Saturday, August 22, 2020

From the moment the rising sun coughed its saffron sputum all over the morning clouds, I was tugging at the day’s hem, whining at it to hurry up to 4:30 when I can actually relax and unwind. Except that I can seldom embrace such pre-set revelry, not when there is so much other pre-set revelry this year. And this is what I continue to remind myself… it’s only for this year. Beyond December I don’t even have to celebrate another birthday after this year. I have done enough. The parties keep piling up like beachfront debris, and we keep tossing more on the pile. For example:

National Senior Citizens Day

Back in the middle of the 1988 presidential election, when Ronald Reagan had pretty much completed his life’s work, apart from tossing out a few thumbs-ups to encourage folks to vote for his VP this day came into being. He signed the proclamation that decreed August 21 to be an unofficial holiday to commemorate senior citizens. Whether it’s still being celebrated by anyone this year I have no idea. Except that here we are.

Sort of. I mean, we just had Baby Boomer Appreciation Day not long ago, and that’s quite similar. Our population of senior citizens is mostly made up of early boomers, with only a handful of Greatest Generationers remaining. And as I said on that day, we shouldn’t be looking to take the easy route of blaming the folks with white hair for all of society’s ills. They fixed a bunch of ills along their path, they just didn’t get around to all of them.

I’ve always been a fan of senior citizens. As a kid they were extra-generous with the laughter, which always encouraged me to hone my schtick (which sounds like a weird euphemism for masturbating, but I assure you it is not). Then along came The Golden Girls, which taught me that people my grandparents’ age could be sassy, funny, and lead lives that go beyond Sunday dinners and stories about the Depression.

We celebrated this day by reaching out to my mom with a big ol’ National Senior Citizens Day hello. She didn’t mind the hello, but I could tell she resented being called a senior citizen. I advised her to take up her beef with the dictionary. And then I wished her a happy day, because that’s what we do around here. We spread the joy.

National Men’s Grooming Day

If you were guessing that this day was founded in order to move a bunch of razors, shaving foams and assorted skin creams, you’d be absolutely right. This can be a tough sell; a lot of guys make an effort to groom themselves as little as possible. This has always been my approach. I won’t say that I grew this beard as a way of avoiding having to shave (it was actually grown as a Halloween costume accessory), but I have appreciated the convenience. Still, unless one is going full-hippie (or full-hobo), some maintenance is still required. I took a few moments yesterday and tried to fix the monstrous clump of fur on my face so that it looked moderately presentable.

But when it comes down to it, I don’t want to deal with a bunch of creams and tonics. I don’t want to focus on my T-zone or break tradition and wear makeup. I always tell my barber the same thing – make it a low-maintenance haircut. If I have to pick up a blow-dryer every morning, it isn’t going to work for me. I need “brushing my teeth” to be the longest task of my morning.

And as for grooming below the neck, I get that some guys are really into that. Manscaping is all well and good (and, I just learned, a word that is in Microsoft Word’s dictionary, so that’s something). It’s just not for me. I don’t need my chest hair snipped into some goofy shape (though that might be hilarious). And I don’t need to use my face clippers on anything south of the equator.

So you’ll have to settle for the before and after pictured above. I cleaned up my face parts and tried to wrestle the beard into something that could pass for acceptable. It was a dynamic little celebration.

National Spumoni Day

In the glorious world of Italian frozen treats, there are two standouts that set them apart from the chilled desserts of other nations. You’ve got gelato and you’ve got spumoni. Gelato is creamy, smooth, and with a delicious punch of flavour. Spumoni is… well, it’s okay. There are some who no doubt swoon over the very mention of it – and I will confess, the name is delightful – but it just doesn’t rile up my taste buds and coerce them to party.

True spumoni is actually a form of gelato, only it has earned sufficient distinction and a large enough fan base to be considered on its own. It’s a three-flavour treat, much like the Neapolitan ice cream sandwich that I massacred earlier this week to form a crude ice cream pie. In fact, Neapolitan ice cream is a direct descendent of spumoni. The three flavours in spumoni are usually cherry, pistachio, and either chocolate or vanilla, but of course in the US things are a bit different. The most common spumoni varieties there contain the same strawberry-chocolate-vanilla combo as that ice cream.

Fortunately, we live in Canada. Yes, this is a sentence I’ve uttered often in the last four years. But yesterday I said it in defense of our great frozen treats. The stuff we got from the Italian Market was the real stuff.

Of course, the real stuff when it comes to spumoni involves one other key element: the candied fruit and/or nuts that are found within it. This is the part I’m not particularly fond of, as that texture feels like it simply shouldn’t be there. I dive into iced treats for the creaminess of them – nuts are great sprinkled on top, but I don’t need tiny bits of nut-stuff in every bite. That’s why I’ll always prefer plain ol’ gelato.

I’m not complaining. The candied goodies inside of last night’s spumoni were actually really good. We ate some delicious frozen goodness last night, and that’s what these celebrations are all about.

Poet’s Day

There are two schools of thoughts on this day. See if you can guess which school of thought we’re going with.

Option one. Celebrate the greatness of poetry. Read some poetry. Write the entire article as poetry again. Discuss how poetry has made our lives more rich, more full, and more full of beauty. Talk once more about how great it is that Sir Patrick Stewart is passing time during this pandemic by posting his recitations of Shakespeare’s sonnets every day on social media. Find a book of poetry on the shelf, and give it a big ol’ hug.

Option two. It’s an acronym. Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday. POETS Day.

Obviously we went with option number two. And it wasn’t just to get out of work a little early; yes, that was part of it, but there was more to consider. We’d celebrated World Poetry Day on March 21, Haiku Poetry Day on April 17, Great Poetry Reading Day on April 28, Bad Poetry Day on August 18, and we’ve still got two National Poetry Days in October, along with Random Acts of Poetry Day and Black Poetry Day. We’re poetry heavy in this little project.

Also, the second one is just more fun. Other variations would say Punch Out Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday, or Push Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday, but the point is the same. The University of Waterloo and the University of Calgary (both of the engineering faculties, anyway) have POETS clubs that meet every Friday to start the weekend early. It’s a club I would most definitely join.

I stopped short of telling my bosses that this was POETS Day. And I did start slacking early. Maybe it was at 4:29PM, maybe it was earlier, but let’s just say it was 4:29 and leave it at that. This is, after all, on the official record, right?

National Bacon-Lovers Day

As mentioned previously, National Bacon Day is one of the trumpeting finales of this project, landing on December 30. On the off-chance we don’t make it all the way to National Bacon Day though (I like to keep my options open), we’ve got this one. We are bacon lovers, so it fits. In fact, we love bacon so much that I completely forgot to take a picture of the bacon we ate for lunch yesterday. But eat it we did. And damn was it great.

So what can we learn about bacon? Apparently it contains choline, which is really good for fetal brain development, so if you’ve got a bun in the oven you should sprinkle some bacon on that bun. Americans (and possibly others, but parts of the internet don’t care) were encouraged to save their bacon fat during WWII and donate it, as it could be used to make glycerol, a key ingredient in explosives. Apparently Kevin Bacon’s favourite sandwich (which he claims he invented) is a BLAST: Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Smoked salmon and Tomato. This just makes me like Kevin Bacon even more.

Bacon is addictive. The smell is intoxicating. It may be – no, it absolutely is the greatest meat-food on the planet. We were thrilled to have this little day to keep us going until December 30 too. Not that we’re abstaining until National Bacon Day. We are human, after all. Humans addicted to bacon.

We have a packed Saturday, so some of these may need to wait until the early lights of next week:

  • National Be An Angel Day. Any chance they need me to play baseball in Anaheim?
  • National Bao Day. I love bao; that said, we’re having a family barbecue today so it isn’t likely to fit.
  • Never Bean Better Day. I was hoping this was a day to honour beans again (jelly, for example), but it’s actually a dog-related day. We’ll be doing this one.
  • National Pecan Torte Day. I doubt we’ll come across one of these.
  • World Plant Milk Day. I really want to know how they milk plants. But they do, so we’ll drink some.
  • National Eat A Peach Day. We’ll either eat a peach or listen to some classic Allman Brothers.
  • National Tooth Fairy Day. Looks like we’re knocking someone’s teeth out.
  • Earth Overshoot Day. We will learn what the hell this is today.
  • Take Your Cat To The Vet Day. No cat, no vet.
  • Southern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day. We already had our turn. Now the southern folk can get out there and make fools of themselves.

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