Why stop at Christmas, Hanukkah or Eid ul-Fitr? There are hundreds of holidays that you've never heard of.
Make up your own and start the celebration. (Getting your boss to give you the day off is up to you, however.)
Photo Illustration by Matt Stone
Squirrel Courtesy of Thomas Goodson and Carol Zurschmeide/Whiskey Run Taxidermy, Georgetown, Ind.
Squirrel Appreciation Day, Jan. 21
Squirrel Awareness Week, Oct. 2
Photo Illustration by Matt Stone
Dieter Schmidt, Model
Check Your Batteries Day, April 3
Photo Illustration by Matt Stone
Dieter Schmidt, Model
Be Bald and Be Free Day, Oct. 14
Every day, it seems, we come up with reasons for doing (or not doing) things like taking out the trash, dumping a significant other, splurging on a pair of $170 jeans or even putting on fancy lace panties instead of the comfy cotton ones.
Little justification is required for most of this stuff. However, if ever we needed an excuse to do anything, we need look no further than the massive Chase's Calendar of Events, which each year publishes an inventory of more than 12,000 observations, events and special holidays. One spin through Chase's offers hundreds of motives to celebrate, to be lazy, to slack off at work, to spoil your pets — you name it, you can find an excuse to do it.
"That kind of stuff encourages us to keep going," said Tom Roy, a Pennsylvania man, who, with his wife, Ruth, and son, Michael, created and copyrighted more than 70 holidays. "You realize the reason (wacky holidays) get published is because they make people feel good. Recognizably, we (as people) get it. And it doesn't cost anything to celebrate."
Ever fantasized about lounging on the back of your sofa naked all day, while sending your cat to the office in your place? Pet Owners Independence Day is coming up on April 18. Are you a homosexual do-si-doer? The entire month of September is International Gay Square Dancing Month. Even folks who can't stop bitching get their day in the spotlight on Dec. 26, National Whiner's Day.
Making a holiday
While a variety of people and organizations have helped coin historical and community-awareness holidays, you can thank the Roys for some of the more amusing ones. Since the late 1980s, the Lebanon, Pa., couple have created a load of bizarre holidays, including What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day (March 3) and Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day (Aug. 8).
Weird? Yes. But some of them seem to be catching on.
"I've actually heard of that zucchini one," said Jennifer Pierce, 33, of Clifton. "I'm always reading, and it was in some book about what to do with all your extra zucchini."
Tom Roy's first holiday — Northern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day (Feb. 20) — was fashioned in the late 1980s as he perused a Chase's calendar.
"It was February, and like everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere, I was going crazy with winter," Roy explained in a phone interview. "And I was looking at this blank form (for holiday submissions) and thought, `What is it that touches everybody? I looked outside and it was gray, and I thought `That's what it is. Everyone has cabin fever.'"
So he created his Hoodie Hoo Day, which encourages people to step outside at noon and yell "Hoodie Hoo!" to chase winter away. The next year, the holiday appeared in Chase's calendar and in a front page story in USA Today.
Since that time, Roy and his clan have created many more holidays, which are all inspired by everyday things. There's no trade secret to creating a unique holiday. "Stuff just happens that inspires you," Roy said.
For instance, when the 2000 presidential election results were contested and talk of "dimpled chads" ran rampant, Roy saw yet another opportunity. Henceforth, Jan. 4 became a day to commemorate the election ballot blemishes, or Dimpled Chad Day.
Holidays and occasions printed in Chase's calendar often attract the attention of media, businesses and school teachers. So besides being featured in major publications like the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and the Miami Herald, the Roys were recently contacted by the Oregon State Lottery, which wants to use some of the Roys' copyrighted holidays in television ads.
"Not only people celebrate this stuff," said Roy, who publicizes his holidays at www.wellcat.com. "Schoolteachers do it. Now we've got the government saying, `Hey this sounds like fun.'"
Even though the Kentucky Derby Festival and the Kentucky Bourbon Festival have both made Chase's calendar, there aren't any quirky days that pertain directly to the commonwealth. You can make stretches, of course: There's Dec. 10, the Day of the Horse. And June 27, Happy Birthday to the Happy Birthday Song Day (the tune for which was first published in 1893 by Louisvillians Mildred and Patty Hill).
So maybe it's time we embrace the squirrel a little bit more, as it is honored on no less than eight days each year. With the unique albino squirrels that live around the University of Louisville and with the gray squirrel being Kentucky's official state wild animal, a little squirrel appreciation seems in order.
Squirrel Awareness Week — that's seven whole days, mind you — begins Oct. 2 and encourages people to honor one of our friendliest forms of wildlife. Meanwhile, Jan. 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day, set up to honor the creatures "for being the wonderful little animals they are." What makes the nut nibbler the object of such honors?
"I can't put my finger on one thing, but they're everywhere — in the cities, in the suburbs, in the country," said Brad Parnell, 39, of Buechel, webmaster of www.skwerlpreneurs.com and author of a weekly squirrel comic strip called "Nuthouse." (Read the strip at www.bradparnell.net) "They have their own little society going on right alongside ours."
So when those squirrel days come around, be ready. "Just take some time to sit down and watch them because they are so entertaining," Parnell said. Or perhaps Kentucky should put on some sort of squirrel photo contest. "They're so photogenic," Parnell said. "Even people who don't like squirrels snap pictures of them."
Excuses for everything
You don't have to be Jesus or Uncle Sam to have an official day of your own. Know someone who's always eating his or her meals over the kitchen sink? Well, don't give them any hell on Nov. 25, which is Sinkie Day.
"This is a particularly appropriate day to become acquainted with the sinkie style of dining," the Chase's calendar entry reads. "Christmas shopping and Thanksgiving leftovers provide the perfect reasons to enjoy a quick meal."
Scorpios are officially the most hated-on sign in the Zodiac, judging by Married to a Scorpio Support Day, another Roy creation. "Scorpios are all scholars and make me nuts with details," said Roy, a Sagittarius. "It was my little jab at Ruth and some of my co-workers, who are all wonderful people. I marvel at their diligence."
Believe it or not, special days have even been set aside for things that seem like part of your regular routine. National Scoop the Poop Week begins April 24. National Common Courtesy Day is March 16. And National Fresh Breath Day is Aug. 6.
"That should be a daily event," said Dr. Manisha Patil, a Forest Springs dentist. "Now that I know about it, free Listerine for everyone who passes through." (Hey, cheapskates — she's kidding. Buy your own. And do not wait until August.)
Meanwhile, the cat of the house will appreciate your observing National Hairball Awareness Day on April 29, which is set aside for the recognition and elimination of hairballs in felines. Bratty children even get a pardon on Spank Out Day (April 30), the one day on which parents are encouraged not to whoop their kid's ass when they get into trouble. Sorry, folks, you're just going to have to reason with them, not get out the belt.
And Bridget Jones be damned: Tons of days celebrate single life, including Satisfied Staying Single Day (Feb. 11), Compliment Your Mirror Day (July 3) and Lunch Prowl Week (starting Sept. 20), which encourages women to use their lunch hour to scope out single men. Although it can probably be interpreted in different ways, we believe Trust Your Intuition Day (May 10) belongs in this category, too.
Sure, it's the thought that counts, but if some people had their say, singles should be celebrating every day. "We get to do whatever we want, whenever we want," Pierce said. "We don't have to get things approved or worry about snoring."
That said, she thinks Lunch Prowl Week is a good idea. "That's hilarious," she said. "I would definitely get in on that."
Still don't feel like there's a holiday just for you? Well, that's okay, because nobody's stopping you from making up your own. And you've got nearly a year to think about it. March 26 is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day.
Here are some notable holidays for you to celebrate over the next year. And guess what? You can find free e-cards for many of them on www.bluemountain.com under the "Just Because" category:
April 30 — Hairstylist Appreciation Day (Thanks in advance, Trista. You're the best!)
May 8 — No Socks Day
May 13 — Blame Someone Else Day
June 12 — National Crowded Nest Awareness Day (To recognize all the parents whose adult children have moved back home.)
June 18 — National Splurge Day (Ha! An excuse to buy those spendy jeans.)
July 18 — National Get Out of the Doghouse Day
July 27 — Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day
Aug. 13 — National Underwear Day (Yes, there's a website: www.nationalunderwearday.com.)
Aug. 14 — International Nagging Day
Sept. 5 — Be Late for Something Day
Sept. 19 — Talk Like a Pirate Day (For tips, visit www.talklikeapirate.com.)
Oct. 10 — International Moment of Frustration Scream Day
Oct. 15 — Be Bald and Be Free Day (Toupees, wigs and comb-overs be damned today!)
Nov. 2 — Plan Your Epitaph Day
Nov. 19 — Have a Bad Day Day (The one day you get permission to tell someone you hope their day sucks.)
Dec. 5 — Bathtub Party Day (Yes, the idea behind this is as fun as it sounds.)
Dec. 16 — Barbie and Barney Backlash Day (If you have kids, this doesn't need explaining.)
Jan. 6 — National Smith Day (Honors people with the most popular last name in the English-speaking world.)
Jan. 30 — Inane Answering Machine Message Day (A day to get rid of long, useless or wordy answering machine messages.)
Feb. 14 — International Flirting Week and International Condom Week begin today. (Coincidence? We think not.)
Feb. 23 — Curling is Cool Day (The sport, not the hair process.)
March 1 — Plan a Solo Vacation Day
March 22 — International Goof Off Day
Create Your Own Holiday
It's easy and it's free. Go to www.chases.com and click on "Submit an Entry." Fill in the online form, which asks for the event date, the title of the day and other basic information. Birthday announcements will not be accepted, but judging from the current list of celebrations, practically anything else is fair game.
The deadline for the 2006 edition is April 15.
As it turns out, getting an official proclamation from Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson is just as easy.
According to the mayor's office, you just need to submit all your information (the date, the type of day you're requesting and a brief description) in writing via mail (Mayor's Office, Louisville Metro Hall, 527 W. Jefferson St., Louisville, KY 40202) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Get it in at least two weeks ahead of time, and you're good to go.
Of course, the mayor's office gets the final say, but employees report "Most of the time it's okayed." For more information, call 574-2003.