke Day

I once again have no backstory to this celebration. I’m going to guess it was some guy whose method of entertaining friends and family involved setup-punchline jokes he’d memorized from a book written in the mid to late 1950s. When people began to tire of his repeated schtick, he simply offered the misdirection that hey, it’s National Tell An Old Joke Day so he’s allowed. If that isn’t how it happened then I’m sure the story is far more dull.

I’m not a big fan of standard jokes, but what the hell. Back in 2008 Reuters unearthed what may be the oldest recorded joke in history, dating back to about 1900 BC. The cut-ups here were the Sumerians, who lived in what we now call southern Iraq. Are you ready? Because this is almost Gilbert-Gottfried-level delivery right here… “Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.”

Whoa! I know – you could build an entire sitcom premise on that one. Fast-forward about 300 years and you’ve got this Egyptian classic zinger: How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? Sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish.” Ha! Can you imagine?

So it seems dick and fart jokes are at the very origin of human humour. I find that to be strangely soothing. We haven’t come very far, but really… have we needed to?

Why mess with perfection?

National Tequila Day

There’s a good chance that pretty much every plant on earth has been experimented with in an effort to transform it into an intoxicant. What a day it must have been for the first person to squeeze the goodly innards from the agave plant. That wonderful person, lost to ancient pre-Columbian Mexican history, created pure magic on that day.

Tequila’s more modern origins come from a city actually called Tequila. The early brands came from family entrepreneurs, though of course those days are long gone. The beverage may have gone corporate, but it’s still overseen by the Mexican government. Here is where I would delve deep into the fermentation process and learn everything I can about a beverage I will likely never create from scratch. But not today.

Write less, smile more. That’s where my heart is at right now. And the most important thing I could do with this glorious celebration at my fingertips is to wrap those fingertips around a shot glass and guide a blast of tequila to a cozy home in my gut-parts. Tequila is one of the pinnacles of hard liquor. And after a brutal week such as this, a more apt celebration would have been impossible to create.

Happy day to all.

Saturdays tend to be pretty busy, but this one is quite manageable. At least that’s the hope.

  • National Merry-Go-Round Day. We have zero access to a merry-go-round, so that will make this difficult.
  • National Hot Fudge Sundae Day. Didn’t we just eat one of those? Like, two days ago? Ha! We did not – that was just chocolate syrup.
  • National Threading The Needle Day. We have a few ideas on how to take this one both literally and metaphorically.
  • National Wine & Cheese Day. Excellent.
  • National Day of the Cowboy. Should we watch an old western? Steal a horse? Relive the excitement of Super Bowl XXX?
  • International Red Shoe Day. I guess we wear red shoes. Do we own red shoes? We’ll find out.
  • National Drowning Prevention Day. We will honour this by not going in any water.
  • Health & Happiness With Hypnosis Day. We’ll see.

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