Sunday, October 11, 2020

Saturday, actually. Yesterday was so chill and blissful (downright chissful) that I didn’t even turn on my computer once. So this is the first of two tales.

Madness lies within these words. A fiendish madness that propels me to focus on minutia as though it held salvation, a myth long disproven before the virus knobbled this project to force it to rely on indoor games. A day without tangible, visceral celebrating is daunting in its blandness. On Saturday I did literally nothing to celebrate, apart from observe, research and fill in gaps. Oh, and I drank a beverage. That was special. This seems like an apt transition into our first topic:

World Mental Health Day / Mental Illness Awareness Week

The World Health Organization, a medical body that has been mercilessly mocked and chided this year for trying to protect us from the virus, launched this day several years ago to remind us that mental health is just as important to pay attention to as physical health. And it’s easy to forget that – we’ve spent much of the last seven months focussing on a physical health situation around the world, all while potentially forgetting that our mental health is taking a massive beating, virus or no.

For those of us who have been swimming in the waters of mental illness – a crowded, nauseating wavepool – for years, adjusting to the unknown is a familiar exercise. This year, however, has tossed us more curveballs than a truck-load of mangled scrota. Depression, anxiety, outright terror or hopelessness at the state of the world – these are all ingredients to that frothy stew that requires us to pay a little love to our mental well-being.

I’ve been dealing with depression since I was a kid. I didn’t know what it was back then. I couldn’t understand why everyone else seemed so damn happy. It all culminated in a very dark summer of 1992, which eventually gave way to a sliver of light. I tried coping by pouring drugs and alcohol into my insides, and while that gave me plenty of hilarious stories for later in life, it did nothing to alleviate my burden. Much later in life I found some happy-pills that helped to right the ship. I have also figured out how to regularly tend to my mental well-being, even if it has made me somewhat of an anti-social recluse.

But in 2020, that’s what happened to everyone. I was well-equipped for this isolation, including spending it with my best friend and three loyal hounds. I have slithered back toward the depths a few times, but I’m holding it together, and I feel strong enough to support those around me who might need some help. Pills are great if you need ‘em. Therapy is great too – I have yet to ever find a therapist with whom I click, and that’s probably the missing piece to my mental health. It’s good to have goals.

Stay healthy, everyone. And reach out if you need it. Good health isn’t just about tending to your wounds when you fall down the stairs like a schmuck – sometimes it’s just about getting through life.

National Hug A Drummer Day

Am I drummer? Technically, I’m not a drummer. And in another sense, technically I am a drummer. Once you’ve sat at a kit for a few hundred hours and learned how to master that intense beat-drop fill from “In The Air Tonight”, you’re a drummer for life. Right? Either way, my aunt actually does drum with some skill, and that’s her getting a hug for her efforts by a man I assume is my uncle, but who may be a look-alike she hired for this photo.

I don’t know how I talked my parents into letting me get a drum kit in high school. I guess the drugs they did back in the hippie days must have caused a fluctuation in their logic centres that happened to work to my advantage on that day. I demonstrated suitable desire first – I built my own kit out of cardboard boxes in my room, bought some sticks and jammed along with Ringo Starr – the perfect drummer to demonstrate the basics of rock drumming to an aspiring skinsmith.

So I got a set of Pearls that I played along with my stereo for hours on end. The only time I properly jammed was with my buddy Steve, and that was a 30-minute rendition of “Hey Joe”, with Steve strumming the necessary three chords while I tried not to fall too far off the beat. Eventually I let the drums go, something I have always regretted. I then owned a brilliant Roland electronic kit for a while as an adult, but the chronic pain in my arms would be fiery-mean after two songs, so those had to go too.

Now I’m just a drummer at heart. But a drummer whose dreams of drumming are vanquished is still a drummer. And that drummer may be in need of a hug more than most.

National Angel Food Cake Day

We have celebrated sponge cake and we have celebrated strawberry shortcake, all of which is intricately tied into this little celebration right here. Angel food cake achieves its monumental level of fluffiness thanks to whipped egg whites, and it contains no butter. You simply whip the egg whites until they’re stiff, add some cream of tartar to keep the mixture strong, then fold the other ingredients in. You just fold them in. Fold them.

Or, if you’re really thinking ahead, you simply go out and purchase an angel food cake from your local grocery store, bakery, or back-alley black-market cake connection (which is often less expensive, but at what cost?). There’s no need to make your kitchen all messy, especially when you need the space to bake some more magical THC gingersnaps (which we did). This was my suggestion to Jodie, but she insisted on making one at home instead. She remains truly devoted to this project, or at least to getting it the hell over with.

And strawberries are still our favourite go-to for a topping. Though we could be more creative, couldn’t we? If only there was something prompting us to try just a little bit harder to make this a special occasion…

National Cake Decorating Day

This may come as a shock both to people who know me, and to people who are simply admiring the above photograph: I have never taken a class on cake decorating in my life. I know, right? It’s like I have a natural affinity for dumping shit onto a cake to make it a much busier, possibly less-appetizing dessert. It’s a gift.

I have eaten cakes that have inspired guilt, due to their immaculate presentation. Some cakes look as though they were formed via some sort of otherworldly magic, and to the hungry diner we feel a sense of shame cutting into such a beautiful piece of hand-crafted art, only to eventually convert it into poop. But we do it, because that’s what cakes are for.

Jodie killed this one as well, first slicing the angel food cake in half, then cramming that space with whipped cream and strawberries, the same treatment she applied to the entire exterior. This was a test of my lactose-intolerance pills, but well worth it.

Bonza Bottler Day

Every month we have been toasting this one: an excuse to sample a bottle of something we don’t normally drink in order to add a little life to the month. A made-up celebration, as though we weren’t indulging in enough of them this year. Yesterday was 10/10, so we bonza bottled like champs. I enjoyed a Jones orange creamsicle soda, which was far too sweet for my tastes, while Jodie tried out a Stewart’s cherry cola.

What will we consume next month? Tune in on 11/11 (that’s Remembrance Day, so it will be something appropriately sombre) to find out!

National Porridge Day

Porridge! We didn’t expect to celebrate this day, but then Jodie went for coffee with a friend and had this delicious-looking bowl of immaculate porridge. She told me it tasted so good, I don’t have to write more than one tiny paragraph about it. She’s the boss. Porridge wins.

Today, which was yesterday, we hoped to spend the same was as we spend most of our Sundays: not doing much. But had we been feeling funky, we had all this to choose from:

  • National Sausage Pizza Day. A very specific one, and I believe our final pizza celebration of the year. Not our final pizza.
  • National Kimberly Day. A day literally for celebrating the Kimberlies we know. Is that right pluralization? Kimberlies?
  • World Obesity Day. There are a lot of days this month dealing with obesity. I guess come December no one will care anymore.
  • You Go, Girl Day. I won’t be saying that to anybody.
  • Kraken Day. A day to celebrate gigantic pretend cephalopods. Cool!
  • National It’s My Party Day. If it turns out Lesley Gore didn’t start this day to boost sales of her 1964 single, I’ll be very disappointed.
  • National Coming Out Day. This is the day to do it!
  • Southern Food Heritage Day. Boy, I hope sausage pizza is considered a ‘southern food’.

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