Celebrate 365 days of the year

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Every day of November in the U.S. is a day to memorialize: there is the most revered, Veteran’s Day, on Nov. 11, as well as Thanksgiving, of course, this year on the 26th. But celebrating other days of the month might amuse you or appeal to you. Clean Your Refrigerator Day is on the 15th; did you take care of this on Sunday? A rumor persists that it was Westinghouse, an appliance company, that initiated this health-conscious day, but I could not verify it. The Internet page describing this occasion and the disgusting things in one’s fridge that might have grown into poison does contain an ad for Maytag, however.

On the 19th, you can celebrate Have a Bad Day Day. The intent here is to discourage sales people from telling you to “Have a nice day!” This trite farewell seems a poor reason to celebrate national rudeness, but there you have it.

Can you guess what Our Uncles Are Monkeys Day celebrates on Nov. 24? They say it is to honor Charles Darwin. The misbelief in our evolution from monkey to human being, obviously still evolving, should be celebrated with hilarity; as well as relief that one of us evolved enough to invent flush toilets.

On Nov. 27 is Pins and Needles Day. This has a mixed explanation, some believing it started so we could have a specific day of nervous worry, as in “being on pins and needles”; others believing it came about from an advertisement for a 1937 Broadway musical by that name celebrating the seamstresses in New York’s garment district. I worry already. Why celebrate it? Or an obscure Broadway hit?

The origin of Take a Hike Day, Nov. 17, has not been unearthed. A group called the “National Whatever Day,” which does research on such topics, brilliantly concludes it was created by a hiking organization. It appears to me that it could also be the day to tell someone on your list to “take a hike.”

Make Your Own Head Day sounds a bit awkward, but it turns out it is a crafty, perhaps even arty, day. Celebrated not just in the U.S but in India, the UK and Australia, suggesting an English language theme, it is a project day, so think ahead to make your head. Use clay or papier-mache’ or tin or cardboard. You have time to gather your materials for the working Saturday, Nov. 28, celebration.

Go For a Ride Day is Nov. 22. This is a day to do just that — go for a ride. Horseback, camelback, bicycle, motorbike, plane, train, automobile. If you just don’t feel like it, rent a movie, a Go For a Ride movie, often called on-the-road cinema. The original on-the-road stars were Bob Hope and Bing Crosby clowning around on the Roads to Zanzibar, Hong Kong, Morocco, etc. A few of my favorite trip movies are “Easy Rider,” “Five Easy Pieces,” ” It Happened One Night,” ” Thelma and Louise,” ” Little Miss Sunshine,” “Nebraska” and “Grapes of Wrath.” What are yours?

One of the nagging questions regarding every day of the year having an obscure celebration or two is Who came up with them? A popular food Twitterer, John-Bryan Hopkins, makes up food celebration days for the fun of it. People who read him honor Oreos, Tater Tots, Fruit Loops and onion rings. If he tires of one food day, he simply renames it; Cupcake Day, for example. These actually wind up on regular calendars here and there.

An online website, NationalDayCalendar.com, lets you create your own holiday and be awarded a certificate for it. Cost is $19.99. Other sites can cost $800, or nothing.

It is almost charming, this celebratory spirit in us, in an often self-promoting and sometimes funny way. Surely now and then a Day has altered people’s lives. On Nov. 30, if you celebrate Stay at Home Because You Are Well Day, read the small-print: “We recommend you use extreme caution and good judgment. Following the concept of this day could get you a reprimand or cost you your job. Participating in this day might not be the right thing for you to do.”

The moral is that calendars might be dangerous. Read and choose your days to celebrate with a grain of salt, if not skepticism. If you take them seriously, approach Day celebrations with a club or a long hatpin, or at least caution. I hope you did that on Nov. 16 — Have a Party with a Bear Day — and did not invite a live one.

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