Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Another chunk o’ day gets poured into my word processor, in spite of Monday having been one of the most dull (and therefore awesome) days in recent memory. How intense were my celebrations? There is only one celebration that sparked a true smile in my heart, and that was the celebration of having a day off from work. I played with dogs, I played on my computer, and I just let each moment soak through me, absorbing its energy and passing unto it some of mine. It was as glorious a Monday as a Monday can get, short of any exciting news or circumstance thudding onto the stage. Here’s what we saluted as we passed by:

National Fast Food Day

In full disclosure of fact, we did not eat fast food yesterday. Well, we did – in a way. Dinner last night was microwaved leftovers, the fastest of possible fast foods (apart from leftovers that don’t require heating up, I suppose). But fast food as it pertains to restaurant efficiency (if not quality) did not touch our lips yesterday. We’re okay with that. We’ll celebrate the alternate version of fast food, since we have dined on McMeals many times this year. Literally no fast food would have been celebratory yesterday, apart from either a full-on Dairy Queen dessert-inclusive experience or a trip to In-N-Out in California. Our leftovers were great.

Fast food is an urban creation, and it can be traced back to public food stands in the Roman Empire. Wherever there were cities there was a reluctance to cook. Not out of laziness, but cooking with oil and fire in a wooden house on a block with dozens of other wooden buildings was an invitation for disaster. It was still done, but cities were happy to encourage alternatives. So you’d get street vendors pitching waffles or pastries or what have you in London and Paris.

Fish ‘n chips was the first wide-spread fast food phenomenon in the western world, and once the car became a standard sight, drive-in restaurants started popping up. White Castle is likely the origin of fast food as we know it in North America.

Fast food is not usually good food. McDonalds can try to pitch their salads that no one eats, and A&W can prattle on about grain-fed cows and shiatzu-massaged onion rings, but we know when we’re pulling into a drive-thru that we aren’t making the best choice for our inside parts. That’s okay – not every meal has to elevate one’s body to temple-status. Fast food is fine. As for which is the best? That depends on who you ask.

For me, Popeye’s has the best chicken. Dairy Queen has the best burgers, but A&W has the best toppings (and the best root beer, of course). Wendy’s fries may be the top of the heap. And McDonalds is so intertwined with my dining history it’s practically comfort food. Especially their breakfast. Damn, I wish we’d had McBreakfast yesterday.

Chances are we will soon enough.

National Button Day

This is a day to pay tribute to the noble button, the thing that keeps our shirts from flying open in a brash, titties-to-the-wind kind of way. This is not, my research shows, a day to celebrate the thing you push to activate your computer, your microwave, or your fancy new Lexus. So how about them buttons?

I actually did something for this one. Having put off moving the contents of my closet downstairs to where our bedroom is now located, I decided to try on a number of my old shirts to create a keep pile and a toss pile. The bad news is that I found nothing to give away. This is because of the good news: the buttons on many shirts which I hadn’t worn in a couple of years were not straining from my torso’s shape. I have somehow navigated through this year of perpetual celebration and regular inactivity and lost weight. Hooray for 2020, I guess.

So I offer up a magnificent thank-you to the buttons of those shirts, which can now be fastened with confidence, knowing they won’t feel the tug of physics, seeking to yank them free from their thread-connected security. Sometimes good news is enough to count as a celebration.

International Education Week

Launched by Bill Clinton back in the days when Bill Clinton had the power to create stuff like this, International Education Week is a chance to celebrate international education and the exchange student experience. I wasn’t sure about this one, but it occurred to me that Jodie’s education is truly an international situation. She is absolutely celebrating this, not only this week but every week since September started.

She is a student at the University of Calgary – not an international journey, though it is distance-learning. But her subject matter is increasingly leaning toward the plight of the African-American movement in the United States. Part of her plan involves travelling to Los Angeles to do some work in the inner city with a mentor she’d love to learn from. It’s not a deeply international sentiment, to expand one’s education in the USA, but it’s close enough.

And since her life’s focus is on dispensing and receiving education, with both knobs turned securely up to eleven right now, I’d say she qualifies as a celebrant of this festive week. I’m sure Mr. Clinton would approve.

National Bundt Cake Day

For the life of me, I can’t recall what we did earlier this year with Bundt cake, but I know with immeasurable certainty that we’ve celebrated this already. I know I looked into the etymology of the cake, from the German bundkuchen, through its popularization in North America when aluminum Bundt mold pans became a thing. And I remember eating the Bundt cake too.

But all of my research shows that National Bundt Cake Day lands in the middle of November, so here we are again. This year has been a swirling maelstrom of celebration, and sometimes we find our internal compass has been skewed beyond recognition. That’s okay. There’s no disorientation so severe that it cannot be remedied with a good slice of cake. And that’s what we enjoyed last night: a good slice of cake.

Cherry, in particular. A cake made in a pan that isn’t 100% Bundt, but close enough to count. It was great.

Today will not be as much fun as yesterday, as evidenced by the fact that I have actual work to do. But then, I had to write an article yesterday, and some days I find myself enjoying my work-work more than my writing-work. Here’s what’s up today:

  • National Baklava Day. I’m really wishing we’d bought some of this, but we can’t indulge in every sweet food celebration, lest my buttons betray me.
  • National Take A Hike Day. Don’t mind if I do.
  • National Homemade Bread Day. There is no chance we’ll be baking our own bread. We don’t need that kind of power at our fingertips.
  • National Unfriend Day. Someone is getting booted from my friends list today. Beware.
  • Electronic Greeting Card Day. And one of you who makes the cut may get one of these. Sorry.
  • International Students’ Day. This probably ties in with the Clinton Education Week. I don’t think we’ll stretch the same celebration to a second one.
  • National Farm Joke Day. Did you hear the one about the farmer, the prostitute and the chicken?
  • International Happy Gose Day. A happy gose is a productive gose. Probably. I don’t know what a gose is.
  • National Entrepreneurs Day. I know some of those.
  • The Little Mermaid Day. Why? I’m sure there’s a reason.

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