Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The menu of potential celebrations that greeted us yesterday morning was akin to walking into Denny’s and learning they were sold out of everything except for turkey bacon and Fruit Loops. The options were, to put it mildly, limited. American Beer Day was tempting, as I’d like to hit every beer-related special day in this calendar, but it will have to wait for our next supply run this weekend. The items that remained were far from enthralling, but we greeted them with as much enthusiasm as a Tuesday would allow. Here’s how we waded through the 301st day of this ongoing madness:

Boxer Shorts Day

So this is it… the bottom of the barrel. No pun intended. Or maybe there was a pun intended, I just don’t know anymore. We are now celebrating the most mundane items in our dresser drawers. Are we truly savouring each of these commemorations or merely chugging through them in an effort to speed along this project’s closing credits? If ever there was a moment to reflect upon this, it would be Boxer Shorts Day.

We can actually trace the genius behind these things though, and that’s kind of special. Jacob Golomb, the man who founded Everlast (the sports equipment company, not the 1990s alt-rocker guy), slipped some elastic into a pair of shorts back in 1925 and changed history. And his aim was truly to cater to boxers, who at the time wore shorts held up by a leather belt strap. Boxer shorts became a huge deal among the public underwear-wearers, but those were soon eclipsed by jockey shorts in the early 30s. Boxers or briefs became the dichotomy that defined the insides of men’s pants for decades.

In 1985, tighty-whiteys outsold boxer shorts 4 to 1, and most boxer afficionados were older men who had worn them in the military. A few years later the boxer brief hit the market, striking a perfect balance between the two styles. Some studies have shown that tighter skivvies will hurt fertility or even increase cancer risk, but that has yet to be 100% proven.

Pictured above are my Star Wars boxers, which are in my regular rotation. I felt it appropriate to show the boxers in a non-modeled state, as I’m quite certain I’d lose what’s left of my audience if I started filling this page with boudoir shots of myself. Even I’d tune out at that point. So here’s to the boxer shorts that sparkle our lives so brilliantly. It’s entries like this that have made this entire year worthwhile.

Also, a quick reminder: it’s still Sarcastic Awareness Month.

National Potato Day

Behold, the noble potato. The Irish were bang-on correct to covet this robust little tuber. It can do so much and it asks so little. Well, except during that grisly potato famine; I guess they were asking quite a lot back then. But this is a day to celebrate the potato, not criticize it. You don’t go to someone’s birthday party and bring up that time they peed themselves during their fourth-grade field trip to the planetarium, do you? Please don’t. That’s mean.

National Potato Day, according to most of my sources, showed up on August 19, and I believe we celebrated it. But here it is again – maybe this is some sort of Christian Orthodox thing, like how they celebrate Christmas later than others. I have no idea – my purpose here is not to understand these celebrations. My purpose is to shut up and eat the potato.

The potato chip is not the pinnacle of potato procurement, but it’s a top-notch snack. For me, nothing beats a baked potato, properly doused in butter, sour cream, bacon bits and chives. That said, French fries are a respectable treat, and even respectabler when elevated to poutine status. Mashed potatoes are the most comfortable of comfort foods. Hashbrowns are breakfast royalty. Roasted potatoes are bite-size bounties of bodacious… okay, enough with the damn alliteration here. Potatoes are brilliant. What more needs to be said?

We eat potatoes with our meals 2-3 times per week at least. They have been celebrated alongside numerous other glorious events this year, never asking to take center stage. But like any great supporting actor, it just wouldn’t be the same without them.

National Squirrel Awareness Month

According to The Squirrel Lovers’ Club, an online repository of pro-rodent feel-goodery since 1995, October is the month we should all be aware of the critters patrolling the tree-limbs and fence-tops of our suburban communities. I grew up with a massive enclosure of wooden logs in our backyard, one which we almost never tapped for firewood. That was simply where the squirrels lived. The window overlooking them was also the one beside my TV set, so I spent many hours watching them scamper about in their daily toils.

We have our own little squirrel resident at this home, a guy we arbitrarily called ‘Elton’. Sure, the Elton who resides on our property may be a different Elton than the one who was originally given that name a few years back, but who’s to know? It’s not like squirrels wear nametags or have particularly differentiating features, right? So Elton of the moment is plain old Elton.

Last year, Elton moved from the box of seldom-used logs beside our fence into the shed beside our house. Most people, like our nosey neighbour who suggested we should take care of the matter, would call up an exterminator to deal with this. We are not most people. I regularly leave peanuts out there for Elton to devour throughout the chilly winter months. Jodie cut up an old towel into squirrel-size bedding so that he can tuck himself cozily into his little nest at night. We now store Jodie’s lounger chair and my hammock in the garage so we don’t have to disturb the little guy. He’s a fine tenant, even if he does occasionally perch in our tree and chirp at us like a whiny little bitch.

Squirrels are fascinating companions for our weird little trips around the sun on this rock. We’re happy to share our journey with Elton. He’s a good dude. Or chick. We honestly have no idea.

Cranky Coworkers Day

Okay, Thomas and Ruth Roy, you wacky Pennsylvanians who have contributed more than 80 of the weirdest little tiles into this mural of motivated mirth. I get it. We should all be aware that sometimes we are gifted with a malcontent to help us pass our workdays. Sometimes those coworkers are just sour-faced dicks looking to grind their own unhappiness into a spray they can spew all over the world that has forsaken them. Sometimes they’re just sarcastic cynics who see the world for what it is.

When I was hired to the provincial government’s print shop I was fortunate to be paired with a guy named Ryan, one of the crankiest cranky coworkers I’ve ever known. His crankiness was infectious, but he had a sense of humour about it. There were days when we felt like Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets – doing our best to crack one another up with the zingiest complaint about our bosses, our customers, and anyone else in the world. We had a blast. And beneath his crankiness was a huge heart and a sharp mind. Embrace your cranky coworker – they might be the ingredient that keeps your workplace interesting. I mean, don’t actually embrace them; they won’t like that.

I also worked in that print shop with another guy, whose name won’t sully this piece. He was cranky, but in a miserable, ornery twattish kind of way. Don’t be that guy.

In my current office there are a number of people who might classify as ‘cranky’, but I also work in an office that is perilously poised beneath the blade of potential layoffs by government overlords who are aiming to decimate public service in favour of their own profits. So the crankiness is more attributed to a general malaise than a focussed wit or a defect in personality.

Alas, I am still working from home for the moment, so my crankiest in-the-flesh coworker would be Trixie (pictured above). She is rarely cranky with me (I am, after all, the one who knows how to access the food). But she snarls, growls, and occasionally lashes out at Liberty, our beloved golden retriever puppy. Problem is, Liberty doesn’t put up with that crap anymore, and she’s larger and stronger than Trixie, so when Trixie snaps, she ends up pinned on her back with Liberty looking down at her like, “Back off, you crazy broad.”

So yes, a cranky coworker can be a great thing. But it’s also imperative that you have a coworker who can kick that cranky one’s ass if necessary.

Today we crest this frantic week and begin cruising toward a Spooktacular weekend that… hey, cool. Microsoft Word autocorrected ‘spooktacular’ to ‘Spooktacular’. Neat. Anyway, here’s today’s selection:

  • National Chocolate Day. Really? Is this the official one? Who cares – we’ll eat chocolate.
  • Ohi Day. This is a Greek celebration, so some lamb might be in order. Either that, or we’ll watch The Room, which features the immortal line, “O, hi Mark.”
  • International Animation Day. A day to watch some animation. That works for me.
  • Plush Animal Lovers Day. I’m hoping we don’t take this literally and learn about people who have had intimate relationships with their plush animals. Gross.
  • Wild Foods Day. A great opportunity to go pick some berries, mushrooms or whatever else you can find in your neighbourhood and eat them. Hopefully it won’t lead to illness.
  • Separation of Church and State Day. This should be every day.

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