originally published August 1, 2013
Ah, August. That first month of the year which marks the turning point, the crest of the hill after which my little northern town begins sliding on its heels toward that inevitable and forsaken pit of wretched winter.
But I prefer not to dwell on the meteorological implications of this dog-day month, not when there still exists the possibility (however fleeting and dream-like) of a warm summer sun roasting the cockles of my being to a shimmering simmer. Come on, Nature. I’m putting some good vibes out there; I bought an air conditioner back in late June and I’ve used it for four days. Four days. The rest of this summer has been room temperature or slightly warmer, and that’s at the sweaty peak of the afternoon.
Enough with my digression. August is not a month for mourning, it’s a month for celebrating! And if you’re looking for an excuse, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what’s on the calendar.
Remember when you were a kid and you asked why there was a Mothers Day and a Fathers Day but no Kids Day, and your parents told you every day was Kids Day and you quietly snarled under your breath that your parents were clearly full of shit and not afraid to shovel a little in your direction? Well, I’ve always believed that every day was Beer Day, but alas there is an actual International Beer Day and this year it unfolds tomorrow, August 2.
Like so many wonderful ideas, this one popped its cork in California, beginning as a Santa Cruz-based mission of universal understanding and togetherness, all while appreciating the taste of a fine beer and raising a glass to those miraculous mavens who brew it. Also, it doesn’t hurt to heap some praise on those who swiftly sling it to our table. So buy your bartender a drink tomorrow night. If you’re buds with a local Brewmaster, crack open an ice-cold bottle of something he or she would savor. Dust off your beer-pong ball and sharpen up your aim – if any holiday deserves to be celebrated, this is probably it.
While you’re toasting your local cocktail waitress for brining you pint #6 for the evening, why not raise your glass in tribute to good ol’ Richard Milhous Nixon? On August 2, 1971, President Dick signed an official resolution, declaring August 1-7 to be International Clown Week.
We can also thank Frank “Kelly The Clown” Kelly and Bill “Boom-Boom” Baily for taking the initiative and representing their kind in Clown Week’s arduous trek from notion to reality. It took over a decade for the clown lobby – and apparently there is or was such a thing – to push their lawmakers to the point of actually bringing this to Congress. No doubt when the resolution was signed into existence by the President, the clowns across America threw a magnificent celebration. Seltzer bottles and cream pies splattered wildly through the wee hours, until the tired party-goers, their tears of joy having smeared greasepaint down the front of their comically wide lapels, all packed into a single tiny car and drove home.
Between seven and ten percent of those denim-clad meat-sacks you see outside your window are left-handed. Half the Beatles and roughly 80% of Jimi Hendrix was also left-handed*. Those poor souls have been denied their own day of celebration… that is, until now. Or until August 13, 1976 when International Lefthanders Day was first observed. But that’s a lot of history getting the short-end of the respect stick.
This is a day when shop-owners should look at their selection of tools and ensure they have left-handed scissors, left-handed screwdrivers, left-handed hammers, and so on. This is a day when bullies around the world should stop picking on left-handed kids and go after the foreign kids instead. This is a day when we all need to look at our right-hand-biased world, from the way we set our tables to the fact that we drive on the right side of the road. No seriously, the Wikipedia article brings this up as an example of discrimination against lefties. Maybe the 90-93% of righties in England should start protesting their discrimination.
At some point in August, I’m not entirely clear when, people in Turkmenistan celebrate Melon Day, a day in which they pay tribute to Turkmen muskmelons. As president Saparmurat Niyazov declared when he announced the day in 1994, “the smell makes your head spin.”
Turkmenistan also celebrates Racing Horse Day, the Drop of Water Is A Grain Of Gold Festival, and Carpet Day. Better pick your favorite and coordinate with your travel agent before all the good carpets are taken.
Here in Canada, the first Monday of August is officially known as ‘Civic Holiday’, or as we see it, an excuse for a long weekend between Canada Day and Labor (sorry… Labour) Day. Here in Alberta, some call it Heritage Day. I call it a welcome relief and a short work-week.
Striking a blow for gender equality, the Sunday nearest August 26 (this year that’d be the 28th) is Go Topless Day. On this day women are encouraged to take to the streets and leave their shirts at home, making a stand that they should have the same rights as men when it comes to getting wind-burned nipples on a blustery day.
Organizers first concocted this day of protest in 2008, but in 2011 it really took shape, with rallies held in twelve US states. Yes, California was one of them.
In cities where the cops might be looking to bust (pun only slightly intended) the protesting women, the savvy demonstrators slapped pasties over their offending areolas. Some men stood in solidarity, wearing bras or bikini tops. In Toronto, a truck containing twenty protestors drove through the city, blasting the Beatles’ “Revolution” to curious onlookers. I suspect John Lennon would have approved of this use of his song.
I support this particular cause, and not simply for reasons that would get me smacked on the arm by my wife. I believe in equality, I’m just not sure the men of the world could handle it on this level. Diane Brisbois, the Canadian spokesperson for the event, declared, “…it’s about freedom. We have support, there are many men who come to our events too.”
No kidding, Diane. That particular invite probably isn’t a hard sell.
* Note that it has been factually proven that Jimi Hendrix was at least 20% pure psychedelic ether.