Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter

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column: Observances Arrive With Dog Days

I've been on a tear with my new YA mystery manuscript, "Red is For Ick" (Haven't heard back from Whiskey Creek Press on edits for "Storm Chaser"). After being clobbered over the head by my muse I tore apart the last few chapters, and I'm in the midst of putting them back together into something that will have a bit more action, and extra surprises. Yesterday I worked on it at the Indiana University/Purdue University library while Emily was in class, and apparently being surrounded by all those books was inspiring: I wrote obout 2,500 words in the course of an hour and a half.


Some people say the soon to be late, lamented August (well, lamented by me) seems so long because it’s the dog days, the time of all heat and nothing cool, the long month with the short tempers. I say it seems so long because of all the observances that have been assigned to it.

Is it a good idea to make August National Golf Month, for instance? Heat Stroke that way lies. And who decided all these observances, anyway? Family Fun Month? Albion has a Family Fun Day in May, why don’t we get to choose that one?

There are fourteen different month-long observances in August – fourteen, and then throw in the week long and day long ones. How am I supposed to celebrate Foot Health Month when I’m busy getting my vision checked for National Eye Exam Month? Have you ever tried to go to your podiatrist and your dentist at the same time? I can tell you this: Even if you can get them in the same room, the exams won’t be easy. Especially for someone like me, who kicks whenever the dentist twitches. And after twenty years of me, my dentist twitches a lot.

Anyway, let’s take a look at all these various observances, both because they’re worth examining and because it’s just too darn hot to write a column about anything else.

American Artist Appreciation Month.

A couple of weeks ago I was at the Indiana University/Purdue University campus, and I saw that some construction workers had dropped girders right in the middle of a walkway. It seemed like a very dangerous place to leave that tangle of debris, but then I realized it wasn’t there by accident: It was a sculpture made of steel welded together.

I think I need to work on my art appreciation, because I checked that thing out from all sides, and all I could think was, “Has some archeologist somewhere dug through what he thought was a two thousand year old garbage heap, without realizing it was really some poor artist’s life’s work?

Home Business Month. Hey, I’ve got a home business! If I’d known this, I’d have taken the month off. Although that would kind of defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?

National Catfish Month. I used to make a lot of puns about fish, until my fiancée informed me that I was giving her a haddock, and that if I didn’t stop being a piker I’d need a sturgeon. Holy mackerel.

National Inventors Month. If Emily reads that last paragraph, I’d better invent some way to make myself invisible.

National Water Quality Month. Much of the world has a shortage of fresh water. Ironically, much of that same part of the world is flooded. Kinda makes you glad to have indoor plumbing, doesn’t it?

Admit You’re Happy Month. Okay, I’m happy to have indoor plumbing.

Peach Month. Um. Okay. Can December be Orange Month?

Romance Awareness Month. Yeah, but what about February?

National Picnic Month. Again with the heat stroke.

Week long observances:

National Clown Week. As if I wasn’t already freaked out by the next one:

National Smile Week. Think about it. How would you feel if everywhere you looked everyone had a huge smile on your face? You’d be freaked out, even without the clowns.

Elvis Week. Don’t know why. Celebrate by taking a peanut butter and banana sandwich to your picnic with the clowns. And smile.

National Apple Week. Won’t the peaches get upset?

Air Conditioning Appreciation Week. Okay, that one I get.

American Dance Week. Better crank up the air conditioning.

Be Kind to Humankind Week. Better really crank up the air conditioning. I guess it fits in with smiling while having a picnic with a clown, but don’t forget to help out any Elvis impersonators you find with heat stroke.

And the final week: National Simplify Your Life Week.

Okay, now they’re just being sarcastic. I have to turn an entire wall of my house into a whiteboard and buy two cases of markers to keep track of this stuff, and they want me to simplify my life?

Finally, there are some individual “Days”, mostly to mark historical dates. I’m a fan of history:

August 1st: Switzerland is founded, 1291. But they don’t want to get involved in the celebration.

August 2nd. 1861, Congress enacts the first income tax. It was to help fund the Civil War, so of course as soon as the war was over they cut the … oh, wait.

August 4th, 1909. Here’s an irony for you: the first Lincoln Penny was issued. It was then immediately taxed, to pay for the Civil War.

The same date is Coast Guard Day and National Chocolate Chip Day. Bake cookies for the Guardsman of your choice.

August 7th: Wiggle Your Toes Day. Life’s simple pleasures.

Also that day is Sea Serpent Day, along with National Lighthouse Day, which celebrates our attempt to see sea serpents, which would certainly make me wiggle my toes.

August 8th is Dollar Day, the day the US dollar was created. Send 35 Lincoln pennies in as tax, please.

August 9th: International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. However, there’s no such thing as indigenous people -- we all got here from somewhere else. Every August 9th, my Cherokee ancestors break out the vodka and celebrate the day they left Siberia to escape my fish puns.

Also on the 9th are National Rice Pudding Day and Book Lover’s Day. I like only one of those: guess which.

On August 10th comes the anniversary of the first steam locomotive, Herbert Hoover’s birthday, S’More’s Day, and Lazy Day. Again, I like one of these more than the others. Some wise guy pointed out that in honor of Hoover’s birthday, we’re throwing another Great Depression. Wonderful: Now we have to be lazy, which takes all the fun out of it.

Finally, on August 11th:

Presidential Joke Day.

But I guess that’s a whole other column.
Tags: column, new era, red is for ick, slightly off the mark, storm chaser, whiskey creek press

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