Sunday, March 1, 2009

Arbitroliday: colon, coffee, and underwear

The short month of holidays is over. I ran across two the other day: one was something I imagined in my head while thinking about the other, and it turned out to be real. Whew, that was cool. I read on post that February sixth was Semicolon Day in Sweden; curiously the seventh was entirely dissimilar. Perhaps that is yet another slight to text, grammar, and punctuation.

In that vein I stumbled across several commiserates. Why not celebrate a new day with some new blogs? It turns out that there are people in the world beyond the Eats, Shoots and Leavesvariety who are interested in punctuation. Maybe, though, they are still all found in England. The Grammarblog is a high-tension haven for… grammar. This of course has little to do with holidays, at least directly, though the site did a fair job slighting a pizza joint with signage marginal at best. The food issue brings me back to holidays.

Trailing out of February, I acknowledged Lent earlier than is tradition. A full two weeks early this year, I continue to celebrate the Lenten season without “foods” including coffee and Coke—I exclude all derivations and permutations if at all feasible. Lent does very little for me as part of a Christian ceremony, but I do enjoy the potential for introspection in giving up, or sacrificing, something, particularly when the terms are monitored by another’s calendar. It is also exciting to celebrate something without the abundance of meals and associated glut intrinsic to other holidays: a Thanksgiving jog.

In visiting another blog the other day, I thought about the prescriptions of familiar holidays. I have no idea how to celebrate Semicolon day, other than to use them more frequently, and perhaps with vigor. I know how to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the other hand; that knowledge coupled with the evident discontinuity in application to my actual life makes it less appealing. There is an excellent offering on the blog I HATE THE EARTH to make January 21, "Kierkegaard's Day," in honor of single people everywhere. Can you imagine—JUST IMAGINE!—the challenge for the people at Hallmark in bringing a palatable selection of cards to fruition for that day? God knows what sorts of stimuli would be in hot demand in Kansas City during the crunch time.

In thinking of my own arbitrary holiday, I reflected back to a comment a really cool, old woman made to me once during the purchase of a belt buckle. We were talking about the hidden marking and signatures of Indian silversmiths. I had commented on a reverse inlay pattern that was only visible on the back of a particular piece. She offered that it was something special just for the wearer, like sexy underwear. It struck me recently that an exciting arbitroliday might be, "Daring Underwear Day." It may or may not preclude foods in excess.

After a pro bono consultation with Google, I learned that a largely similar arbitroliday exists: National Underwear Day on August fifth, founded by This is the US version; another iteration exists in Brazil, founded by Finissimo and celebrated February 17th. Though less refined than my original vision, the current manifestation is a bit more obvious in its implementation. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of photographs… everywhere… to help neophytes and revelers absorb the nuances. Maybe the thing to do in rising to the challenges of vagaries in a proliferation of minor holidays is to do just as the Christians and the Pagans have done for thousands of years before: combine elements of what you know and charge ahead. Therefore, this year, I will celebrate Middle Name Pride Day, by wearing a special pair of underwear while avoiding coffee and Coke, despite the day falling on a Friday during of the first full week of March, which according to Lenten tradition…

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