Thursday, October 22, 2020

My cup runneth underwhelmed yesterday. An air of perpetual grump was choking my office, in part due to matters far beyond my control. I can reconcile the fact that Alberta’s government appears just as corrupt and evil as the idiocracy down south, but then I remind myself that I work for this government. In a sense, I’m complicit in its evil. That doesn’t sit well with me, and it doesn’t point me in a celebratory mood. But this is the burden of my perpetual distraction this year, and to the items below I turned to try to block out the self-doubt and the cacophony of creeping malaise. Is that a little dark for an intro? I make no apologies – sometimes truthiness trumps glitzy salesmanship. But on to the fun:

National Apple Day

Something weird has happened to my relationship with apples. The food, I mean, not the products. At some point about 10 or 15 years ago I found myself feeling mildly nauseous after downing a few bites. This happened with numerous apples of various different styles, and I can’t explain it. Nor do I particularly mourn the loss of apples in my life. I liked them, but it’s not like I lost the ability to consume ice cream or beer. There are other fruits in the fruit-sea.

Naturally the apple began its journey around the world in central Asia, and some historians would say it began in the Garden of Eden. I can’t confirm this, as I can’t for the life of me understand what that historian from Iron Butterfly is singing, but sure, that could be right. Apples are wound into paganism, into Greek mythology, and into the texts of pretty much every religion to emerge from that region. In ancient Greece, if you throw an apple at someone it’s a declaration of love for them. If they catch it, it’s a declaration of acceptance of that love. If they aren’t paying attention and you end up knocking them off their horse and killing them, that’s a testament to the fact that love hurts.

“Eat an apple before going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread” is the original Welsh phrase that got reworked to the apple-a-day one we all know. This version seems more tragic to me, as it suggests that either the doctor will not be able to afford to eat, or else that people from 19th century Wales talked like hippies, substituting ‘bread’ for ‘money’. Either way, it’s disturbing. Also, inaccurate. There is no significant health advantage to eating an apple every day.

And I’m glad about that, since I’m mostly unable to eat them now without this weird mild discomfort. But I own an Apple branded phone and I used the hell out of that yesterday, so yes, I celebrated.

Count Your Buttons Day

Does this have some secret meaning, perhaps tied to a charitable cause or some bold moment in human history? Or are we simply meant to count the buttons on our clothing and be done with it?

Strangely, the answer appears to be the latter. In my hunt for the meaning of this day, all I could find were suggestions to gather your kids together and count the buttons on various items of clothing. Either that, or a vague notion that we should repair any buttons that are missing from the shirt / sweater / pants / yarmulke upon which we were counting.

I have five buttons on the sweater that I had to wear because just looking outside makes my entire insides cold. Five buttons. I’d submit that to Count von Count on Sesame Street, but even he’d be a bit flummoxed by the simplicity of this celebration. And what’s his deal, anyway? Is he a Romanian count, or is he an actual vampire? Why would the undead be a part of a children’s show? What was really going on here?

These are the questions that plague me at night. Fortunately, I no longer have to be plagued by wondering how many buttons are on this sweater. Five. That answer should probably comfort me somehow.

Babbling Day

This is another celebration that is exactly what it seems to be. For this, we babble. We can babble like a baby, according to one site, but I’d be embarrassed to do that even in front of my dogs. Alternately, we can babble to ourselves or to others. This means we can yammer on and on about essentially nothing. Rather than torture someone I know in real life with this mess, I’ll pass it on to you, the reader.

It could be that my knife-sharpening technique is not up to snuff because I was never taught properly, or perhaps because we don’t own a top-quality knife sharpener. I learned to sharpen knives at the Cajun restaurant where I worked when I was 20, which is also where I learned to make a decent blackening spice and Caesar salad dressing from scratch. I don’t make a lot of things from scratch. Why do they call it ‘from scratch’? Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry is a fine reggae artist, though I’m not sure if I’m really into the dub remixes. ‘Dub’ is another odd word, though somewhat satisfying since it rhymes with both ‘rub’ and ‘schlub’. ‘Schlub’ is, of course, a Yiddish word, and we all know that the Yiddish contributions to the English language are some of the more fun words to say. They also seem to have a tremendous amount of synonyms for ‘penis’ in Yiddish, which brings up a few more questions. And speaking of questions, isn’t the question mark a beautiful little piece of punctuation? So much of punctuation is simple lines, dots and curls, but the question mark really has a lovely swirl to it. Same with the ‘@’ symbol, which had always perplexed me as a kid. Nowadays we use it on Twitter and in email, but what was it originally created for? When I learned to type – long before the age of email – I asked that question to many people (using a pretty little question mark, albeit a verbal one) and never got a solid answer. I only ever wound up using it when I was trying to type out a swear word without actually typing out the swear words. And as far as swear words go, can we say them on TV now? Can we skip the silly censorship on broadcast television at this point, or does that medium have to be mired in the 20th century forever? Swear words are great words, though none of them rhyme with ‘dub’ and ‘rub’ and ‘schlub’, unless you get really creative and call someone a Shit-scrub or something. That might confuse more than offend though, and if you’re calling someone a Shit-scrub you probably have a deliberate reason to wish to offend them.

Is that enough babbling? I’d say I’ve celebrated this one appropriately.

Back To The Future Day

How can I, a genuine Marty, truly celebrate this day? Should I watch the movie again? I saw it six times in the theatre, and countless more times after that. I’m pretty sure I have it mostly memorized at this point, so this would be unnecessary. Instead I opted to listen to the soundtrack, in particular to the two wonderful Huey Lewis & The News tracks. “The Power of Love” is a timeless classic, but “Back In Time” is just as good. Sure, Huey sings “Get back, Marty” in the middle of the song, thus linking it with the film, but if I can listen to McCartney tell both Jo-Jo and Loretta to do the same thing in another song, I can let this one slide too.

This day is celebrated on October 21 because it was on that date in 1985 that Marty flew back to 1955. The film took place in the future, as far as its audience was concerned; it was throughout the summer of ’85 when I saw it six times. Five years ago we all enjoyed the comparison between actual 2015 and the 2015 depicted in the sequel. It turns out flying cars don’t legitimately exist yet, hoverboards don’t hover but instead are little two-wheeled flame-traps, and the Chicago Cubs did not win the World Series. Screenwriter Bob Gale threw that into the second film because it seemed the most preposterous thing he could think of for 2015.

The Cubs, not to be outdone, won the World Series in 2016. Pretty close, Bob.

Now just imagine if Marty had travelled 35 years into the future instead of 30. That would be an interesting premise, to see a 1985 teenager figure out what the hell is going on in this mess of a year. Even we can’t wrap our heads around it, and we’ve been here the entire time.

National Chocolate Cupcake Day

Yeah, we surrendered and bought some from Safeway. They weren’t particularly inspiring, but they did the trick. We now have an entry for a daily celebration from last Sunday. What a treat.

Today I meet with my doctor in hopes of securing a lengthier stay in my work-from-home arrangement, mostly because the outside world sucks all the balls at the moment. Here’s what else we’ll be doing:

  • National Make A Dog’s Day Day. As companion to three of the most spoiled dogs in human history, this should be easy.
  • National Nut Day. As in the food or the people?
  • National Color Day. I guess this is a day to avoid black & white films?
  • Smart Is Cool Day. And as Huey would say, it’s hip to be square. Lots of Huey Lewis references this week.
  • Eat A Pretzel Day. Another celebration that is delightfully instructive in its name – I appreciate that.
  • International Caps Lock Day. So I’ll learn about capital letters whilst appearing to shout about them.
  • National Knee Day. I guess just about every part of the body gets its own day.
  • Wear Purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Day. And I also love it when days simply tell me what to wear.
  • Wombat Day. This might be the day to introduce my new alt-superhero: Wombatman.

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