Monday, September 21, 2020

As promised, yesterday saw very little in the way of actual celebrating, apart from the immeasurable glory of having the privilege of laying in bed for an entire day, watching a bunch of grown men play a game. There was food to be prepared, laundry to be laundered, and dogs to be hoisted about the neighbourhood for exercise. But there was not a lot of time for writing. In short, here’s what we did:

National Pepperoni Pizza Day

Have you ever paused in your daily goings-on and wondered, what the hell is the deal with pepperoni? It’s a sausage that is found almost exclusively on pizza. You don’t use it in an omelet, it doesn’t show up in a salad, and it’s rarely sandwich meat, unless you’re making  a pizza sub. No one is laying out pepperoni on a charcuterie board, are they? I mean, you could, but not if you’re going to charge $24 for it at a restaurant. Is it just a low-end sausage?

Far be it from me to disparage the pepperoni. Sure, its only connection to the “old world” is because Italian-Americans invented around 1919. And sure, it’s a super-fine-grain salami, so you don’t get those big chunks of peppercorn or other spices like in a top-notch Genoa. And yeah, it’s mass-produced in an artificial sausage casing, which dilutes its authenticity rating.

But on a pizza, it outright bangs. It’s usually a mix of pork and beef, and while paprika and chili peppers may be involved in the curing, it’s often the nitrates and other such stuff that gives it its distinctive red colour. According to Convenience Store Decisions, a publication I really want to get my hands on, if only to learn what they put in that liquid nacho cheese sauce to make it so damn addictive, 36% of all pizzas produced in America – and presumably also in Canada – contain pepperoni.

Also good to know: in Nova Scotia deep-fried pepperoni with a honey mustard dipping sauce is a popular pub snack. Now I’ve got another reason to look forward to the return of recreational travel.

National Punch Day

There were a few ways we could have approached this one.

First of all, the traditional ‘punch’, which dates back to some time in the early 17th century, referred to an alcoholic beverage. The word comes from the Hindi word for ‘five’ (or at least it might – this one doesn’t have a crystal clear etymology, possibly because too many folks were knackered on punch to write it down correctly). This was because there were five ingredients: booze, sugar, water, juice from a lemon or lime, and some spices.

Alcoholic punch – which in my mind is best made with rum – tends to have a lower alcohol level than other mixed drinks, as it is created in large quantities to quench an entire party. It wouldn’t have made sense for us to brew up an alcoholic punch when it would have just been me drinking it. I mean, sure – I don’t have to work today, so a bit of indulgence was allowed last night, but it still seemed somewhat excessive.

So we compromised. I made a non-alcoholic fruit punch and enjoyed that instead. I was more about the vodka-soda thing last night anyway, so why not enjoy both?

If ever there was an alcoholic punch I’d like to try though, it’s the infamous Australian treat, the Blow My Skull Off. For that you need one pint of rum, one pint of porter, a half-pint of brandy, some boiling water, lime or lemon juice, sugar to taste, and absolutely no concrete plans the next day.

The old version switches out wine for porter, and includes Turkish opium. That one might be a bit trickier to source at the local pub, but I’m sure you can track it down somewhere.

National Gibberish Day

Skluum var igboni, wohidjit mofane skapmackerson. Splumb splorta? Iffivium notvill theweigh. Flickitty wanjeeb hoomitz verblantisquim, affava nob nobbay, zimm von jinkallay. Forballskat, nobbity noowagor forhibbitz forjojo heem hovaka norvlayism.

Quab covecula. Mickk vigawongwong, shbutzivoo inhaglish. Menta morgiskiska, envol ribijiwayway. Nob nobbay? Nob no way! Voon gickatszjulain, florbetz. Kwabbika von halmug shwetzenblaggart, infalva voorhavenly iz ztuttin mohamoschmitty. Pseck psoramalamadingdong vohaama. Keetar? Keenar. Pleppenz fo vujrefeet, fitzwelgomadt, infol fomizubot izbotutubbo wargn. Laffin po slamma jamma iz clakkity boonswagg, mo riggu? Flont florshigginwiggin zubot.

Prazeem?

Self-Care Awareness Month

For the love of all that’s good for you, I hope you’re taking this one seriously. I have been actively self-caring ever since this project threatened to overwhelm my sanity and send me off the deep end – this was sometime around late-morning on January 2nd, while our personal trainer was beating us up.

For everyone, self-care looks a little differently. We spent most of our Sunday in bed, watching football. After a week of high-stress new-normal teaching, Jodie needed that. She needed the nap she took. She needed to get lost in the silly storylines of sweaty millionaires and forget about her students, the schoolwork she needs to do for her Masters, and the current state of the world. We both needed that.

Some people need to get some exercise to hit their reset button. Others may need to see that special human who grounds them. Perhaps you need a drink or a smoke to settle back to normal; so long as that need isn’t calling the shots and/or messing up the rest of your life, that’s cool too.

The best thing I did for myself yesterday was to stay completely off of social media until 8:30 at night, when I dropped my article. The news lately is either stress-inducing or outright depressing. My friends and family are often too caught up in the news, and that’s what they share. The virus numbers are rising, as are the voices of the moronic, who claim it’s all a plot by baby-blood-drinking celebrities – a list that may or may not include Steve Buscemi. I’ve had it, to be honest. I can understand how someone can look at the world as it is and not want to be in it anymore.

Is that an astoundingly dark thought for a mostly fluff-and-comedy project? Perhaps, but it’s true. And I don’t mean that to sound dreary and suicidal – I’m not even close to that branch of the tree right now. Mentally speaking, I’m in a pretty damn good place, at least for me. But I get it. I get the pain of existence, and the loss of hope. I don’t share it, at least not these days, but I totally understand it. And that’s why self-care is everything. If you need medication and therapy to help out, if you need meditation, whatever works to keep you chugging through this planet with something resembling a smile either on your face or on quick-access stand-by, do it.

Take care, because your voice in this world is absolutely necessary.

On that dubiously happy note, we’ll look to the future at the magnificence awaiting us today:

  • National Chai Day. I’m not leaving the house, and I’m not sure Jodie will be anywhere Chai is being served, but maybe we’ll luck out.
  • National Pecan Cookie Day. Our team baker has advised us that she will be coming through once again. She’s this team’s Tyreek Hill, if you’re a Chiefs fan.
  • National New York Day. Heads up – this will look remarkably similar to National Pepperoni Pizza Day.
  • Batman Day. Really? Is this the day I get to be Batman?
  • National Sponge Toffee Day. Hooray! We got some homemade sponge toffee for this one, because this one deserves to be done right.
  • Escapology Day. A day to celebrate those who can wriggle out of straightjackets and squeeze magically out of chains.
  • Miniature Golf Day. I’m really going to wish we could play this, but neither of us wants to go to the nearby mall to stand around for any length of time.
  • Pause the World Day. Sounds like a plan.
  • World Gratitude Day. Oh, I hope this is a day for us to be thankful for the people and stuff in our lives because it’s been like six days since we’ve had one of these.

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