Thursday, December 31, 2020

This is my final article of this project that will feature a ‘Today’ section packed with celebrations and whatnot to occupy my time. I can summarize how much sadness I feel about this with a glorious little jig my brain dances upon the parquet floor of my skull every time I think about it. Good riddance to 2020, and a pre-adios to this project which has crumbled beneath the weight of its own ambition. We shan’t be welcoming the new year the same way we did last year. First off, I don’t need to celebrate National Hangover Day tomorrow, so I won’t be doing shots of peach vodka until I puke this year. Secondly, we indulged in numerous rituals to bring good fortune into the new year, including throwing bread, leaping off chairs, eating grapes, ringing a bell and dropping ice cream on the floor. We did all that, and got 2020 as a result. So we’ll be repeating none of those customs tonight. Here’s how we spent our penultimate day of celebration:

Falling Needles Family Fest

For one final bow before the curtain drops, I give you Thomas and Ruth Roy. Thomas was an actor – you might remember him as the street preacher in the 1995 film 12 Monkeys. He spent years as a DJ. He and his wife Ruth created more than 80 holidays, which all showed up as the most entertaining entries in Chase’s Calendar of Events in our research for this project. We made it part of our mission to celebrate as many of these as humanly possible.

Take Your Houseplants For A Walk Day. Stay Away From Seattle Day. Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day. Yell “Fudge” At The Cobras In North America Day. These are just a handful of the madcap mayhem-fests the Roys have bestowed upon our 2020, and they never even realized it. Yesterday I sent them an email of thanks. I’ll drop an update if they happen to write back.

The purpose of this one is to take down the Christmas tree and… I don’t know, deal with it. I have only undertaken the savage ritual of having a living tree in my house once, and I think we just plopped it out by the trash on trash day. We plopped our artificial tree back into its basement hidey-hole for the next year, along with all the rest of our indoor and outdoor decorations. The deChristmification of the Schwartz compound is complete, and that means we are a step closer to summer and the hammock.

Thank you, Roys, for adding the sparkle to this year’s schedule of insanity.

National Bacon Day

It’s perfect. On the penultimate day of the project that has drained more than 2,000 entries from my fingertips, we get what some may consider to be the greatest of all national days. Bacon is such immense joy that even our cultural over-saturation of bacon obsession has done nothing to sway our taste buds. It is the most prized salted meat. The star of any breakfast it deigns to crash.

In my previous project, I penned a thoughtful and genuine love letter to bacon. I’m going to copy it here, because nothing I can say about the stuff could do it any more justice than this:

Dear Bacon,

Your salty scent and savory crunch have coaxed me into buildings, distorted my perception of satisfactory portion sizes, and pinched my most base sense of temptation. While your sodium and fat content may lure me to a premature traffic jam of goop in my arteries, you remain an irresistible force.

Were I imprisoned in a fantasy-scape of hardboiled fiction, you would be my femme fatale. My meat fatale.

You are a complete thought, an understanding between myself and the greater universe. When my grandmother asks why I don’t keep kosher, you are my sole justification. “Because, bacon.” Had she ever experienced your essence, she would understand.

I have been asked by fellow bacon enthusiasts (or, right-minded gourmands, as I call us) if Canadian bacon is the norm up here. In reply I ask, how could such a second-rate cut of pork inspire the same devotion as genuine bacon?

I grant you, a fine Canadian bacon can be a pristine purveyance of porcine pleasure, but it isn’t the same. We call it ‘peameal bacon’ because it used to be rolled in dried yellow peas (why???). Now they roll it in cornmeal. It’s nice, but it’s “ham” nice. It’s not you.

I know, they call back bacon ‘bacon’ in England, but what do they do in England that isn’t backwards anyway? In Ireland, back bacon slices are called ‘back rashers’, probably because it’s easy to pronounce when you’re drunk. But I’m not here to rattle on about your competition.

So much has been created in your honor. No longer are you condemned to wallow with ham slices and sausages as an optional companion for hashbrowns beside a Moons Over My-Hammy. You have been liberated from L. and T., your sandwich friends; you’ve been removed from your burger and whistle-dog prisons, and idolized throughout western society.

As it was meant to be.

I’ve sprinkled your bits on salad (I apologize if that sounds naughty), singled you out as the only valid ingredient in baked potato soup, and even indulged in a wild gustatory ménage-a-trois with you and chocolate.

I have sampled your dalliance with mayonnaise, and while I find the name ‘Baconnaise’ to be a frothy tickle upon my tongue, I cannot keep this product in my home for fear that I’d disappear into a cupboard with but the jar and a soup-spoon.

Someone told me once about Bacon Grill and I nearly wept. Leave it to those crazy Dutch to turn you into a Spam-like glob. Honestly, that is a crime against more than humanity – it is a crime against baconity.

The ingredients for this abomination include “mechanically recovered pork” and “mechanically recovered chicken”. Not only does my mind boggle at the inclusion of poultry into the holy sanctity of your realm, but I can’t help but wonder from whence these meats have been recovered.

Turkey bacon and tofu bacon will come no nearer to my lips than Bacon Grill. Bacon needs no modifiers to bring it to life. It is life, in fact, that needs modifiers. The modification of bacony goodness.

First and most logically are the joyous beverages your bounty can provide. A bacon martini (also called a bacontini or a Pig On The Rocks) features bacon-infused vodka. To get straight to the point on a Friday eve, I might prefer the Mitch Morgan: a shot of whiskey with a bacon garnish.

I confess, my affections are pure. While I appreciate the mountains of tributes to you in the form of various non-food products, I prefer to indulge in your essence solely by your presence. Things get a little weird when people try to baconize the rest of the world.

I have sampled bacon gum and bacon mints, and they taste like bacon might in a darker, more wretched dimension. The bacon air fresheners that may adequately proclaim one’s love for you visually, fail to capture the glory of your olfactory delight. To be honest, some of these products may not even be real:

Bacon bandages. I have used them, and not only is their adhesive quality sub-par when compared to Band-Aid brand, they simply make me hungry.

Bacon baby formula. I agree completely with this product’s intention: to indoctrinate young taste buds into the holy benefits of a bacon lifestyle.

Bacon-flavored Diet Coke. I know this isn’t real, but I just love the picture.

Bacon hot sauce. Absolutely. Why settle for making food spicier, when you can make food both spicier and baconier?

Bacon toothpaste. Sure, some people may shy away from this concept, and it may be because the product actually tastes extremely unpleasant (which I imagine it does). But no true devotee to the sweet bosom of bacony bliss would refuse to try it. Just once.

Bacon luggage. This one is probably fake. It would be a great way to confuse drug-sniffing dogs though.

A bacon-themed coffin. I suppose once you’ve sampled every other bacon product on Earth, this would be your last stop on the tasty train.

Bacon personal lubricant. Ummm… this might be a bit much.

Dear, sweet bacon, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my cholesterol count for the many hours of gourmet goodness you have provided. While someday you may be the cause of my ultimate demise, I will savor my journey to that great beyond, one thick-cut, extra-crispy slice at a time.

Love,

A fan.

Thanks, bacon. It’s been nearly eight years since I wrote those words, but they still ring true today. We had some of you on pizza last night because you rock. Happy day to you.

That’s it for the 30th. And for one final time, here’s what we have to look forward to today, should we feel so oomphed:

  • National Champagne Day. No kidding. Prosecco will have to count as close enough, and you know what? After this year, close enough is good fucking enough.
  • Leap Second Time Adjustment Day. Every so often they add an extra second to the year, just to keep the calendar intact. We’ll check if it happened this year.
  • Make Up Your Mind Day. I guess this is the day we… make up our minds?
  • Universal Hour of Peace. Between 11:30 and 12:30 (so, around midnight tonight) we will refrain from any acts of bloodshed.
  • No Interruptions Day. I have three dogs. That doesn’t happen.
  • New Year’s Eve. Of course!

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