Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Yesterday was the first swatch of the new cloth from which most of my weekdays will be cut, going forward. Jodie spent a full day at the petri dish she used to call a school, while I toiled at my desk, tending to my dogs’ unending needs for love and attention while getting my work done from the relative safety of a remote connection. The workday slumped to an uninspired completion, and I went about making dinner. After dinner, writing. After writing, Liberty returned to her classroom as we drove across town to brighten her up a bit. Then to bed. Rinse, repeat. All things considered, it’s not a bad scenario. I smiled a bunch, and kept busy enough to ignore the impending footsteps of our inevitable demise (always a good thing), and even caught an episode of Bob’s Burgers over lunch. New normal, I welcome thee. Yesterday, I also welcomed all of this:

National No Rhyme (Nor Reason) Day

As a tribute to the words that have no actual rhyme in the English language (and no, I have no idea why these words merit their own special day, but I’m just here to report the weirdness, not explain it), I present the following couplets:

They whined and complained there was no rhyme for orange;

I said they were right as the squeak from a door hinge.

Perhaps you can’t find one to walk beside ‘purple’;

I’ll show you a bruised and contorted right nurple.

Am I pulling rhymes from way up in the chimney?

Just ask Mr. Cricket; you know, first name Jiminy.

A rhyme won’t exist for the word we call woman!

If rhymes were a product, my business is boomin’.

But surely they can’t find a partner for ‘month’!

Before ‘third’, ‘second’, ‘first’ you are left with just ‘noneth’.

On one list of no-rhymes I find the word ‘spirit’;

Just dig and invent a wee bit and you’ll hear it.

And one final challenge: a rhyme word for ‘pint’;

They’re there if you try – look at me, I am tryin’t.

Alright, so you have to get inventive beyond any sense of reason in order to make these work, hence the parenthetical. Whatever – I appreciate the chance to celebrate words, even if I have to make them up myself.

Chicken Boy’s Day

Meet Chicken Boy.

Chicken Boy has been called the Statue of Liberty of Los Angeles by at least one person. He was a fixture on the legendary Route 66. He is absolutely in the same category as the Capital Records Building, the Santa Monica Pier, and the Hollywood sign – specifically the category of ‘stuff in L.A.’. To locals, I have no doubt he is a beloved icon.

At some point in the 1960s it was a thing for the International Fiberglass Company to build gigantic statues – usually of Paul Bunyan and the similarly-macho Muffler Man. A restaurant owner whose name has escaped the clutches of history wanted one of his own. He commissioned the statue, had its head replaced by a locally-made chicken head, its arms moved forward to accommodate a giant bucket of chicken, and plopped it atop his Chicken Boy restaurant in Highland Park.

The owner passed away in 1984, and so did his restaurant. Chicken Boy found a new home with an L.A. art director, who hauled it out and found a new home for it in 2007. It was recognized by governor Schwarzenegger in 2010 as a piece of California history. And somewhere along the line, someone felt this would be something worth celebrating. There is no Bob’s Big Boy Day, or even a Statue of Liberty Day for that matter. But Chicken Boy gets his. To celebrate, we simply admired his glorious majesty. What more could one do?

Emma M. Nutt Day

In the good old days of phones, before they became burdened with all that portability and all those angry birds, you simply had to pick up the receiver, turn a crank (everything ran by crank back then), and speak to an operator who would connect your call. This was a job that required technical skill and… wait, this was simply “a job”, so naturally men were initially picked to do it. Not even men – younger boys, probably because they were cheaper.

The Boston Telephone Dispatch Company began hiring their operators in January of 1878. It took only a few months for them to realize the error of their ways. The boys exhibited a regular lack of patience for the customers who were still trying to figure out how to work this magic talking box. They were known for playing pranks, which I imagine would be connecting Ethel to the admissions desk at Harvard instead of to her sister, Myrtle. They would curse over the telephone lines, which no doubt threw Ethel into a tizzy.

So they decided it was time to hire some women. On September 1, 142 years ago yesterday, they hired Emma M. Nutt to be the world’s first female telephone operator. Customers found her voice soothing, and she was always patient as she made her connections. This led to the hiring of numerous other female operators, and the vocation became associated with females instead of males.

For being a titan of her field, and breaking the (albeit very recently-installed) glass ceiling of a technical trade, we saluted Ms. Nutt and made a few phone calls in her honour. Pressing zero and just speaking to an operator is no longer a thing. But if it ever comes back into style, I hope another Emma M. Nutt will be there to do the job right.

Ginger Cat Appreciation Day

In my life I’ve gotten to know only a half dozen or so cats. I don’t mean meeting them, I mean knowing them as part of my extended family’s family, or as a living companion with a friend. I’m just more of a dog person. Only one of those cats was a ginger cat, but she was absolutely delightful. Fortunately, my friends and family still have a bevy of gingers stretching out on their laps and gouging their leg-parts with their claws.

Check out all of these beauties:

It’s Wednesday, and that means… it doesn’t mean anything in the context of this project, really. But it’s also a day for this:

  • National Blueberry Popsicle Day. We would have to make these from scratch and we simply don’t have the goods.
  • World Coconut Day. So who’s up for a Mounds Bar?
  • Bison-ten Yell Day. I just read what this day is about and I still have no earthly idea what the hell this day is about.
  • Calendar Adjustment Day. Be sure to adjust your calendars, make sure they are hanging straight on the wall.

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