originally published February 1, 2013
In my little corner of the frozen tundra, February is the usually the first time we can look forward to a stretch of above-freezing temperatures, if only for a few days. February is Super Bowl month, heart-shaped-candy month, and our first long weekend of the new year (since Canada apparently doesn’t officially care about Martin Luther King Jr.). But there’s more.
I’m launching a new regular feature today. There are observances and so-called holidays peppering our calendar, and most of them sail by without notice. It’s my mission to draw attention to some of the meeker, less boisterous annual days each month. You want to take down Big Hallmark? Here’s your ammo.
Better skip the big game on Super Bowl Sunday and spend some time shopping for that perfect gift that says, “Hey. You’re awesome. And you were totally right about that chance of showers last Thursday.”
February 5th is National Weatherperson’s Day. According to the National Weather Service website, meteorologists are important. Seriously, their website about this day says nothing about its origin, or who felt it was necessary to hold a special day for this profession. But they do want you to remember that without meteorologists, that 5-day forecast in your local paper would just be five blank boxes.
The specific date was chosen to commemorate the birthday of John Jeffries, a Bostonian who was one of the first to record the weather, documenting over 40 years of local data. So next Wednesday I invite you to hug your local weatherperson. Maybe write them a note and leave it on their car – something to let them know you’re a fan, like “I’m Watching You.” (meaning, every night on TV, not in a stalker way. But they’ll know that.)
The second Monday of every February – so the 11th this month – is Clean Out Your Computer Day. This is the brainchild of the Institute for Business Technology, or “The Institute”, as I call it when I want to sound important. Actually, I’m not even certain The Institute is still around, or if it ever existed to begin with. Their web presence has fallen below mine, and as I’m already perched on the edge of that endless abyss of anonymous bloggery and self-exiled obscurity, that ain’t good.
Nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a little chunk of February 11th digging through your old files, your musty directories, or that pirated copy of Quake II you’d installed years ago only to find out it didn’t work. Clear out some hard drive space. Check your Outlook, or non-Microsoft-branded email gadget. Is your deleted items folder still hanging on to that message from Uncle Roy, letting you know that he’ll meet you at Denny’s for lunch at 12:30 that day in August, 2004?
Now you have an excuse to execute a little slash-n-burn.
If you live in Thailand then you’re probably aware that February 2nd is Inventor’s Day, naturally because that commemorates the anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s patent acquisition for coming up with a slow speed surface aerator, possibly pictured above (I honestly don’t know what one looks like).
If you reside in the U.S. of A., then you’ll have to wait until February 11th, sometime after you’ve finished deleting your cookies and clearing all that dusty ol’ porn from your browser history. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced that the 11th was to be National Inventor’s Day. Why that day? It’s Thomas Edison’s birthday, of course.
So stick a clock on something, maybe paint a racing stripe down the side, and call yourself an inventor on the 11th. Who knows? You could end up being the next Bob Chandler (inventor of the monster truck. But you knew that).
If you will be lacking that special someone with whom to share Valentine’s Day, don’t despair. You won’t have to worry about making last-minute reservations because you forgot what day it was, or paying six times the regular price for a dozen roses. And you don’t have to be unhappy about the fact that the only warm body you’ll be snuggling on the 14th of February will be that of the over-size gummy bear you just took out of the microwave. Now you have your very own day.
Well, sort of. Singles Awareness Day (or SAD – but that’s totally a coincidence) will probably get a modicum of press, showing up in that last thirty seconds of the Valentine’s Day newscast, in that awkward part where the anchors try to banter with one another.
Some people wear green as an alternative to the reddish dominance of that ‘other’ holiday. Others organize get-togethers with their single friends, which totally won’t end in some desperate guy and some desperate girl hooking up because SAD is bullcrap. There’s even a contingent who travel specifically to Brazil on that date, because Brazil celebrates lovebirds in June, and besides, Carnival is a great place to meet chicks.
Perhaps the most ridiculously-titled day in all of February falls on the 22nd every year: World Thinking Day. This is not the day in which everyone in the world is encouraged to think – no one would be fool enough to think that would happen. World Thinking Day is a creation of the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. The ‘thinking’ in question is specifically directed at the meaning of Guiding, its impact, and other kids around the world.
This dates back to 1926, when the Scout movement was spreading around the world like a raging inferno, except offering cookies for sale instead of complimentary destruction. Some Boy Scout groups have taken it on also, perhaps because the date of the 22nd was chosen to honor Boy Scout founder Lord Baden-Powell’s birthday.
Each year, a troupe from Mona Burgin’s Scout unit in Auckland, New Zealand stages a pre-dawn hike to the top of Mount Eden, where they kick off World Thinking Day with a song (probably “We Are The World”, with the most prestigious two Scouts or Guides getting to sing the Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie parts). They also talk about some of the countries they are thinking about, thus setting “The Big Think” in motion with the sun around the world.
Afterwards, they offer the entrails of a healthy ox as a sacrifice, staple pine cones onto the ceremonial Thinking Hat, then light a squirrel on fire and release it into the wild. The Scouts are a mysterious and complicated organization.
I’m kidding of course – World Thinking Day sounds like a great idea, and the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts produce some truly awesome women into the world. Maybe not ‘weatherperson’-awesome, but awesome nonetheless.