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THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES
Time was when America had just so many special days. You had your presidents' birthdays, your Labor and Memorial and Veterans' Days, your Fourth of July and, of course, Christmas and New Year's. Mothers and fathers each had their day and then every day, as every child was told, was Children's Day. The rest of our days came and went with no more labeling than Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. You knew what day it was and what to do about it -- nothing special. And then...
Today, May 21, is Sunday. A spring day across America. Nothing wild or wonderful, not much to celebrate. But these days, every day in America is special, and that's an especially curious thing about this country. Because May 21 is not just another Sunday. May 21 is National Take your Parents to the Playground Day. From Walla Walla, Washington to Kennebunkport, Maine, watch for playgrounds to be packed with parents at play. But the celebration won't stop at your nearest swing set.
May 21 is also National American Red Cross Founder's Day. Give blood. It's National Memo Day so be sure to write a few. It's National Waitstaff Day, so tip big. And like almost every day on our cluttered calendar, May 21 celebrates a food, in this case, strawberries and cream.
How did we get here, one nation, under God, with more than 1,200 national days. Name the food, the drink, the cause, the disease or discomfort, and you can bet that it has its own national day. The list goes on. National Bubba Day (June 2). National Insurance Awareness Day (June 28). National Tap Dance Day (May 25, get those toes tapping). National Argyle Day (January 8). National Absinthe Day (March 5). . .
It must have started with the birth of P.R. (National Public Relations Day is April 21 -- did you buy your local flack a gift?). Somewhere sometime some P.R. man got the brilliant idea of promoting a product with an official National Day! The first might have been National Head Cheese Day or National Glazed Donut Day or National Half and Half Day. The word went out. Dutiful Americans flocked to stores to buy head cheese or glazed donuts or half and half, and the rush was on. Now you can eat your way around the calendar.
National Caesar Salad Day is July 4. National Catfish Day is June 25. National Lasagna Day is July 29 although at my house every day is Lasagna Day. Name the food and it has a day. But don't try eating the food of the day, day after day. In February alone, you'd have to gobble up sticky buns on February 21 -- National Sticky Bun Day -- sweet potatoes and margaritas on February 22, banana bread, dog biscuits, toast, and chili on February 23, and although you might expect February 24 would bring National Nausea Awareness Day, it only brings tortilla chips. Then come chocolate covered nuts and clam chowder, pistachios, and wrapping up National Trendy Eating Week, Kahlua and strawberries. Try this diet, even to break February monotony, and National Up Chuck Day should be on or about March 1.
Reading the National Day Calendar, it's clear that the celebrations have gotten out of hand. Don't get me wrong. I love a good odometer as much as the next guy, but what am I supposed to do on National Odometer Day (May 12)? Should I buy a new odometer? Read my car's odometer over and over? Give an odometer as a gift? And what about National I Love My Feet Day (August 17). I love my feet every day -- we have this kind of... thing. So what more can I do? And then there's National Dewey Decimal System Day (December 10). Right.
Once you know what day it is these days, paying tribute gets exhausting. You no sooner appreciate weeds (National Weed Appreciation Day is March 28) than you have to get up the next morning and appreciate manatees. The following day you have to celebrate pencils, and the day after that crayons, bunsen burners, taters, and clams on the half shell.
What was once charming and even fun, sort of, has become a national mania. (There is no National Mania Day -- yet). I say it's time to set aside at least one day where nothing is celebrated, nothing special eaten, no disease or discomfort appreciated, no manatees or margaritas given more than their due.
Maybe that ordinary day should be the real Children's Day. Because as we all know, we have a Mother's Day and a Father's Day and now even a National Aunt and Uncle Day (July 25). But sorry, kids, there is no Children's -- wait. Let me check my National Day Calendar. Here it is. National Children's Day. The second Sunday each June. This year, June 11. But June 11 is also National German Chocolate Cake Day, National Corn on the Cob Day, National Making Life Beautiful Day. . .
I may not be a kid anymore, but I think life was more beautiful when every day wasn't special, and when every day really was Children's Day. No ifs, ands, or bubbas about it.