Day 488: A May-Long Party Of Gardening, Gobbling And Geekery

originally published May 2, 2013

Happy May, everybody!

Well, happy May yesterday. I was about 280 words into my article about ghosts and New York State real estate law when I realized I was supposed to pen my monthly kilograph on the observances you might not find on your Walmart-purchased The Abs Of Jersey Shore 2013 calendar. That’s okay – even limiting us to May 2-31, there are dozens of curious celebrations and distinctly secular holidays to prepare for.

Don’t bother heading to your local Hallmark store for these – you aren’t going to find cards that will convey to your loved ones that they’d best make the most of these special days. Though there should be. Anyone want to send Hallmark a draft of a catchy card for National Masturbation Day?

Though I have already devoted a thousand words to this quirky celebration, I felt it warranted another mention. This a classic product of pure San Franciscan ingenuity. Actually, it began as a promotional gimmick for a local sex shop, but we’re up to year #18 for this tradition, so why quash it with corporate cynicism?

The highlight of the day is, of course, the Masturbate-a-thon, which features a friendly – some may say too friendly – competition. Last year, a record was set for ten hours and ten minutes spent on a single episode. The record for distance (4.22 meters, in case you want to beat it at home… oh dammit, I actually just wrote that) was also set in 2012.

Mark it on your calendars – May 28 is coming.

If you’re too shy to flog your bratwurst in public, maybe you’ve got a dose of World Laughter Day in you. We’re up to fifteen years for this holiday, which was created by Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of the Laughter Yoga movement.

No, you read that right. Laughter Yoga. This is a blend of yogic breathing and forcing yourself to fake-laugh, which – in the right group – should turn into a hearty actual laugh. There’s no solid medical evidence that this will improve your life, but it seems like you’d have nothing to lose by trying. May 5 is the day you should seek out your local Laughter Yoga folk and cough up some chortles.

Hey, here’s a fun way to spend your Friday. May 3rd is World Naked Gardening Day, an event engineered by the good folks at the American Association for Nude Recreation back in 2005. There’s no political agenda to this day, it’s simply a time for all of us to strip down, head outside and cultivate a good 2-inch mulch.

(insert your own 2-inch mulch joke here – I’m done with the puns.)

While I applaud the naturists’ desire to appeal to a basic activity that many of us can do in the buff if we so choose, I feel that World Naked Gardening Day is a little biased against those who live in apartment blocks. For that reason, I propose that we also celebrate May 3rd as World Wave Your Junk Out Your Apartment Window Day. I’m all about inclusion.

Some of you may be taking time to pray today, as the National Day of Prayer slips an asterisk over the separation of church and state. Every year, the President is expected to sign a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray. Naturally, the atheists are a little sour about this tradition, so they came up with the National Day of Reason, an event to run concurrently with the National Day of Prayer.

A number of non-God-fearing groups target state-sanctioned prayer breaks as a reason to protest on this day. Others make use of the occasion to organize a blood drive or to raise money or food for charity. This is a good day of societal integration for atheists, as it shows them to be just like any other religion: some use their beliefs to spread some good, while others just stand around and shout a lot.

Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill in 1958 which proclaimed May 17th to be National Walnut Day. Not joking – the Walnut Marketing Board first started this affair in 1949 as a means of promoting walnuts.

In all my life, I don’t think any organization or advertisement has ever tried to get me to eat a walnut. Walnuts simply show up here and there – in recipes, in bowls of crack-ready nuttery, and… well, nowhere else. I firmly support the Walnut Marketing Board and all the farmers in the industry, but I really don’t think I’ll be booking that Friday off to contemplate the majesty of a walnut. Your passion may vary though.

While this Saturday will no doubt be International “May-The-Fourth-Be-With-You Status Updates On Facebook Day”, the true geeks know that the real celebration comes three weeks later on May 25. This is truly Geek Pride Day, and it is perfect.

On May 25, 1977, Star Wars – the undeniable hub that holds together all the spokes of pure geekdom – was released in theatres. May 25, 2001 marked two weeks after the death of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy author Douglas Adams, and has thus become Towel Day, a day in which his fans can celebrate his work.

Also, there’s something about a Glorious 25 May in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I don’t know anything about it, but it’s on the internet so it must be true.

I can see Geek Pride Day becoming more and more unnecessary, certainly quicker than World Naked Gardening Day. Geeks are proud every day, and we seem to live in an increasingly geek-dominated culture. With Iron Man 3 still likely to be showing on the biggest of the big screens on May 25, I’m sure Geek Pride Day will get the tributes it deserves.

So far, I’m really digging the May observances. Geeking out? Laughing a lot? Masturbating and nude gardening? (though optimally you won’t want to do these simultaneously) All good stuff. But here’s one I can really jump up and down for – or, more accurately, not jump up and down for. It shows up on May 6th, and it’s called International No Diet Day.

The point of this day is to accept body diversity, to quit scolding your mirror’s reflection, and to simply be who you are. Feminists – who aptly point out that women often bear the heavier brunt of our society’s obsession with a skinny appearance – are in favor of this day. I’m on board, even if a lot of the day’s focus has shifted from showcasing eating disorders, weight discrimination and size bias into local restaurants using the day to push their dessert menu on customers.

The symbol for International No-Diet Day is a light blue ribbon, which you can proudly pin to your ample frame next Monday. I’m not sure light blue is necessarily the way to go here… surely there’s something else that might make sense.

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