Wednesday, November 18, 2020

We have reached the point in this project in which we can carefully trod in our own footsteps from last year. We ran a “test week” last November, during which we celebrated, and I wrote and published daily articles. Some were skipped, some were absolute failures, and a couple were rather clever. But where I should have caught the red flags that this might not be quite as much fun as I was hoping, instead I chalked our stumbles up to inexperience. I had no idea I’d be navigating a pandemic throughout all of this, nor did I know how much gas I’d have in my celebrating tank after ten and a half months of this project. But even if we’re running on fumes, we’re still running. Here’s what went down yesterday:

National Take A Hike Day

I’ve got to hand it to the creators of National Take A Hike Day. It takes a certain circumference of cajones to drop a day like this into the middle of November. I know, this is still ‘autumn’ for a lot of folks in North America, and from what I can gather this is an American-brewed celebration. But still. It’s November.

Alas, this is a celebration we can easily take part in. I saddled up the dogs and headed for a  stroll around the neighbourhood right as the sun was going down in the afternoon. To be clear, the dogs were not wearing saddles. That was a strange choice of expression. But we hiked along the trails near our house, and the dogs were thrilled to taste the open (albeit freezing) air for a bit. I wasn’t nearly as thrilled, but I have acquired so much horizontality and inertia throughout 2020 that anything that punts me out the door and gets my limbs moving should be welcomed.

It wasn’t much of a celebration, and it would have been a lot more fun in the summer months when we could have gone a little further, but it was a hike.

National Unfriend Day

Apologies to the three people who were unceremoniously yanked off my friends list yesterday. I state these apologies knowing they will never read them. I also noticed that I pluralized ‘apologies’ when really it was one apology to be divided three ways. I’m really second-guessing my word choices today and just leaving it all over the page, rather than fix them in editing. Could it be that I just don’t care anymore?

Yesterday three people with whom I worked in my Dell Computers days – back before Dell shut down operations in this town and laid everyone off – got removed from my list of companions. Was this cruel? No – I had unsubscribed from their feeds ages go, given that our lives were never really entwined in any other capacity than a work capacity. I’d guess they did the same with me, as they hadn’t commented on or like a single one of my posts in more than a decade.

Sometimes it’s good to cull the friends list. I tend not to do it very often, since it really doesn’t matter to me whether or not someone I got along with 15 years ago might want to read what I think about the election this year, or check out how my research into seat belts went. But this was a celebration on our menu for Tuesday, so I indulged. It wasn’t gratifying, nor was it particularly heart-wrenching. It was just a thing to do. Once done, we simply moved on to the next.

Electronic Greeting Card Day

A big ol’ thanks to Smilebox for having the free tools to create a personalized greeting card. And a big ol’ non-thanks to Smilebox for asking me to buy their premium product for this one-off event. They won’t let you download your finished product, nor will they allow you to email it or Facebook it unless you give them money. Your one option? Post it for free to Twitter.

Well, that’s handy. I made this card for my daughter in order to congratulate her on her (fictional, probably) emu’s bat mitzvah, and my daughter doesn’t use Twitter. So rather than get my money – and there is no money for Smilebox to get – I simply took a picture of my screen and sent her a text. She doesn’t actually own an emu (probably), so I’m sure she won’t mind the cut corner.

I guess this is a day for us to remember that we don’t have to give Hallmark $5-10 dollars every time someone we know has a special occasion. We can instead give that money to Smilebox or one of the other e-card companies online, and create something with some animation, some movement, and even some music. Or, we can totally cheap out and do what I did. When you’re tackling 2,000+ celebrations in a year, you cheap out when you can.

National Farm Joke Day

You know how I can tell that I’m ready for this project to wind down? I’ve landed on National Farm Joke Day, and am forced to relay the following:

Why can’t the bankrupt farmer complain? Because he’s got no beef. What did the farmer say when he lost one of his cows? Oh, what a mis-steak. Why did the scarecrow win the Nobel Prize? Because he was out standing in his field. What do farmers use to make crop circles? A pro-tractor. What’s the best part about farming? Getting down and dirty with my hoes.

I nabbed all of these off an ‘udderly hilarious’ website of what I guess was supposed to be family-friendly farm puns. I’m not sure about that last one, which clearly indicates there is a double-entendre between farm work and having an exorbitant orgy with a number of paid prostitutes. I don’t think that’s very family-friendly. But you know what really stinks? Jokes. I am not a fan. Especially jokes that ask a question, allowing you a pause to contemplate what pedestrian word-play will roll in and call itself a punchline.

Yep. I’m definitely souring on these celebrations. I need one that will perk up my interest and hopefully not reference an orgy for a laugh. How about this:

Manatee Awareness Month

Yep, we are at the point in this project where a month devoted to the mighty sea-cow is sufficient to pull my doldrums up by the pubes and shake them loose. The manatee is a glorious beast, a fine specimen in oceanic glory whilst physically resembling an aged sofa. Let’s do our thing and try to learn something about these massive creatures.

Let’s start with the teats. Females have two, which is not unusual among mammals. What’s weird is that they are located underneath their flippers. Manatees eat plants, and as such they only have molar-like teeth tucked into their cheeks. Those teeth are constantly in a state of being edged out by replacements, so spitting out teeth is a normal action for the adult manatee. They’re right up there with dolphins on the smart scale, they just don’t tend to show it off. I appreciate the humility.

They can live up to 60 years, and with their reproductive cycle that’s a good thing. They only breed once every two years or so, and it takes a full 12 months to spit a baby out, plus another year and a half to ween them. And it’s going to be a single baby – manatees need to keep at it to keep their populations up. Crocs might get at their babies, but of course the biggest threat to the manatee is humans. Boats often hit them, and this causes a lot of damage to both sides.

Of course, the manatee never outwardly tries to cause us pain, and as such we have tried to do our best to keep them safe. They are not on the endangered list, and nobody is serving them up as steaks. I hope.

Thumbs-up to these wonderful beasts – may they never face danger from our collective stupidity.

Today maybe my heart will be more into it. Here’s what we’ve got to choose from:

  • National Princess Day. We shan’t be taking a cruise, but maybe we’ll watch a Disney princess movie. Like Star Wars.
  • National Vichyssoise Day. We made this crappy cold soup during our test run last year, and we will be avoiding it this time around.
  • Mickey Mouse’s Birthday. Sounds like we’ll be spinnin’ Steamboat Willie for our entertainment today!
  • Minnie Mouse’s Birthday. I guess we’ll also check out whatever Minnie’s first cartoon was.
  • Married To A Scorpio Support Day. I’m sure astrologists everywhere are having a chuckle about this. I honestly don’t get it.
  • National Educational Support Professionals Day. I’ll have to check, but I think our premier fired all of these folks this year.
  • Apple Cider Day. Okay, that sounds tasty.
  • Occult Day. Creepy.
  • Push-Button Telephone Day. Kind of weird, a celebration geared toward not the oldest technology, just the tech that was most popular in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
  • William Tell Day. Who wants to stand under an apple while I try to shoot it? Anyone?

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