Sunday, July 26, 2020

I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure what became of our yesterday. I awoke after having the most brick-like, successful slumber of the year. We made our weekly trek for key supplies (doughnuts), grabbed some bagels and came home. We napped. I began my writing and posting tasks after 6:00PM, the day mostly lost in a calm dream-like state. That left little room for celebrating. Still, off we went:

National Merry-Go-Round Day

We tried. We sincerely tried to celebrate this one, and were even willing to glove up, mask up, and venture to a carousel to take a spin if we could. Alas, there are only two that we know of in this city: one in Galaxyland, the massive amusement park in our nearby shopping mall, but that’s closed; and one at our city zoo, which I haven’t visited in ages and was delighted to find is open during the pandemic. But the merry-go-round is not.

On the plus side, that gives me full permission to scrawl a little about these beloved rides without having to haul my sleep-heavy ass out of the house. The carousel emerged from jousting competitions. When they weren’t trying to impale one another, knights would gallop about in a circle on horseback (to be clear, the horses were doing the galloping, not the knights), while tossing a ball. A spirited game of horseback-circular-catch was actually a demonstration of tremendous skill, awareness, and probably balance whenever a toss stretched the reach of one’s fingertips.

It’s somewhat comforting to know that the middle ages featured sporting competitions that weren’t just about destroying other humans or maiming animals. These competitions changed over time, and by the 1600s there was no ball, but rings hanging overhead which the knights had to spear. This led to the kids’ version, made with wooden horses and with prize rings to be grabbed by hand.

Here’s a weird piece of carousel trivia. In the UK, it’s most common for carousels to spin in a clockwise direction. On mainland Europe and over here in the New World, they tend to spin counter-clockwise.

The photo above is of Jane’s Carousel in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn. It was built in 1922 by a toboggan company in Ohio, and was the first merry-go-round to receive historical designation in the US. I’ve only seen that one from afar, though once we are allowed to return to that magnificent city it’s on my list of things to do. For now, I sit here and dream.

National Day of the Cowboy

Let’s be honest, the life of the cowboy is not an enviable one. They did their work with honour and dedication, and they ultimately came to carve out the American civilization (albeit on the backs of the civilizations that were there before, but that’s a discussion for another day). Cowboys worked hard. They had little time for recreation, and little to do for recreation when they did have time. Think about it – put aside the cinematic tropes of drunk-heavy saloons and smoky houses of ill-repute, and contemplate what your average married homesteader could do with their free time.

Despite having grown up with a father who insisted that Dallas’s football team should be my favourite as well (I think he just liked the cheerleaders), I never dreamed of living on the frontier. The hats were cool (though not historically consistent with reality), but as I mentioned a few days ago, I’m not swayed by the so-called romanticism of travelling everywhere by horse.

But yesterday I did my part to explore the world of the cowboy a little deeper. I mean, it’s a tiny effort I suppose, especially compared to, say, building a time machine and scooting back to 1885 to hang with Marty and Doc Brown, but it’s something. I put Red Dead Redemption 2 on my Steam wishlist, for purchase on our next payday. I think I’ve earned some quality recreation.

Besides, it’s for the cowboys.

International Red Shoe Day

Sadly, this is not simply a day to salute crimson footwear. Seven years ago yesterday, Theda Myint passed away due to complications from Lyme Disease. The following year this day was put into place to bring attention to Lyme Disease and other invisible illnesses. I know a few folks who have been on the business end of a vicious tick and wound up with this illness. It isn’t pretty.

So while it was easy enough for me to slip on my fancy footwear pictured above, I did so without the intent of actually wearing them to walk the dogs (that would have been foolish and painful), but with the purpose of drawing attention to a silent killer.

Lyme Disease is real and from what I’ve read it’s quite scary. My solution is to stay clear of tall grassy areas, or really anything that could be defined as ‘nature’. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the best way to avoid getting sick is to just stay the hell home and hide.

Be careful out there, if you’ve got to be out there.

National Drowning Prevention Day / Drowning Prevention Week

And in a similar vein, the best way to avoid drowning is once again to follow my example: don’t go anywhere. Avoid water. Sure, it may be “fun” to ride in a boat, and it may be “good exercise” to swim, and maybe you “actually enjoy” being in the water, but I’ll have a lot less chance of drowning if I stick to my bathtub and hot tub. Sure, there are risks involved in those, but that’s the edge of madness upon which I live, baby. It’s like I’m constantly dangling from an anticipatory 7th chord.

On a more serious note (that’s two mediocre music theory gags for my astute readers), over 400 Canadians perish every year in water-related incidents. Speaking as someone who is far better at sinking than at swimming, I will agree with the Life Saving Society that a life jacket should be necessary boating attire. Even if you’re a good swimmer, you might get knocked out falling overboard, or worse yet, dragged to the bottom of the lake by some mysterious sea creature. I mean, they probably don’t exist, but do you really want to find out they do as you plunge to your death?

Also, alcohol is involved in a full 41% of boating accidents. That makes sense; there’s not that much out there on the water to hit, but with a bit of booze in the bloodstream, it would be easy to miss what is. Have a designated driver who can get sufficiently high on the crisp, sea air, and let the passengers get tanked. Actually, that’s not great advice either, but what do I know? I’m a sinker.

Be safe, everyone. Don’t even look at a photo of a body of water unless you’re near someone who knows CPR. And steer yourself clear of the Black Lagoon. Some crazy shit going on down there.

Rolling into Sunday with the intent of catching up on our hot fudge sundae and wine & cheese obligations, as well as all of this:

  • National Bagel-Fest Day. I don’t know what this is, but we’ve got bagels, just in case.
  • National Aunt & Uncles Day. I am fortunate to be equipped with a great batch of these folks, so they’ll get some love.
  • National Coffee Milkshake Day. I doubt I’ll talk Jodie into this on the same day as a sundae, but who knows?
  • National Parents Day. Wow, parents sure get a lot of days every year, don’t they?
  • Esperanto Day. I guess I’ll learn some Esperanto. Fun.
  • National All Or Nothing Day. There’s a Tom Petty song by that name. I guess I’ll listen to that?
  • Reek Sunday. An Irish pilgrimage. Something to learn about, since the holy mountain they head to is kind of far away from here.
  • National New Jersey Day. We’ve got a delightful meal planned for this one.
  • World Tofu Day. I don’t think so.
  • One Voice Day. A day to read the Universal Peace Covenant out loud as one united voice. Sure, sounds like a blast.

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