By Jim Hornsby

Calendars are curious things. Even as space-age technology accelerates its relentless drive to push publications into new electronic formats, calendars — stubbornly anchored in the past — return year after year in essentially the same form they have enjoyed since the days of ancient Rome. One might expect that fold-out calendars would be hopelessly obsolete by now, but every January new ones doggedly appear on desktops and kitchen walls everywhere. Their survival probably has more to do with their decorative value than their content, which is readily available on the internet, but they are also handy devices, and as long as we continue to use pens and pencils, calendars will likely retain their traditional niche as notepads for reminders about PTA meetings and theater tickets.

Then too, calendars have considerable entertainment value, and that’s what I would like to talk about. Tucked away among the many traditional holidays we observe each year are some remarkably peculiar ones that seem to say a lot about our national sense of humor. We celebrate Kazoo Day, Button day, National Accordion Awareness Day, TV-Talk-Show-Host Day, Clown Week, Donald Duck Day, and National Pizza-with-the-Works-Except-Anchovies Day.

How did these days become special? Well, the process is vague, but apparently any special interest group can proclaim any day in honor of any person, event or concept, so long as the day selected isn’t already taken by another special interest. The results of this haphazard approach aren’t necessarily fair (Amerigo Vespucci, who lent his name to all of the Americas, doesn’t have a day, but both Christopher Columbus and Lief Ericksson, contenders for having “discovered” America, do, as does Thomas Crapper, the man who invented the flush toilet), but fair or not, the rush is on to fill the calendar with days honoring the things we hold most dear, and predictably, junk food is high on the list.

If you missed celebrating National Junk Food Month in February, don’t worry because most every junk food you can name — gumdrops, candy corn, jelly beans, cotton candy, potato chips and cream-filled donuts, to name a few — has its own special day, and June is Candy Month. Hamburgers have both a month (May) and a special day (December 21st), but if you want fries with your holiday, you will have to wait until July 13th which is National French Fries Day.

As befitting a nation on the go, many of our special days inspire us to take action. Among these are Build a Scarecrow Day, Flip a Coin Day, Step-in-a-Puddle-and-Splash-Your-Friend Day, Crush a Can Day, Change Your Name Day, Measure Your Feet Day, Create a Vacuum Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sneak-Some-Zucchini-on-Your-Neighbor’s-Porch Night, and Hootie Hoo Day, when we are encouraged to wave our hands over our heads and yell “Hootie Hoo” in an attempt to chase away winter and bring an early spring. But if you prefer to just relax and take it easy, there is ample opportunity with days like National Goof-Off Day, Look up in the Sky Day, No-News-is-Good-News Day, Cuddle Up day, and Nothing Day.

There seems to be no end to the daily festivities, except, of course, the limited number of days in the year, and since we will probably run out of days before we run out of special interests, anyone who wants to dedicate a day should probably make it known before they are all gone. With that in mind, if today isn’t already taken, I hereby proclaim it National Read-Your-Calendar-and-Have-a-Good-Laugh Day.

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