Thursday, September 3, 2020

We broke from tradition yesterday, and not in a charming, cutesy way like if we’d decided to wear matching sweaters out of the house. Not that we’ve ruled out such a thing, it just wasn’t an ingredient in our Wednesday. No, I actually went into my dull grey cubicle at work yesterday to confront the mountain of paperwork people have been leaving on my desk, despite my clearly not having stepped foot in the building since March. The work was defeated and my life today will continue on from my blissful office. We didn’t get up to much celebrating yesterday though; real life intervened. I couldn’t even write my article draft, as I was swamped with other, more boring tasks. Hence the brevity of today’s article. This is what we hit:

World Coconut Day

Coconut is far from my favourite sweet delight, though I understand the appeal. There’s a certain tropical vibe that emanates from one’s taste buds when they come into contact with coconut. It’s sweet as all hell, but it also possesses a chill vibe in every bite. I get it – it’s just not my treat of choice. Yesterday, however, it had to be.

Our word for coconut (which is, by the way, ‘coconut’) comes from a 16th century Spanish/Portuguese word, ‘coco’, which meant ‘head’. The little indentations on the coconut kind of look like a face, so they dubbed the fruit ‘head-nut’. In addition to being intertwined with the religions of every culture that existed around palm trees, the coconut can be food, beverage, oil, butter, wine and sugar. The husk is used to make brooms, ropes, doormats, mattress-stuffing and even caulk for boats. The husk and shell can also be used for fuel, to buff floors, or in craftmaking. The leaves, trunks and roots of the trees have their own list of uses.

This is one of the most versatile and useful plants we’ve encountered as a species. And there’s no doubt that the palm tree is one of the most gorgeous plants to boot – especially for someone who lives in a place that gets eight months of winter every year and only features palm trees inside our shopping malls.

We indulged in the cookie pictured above for the day, which Jodie had received when she got her pedicure for I Love My Feet Day. So that saved us from having to buy a candy bar with over-processed sugary coconut. I love when one celebration sets up another. And this was a tasty one.

Bison-ten Yell Day

Okay, this one starts out as an audio pun. Say it out loud. It sounds like ‘bicentennial’ right? Cool, we’ve got that out of the way. So what is this day about?

Let’s see if you can follow this logic better than I did. It’s a day about the 200th birthday of a fictitious person. Which one? It doesn’t matter, just make one up. It’s also supposed to honour the person (no idea who this is) who invented ten verbal signals that could be used during a wartime situation to communicate with others on the same side. This is why ‘ten’ and ‘yell’ are incorporated into the day’s title. But the specific verbal signals are not mentioned in the source material either. Confused? I sure as fuck am.

So it’s a day to celebrate the bicentennial of someone who didn’t exist, and also to pay tribute to some unknown person who devised ten unknown verbal signals to be used in a battle.

Congratulations, dear readers, you have stumbled upon what will undoubtedly be the most idiotic day in this year’s roster of celebrations. The suggested way to celebrate? Watch some football (you know, because they also use verbal signals before a play), or create some pretend virtual signals of your own. Or invent a person who was born in 1820 and write about them.

I have never been so utterly stumped at the very existence of a celebration so far. It’s enough to make me want to sit down and just drink. Heavily.

We’ll do the football thing next Thursday when football kicks off. And in our hearts we will very mildly acknowledge Bison-ten Yell Day’s existence, which will just make us want to drink again. This one, without question, was stupid.

Calendar Adjustment Day

The switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar we all know and love was rocky, to put it mildly. You think the debate over daylight savings time is intense these days – that’s nothing compared to how this was rolled out. The Julian calendar, which had our new year in March, was inaccurate. There was a ‘drift’ in the equinoxes, because the year was not the correct length. The Gregorian calendar fixed all of that.

When the change was announced (it shortened the average year by 0.0075 days – not much, but it adds up), the Catholic countries jumped on board first. This was because the change was being championed by the Pope. Problem was, they had to eliminate some days from existence in order for the calendar to fall back into line. It was a one-time shift that made October 4, 1582 (a Thursday) followed immediately by October 15 (a Friday).

Eventually the protestant countries came around and created their own gaps to fall in line with everyone else. Prussia dropped some of 1612, Denmark and Norway sacrificed the last chunk of February, 1700. Sweden completely garbled their adoption of the calendar by deciding that, instead of eliminating 11 days they’d just skip the next 11 leap days and be caught up in 40 years. Great plan, except they forgot to skip the first couple. So King Charles XII decided to go back to the Julian calendar. To do this they added a day (February 30, 1712 – this actually fucking happened). In 1753 they came around and dropped some of their February.

Great Britain and all of her colonies decided to adopt the new calendar on September 2, 1752. This date was followed by September 14. People rioted because they believed eleven days had been stolen from their lives. People weren’t very bright back then. But this is why we celebrate this day – to pay tribute to Mother England finally cluing in and hopping on board with an accurate calendar.

To celebrate we shifted our calendars on the wall to make sure they were straight. My idea of sleeping and avoiding the world for eleven days was shot down, given that we’d done this for much of the year already.

With little time for celebrating once again, and even less desire to pour my guts into a lengthy article, we’ll choose from this to make the day:

  • National Welsh Rarebit Day. We won’t be making this today, but we will be making it. I just need to pick up some beer to mix in with the cheese. Yes, this will be yummy.
  • US Bowling League Day. I don’t know if bowling lanes are open right now but there’s no way I’m putting on rented virus-laden shoes.
  • National Skyscraper Day. I am fascinated by skyscrapers and will absolutely be celebrating this day.