World Wildlife Day, I get. World Cancer Day, I get. World Oceans Day, I get. But now, there's a huge number of National and International Days and I can’t imagine how most of them came to be recognised. The US has a ton of them, such as National Drinking Straw Day, which, unless you’re promoting paper straws over plastic, sounds like a total non-event. Guess I'll just have to suck it up (badum, tish).
There’s also National Static Electricity Day, although no one knows which bright spark came up with that one. OK, OK, enough with the bad gags. Although I did have a grin at National Blame Someone Else Day (which for a lot of folk, is pretty much every day). And there’s a part of me that - shiver me timbers – does rather approve of Talk Like A Pirate Day.
The UK is not immune, for we lay claim to National Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day. At first, I envisioned power operatives dancing round the lofty structures, weaving patterns with ribbons. But the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society has put me straight, revealing it’s when you might like to photograph a telegraph pole or write a poem about one. I would suggest if you want to do it properly, just listen to Glen Campbell’s The Wichita Lineman. A more evocative story in a single song, you’re hard pressed to find.
‘Take Your Common Sense To Work Day’
But rather than get irritated about these strange national days, I would like to offer my own ideas. Ahem. Firstly, Take Your Common Sense To Work Day. Now this is a risky one that could get you into trouble. Because as far as I can fathom, the last thing most companies seem to want you to do is show common sense.
No, what they favour is convolution, obfuscation and jargonised lexicons. They want to hire disruptors, change-makers and consultants who have significantly less idea what’s needed than the long-serving, long-suffering staff. They want systems that take you to more dead ends than Hampton Court maze. In short, they want longer meetings.
If you were to bring your common sense to work (rather than your dog/child/parent) it would mean airing suggestions such as investing in staff who have do-ey type jobs, rather than shelling out vast sums on those who have more pointy-at-blue-skyey jobs. But I say let’s drag our poor old battered, bruised, disregarded common sense in for eight hours of centre stage action, which would probably sort out most problems pronto. Alas, I can’t see this ever catching on.
We’re in danger of becoming unquestioning automatons
Next, I Am Not A Robot Day. Because unless we make this point and mean it, we'll turn into unquestioning automatons. Recently, I was at a restaurant of a certain cheap and cheerful chain with a big group of friends when it transpired we had to order our meals on our phones. So instead of engaging in conversation, we were heads down, plonking potato wedges in our baskets. We then realised we had to pay with Apple Pay or download some app or scan the QR code for the Bank of England.
I refused. I went to the woman on the till, where I found her not using her till but helping a number of customers work out how to pay on their phones. Thing was, she took my order in ten seconds flat and it came out before most of the others. One girl’s didn’t appear at all because she’d forgotten to check out, so her peri-peri chicken was still marinating in her shopping cart. I mean.
And while we’re on the high street, I’d like to put forward, No Mince Pies Unless It’s December Month, closely followed by No Hot Cross Buns Unless It’s Easter Week. I think these two are fairly self-explanatory.
My penultimate suggestion is Listen To Steely Dan Day. Now I must apologise here because last week I mentioned Joan Armatrading and this week, yet more music refs (I will stop). But Katie Lied was one of those albums that helped me open my ears to the poetry of life within lyrics. I also had to look up what a ‘piastre’ was that Donald Fagen had borrowed and promptly spent. Perhaps we could listen to the track Black Friday actually on Black Friday, even though the term is now retail-related, as opposed to having a market-crashing meaning. But as one YouTube commenter said, ‘Every crazy day deserves a good song’.
And finally, Global Ask An Elderly Person About Their Life Day. Because if we let their recollections and lessons and sufferings and laughter and insights die without listening because we’re too busy jabbing our phones ordering a smoky boneless chicken thigh, then it will be a sadder world. In fact, perhaps we should pool our ideas, go the whole hog and create a National Let’s Think Of A Useful National Day Day. Ooh arr, me hearties.