via Moak: Oct. is the month for everything, clarionledger.com, 10/26/2015
Did you know Oct. 19 was National Seafood Bisque Day? That’s right; on this solemn occasion, we paid well-deserved homage to this amazing soup, and its contributions to Western Civilization. Seafood bisque fanciers were encouraged to go out, order a bowl of seafood bisque, and think of the shrimp, crabs, lobsters and other assorted crustaceans who gave their all so we could savor the creamy goodness of a well-prepared bisque.
Now, before all you seafood chefs, restaurateurs and soup aficionados send me nasty emails (worse yet, recipes…), please let me get to my point: For just about every cause known to man, there is a month, or week, or day to celebrate it. And there is no month that is more chock-full of observances than October. The site nationaldaycalendar.com lists no fewer than 111 known designations for the month of October. And that’s just the month; there an additional 60 designations for various weeks during October, and each day of the month has at least one — some have as many as 10 — designated events.
Of course, we all know the biggest of the October observances is Breast Cancer Awareness month. (For anybody who’s been living under a rock the past few weeks, that explains why everything from the White House to the shoes of NFL linemen is suddenly Pepto-pink.) But of course, Breast Cancer Awareness— as serious a topic as it is — doesn’t hold exclusive reign on the month of October. Many (AIDS, Down Syndrome, Domestic Violence, to name a few) are serious; others are a little tongue-in-cheek. There is Feral Hog Month, International Starman month (yes, apparently in honor of the 1984 movie and subsequent TV series); National Cookie Month (love that one); and — strangely enough — both Positive Attitude Month and National Sarcastic Awareness Month.
October’s commemorative days and weeks are many, although some are a little difficult to verify. There is “Chucky the Notorious Killer Doll Day” on Oct. 25; National Fluffernutter Day (Oct. 8; named in honor of a marshmallow dessert); National Brandied Fruit Day (Oct. 20); and — not to be outdone by the hogs — National Feral Cat Day on Oct. 16.
So, since apparently anyone can create a day, week or month to observe anything (and since there is not currently a National Mississippi-is-Awesome Day), let’s spend a few minutes coming up with some just for us denizens of the state we lovingly call home. Here are a few ideas:
- Confuse a condescending Yankee Month: This observance would codify a long and proud tradition of Mississippians who travel anywhere outside the South. You are sitting at a restaurant or hotel lobby with a group of people from around the nation, and when they hear your Southern accent or find out you’re from Mississippi, they either ask you to talk for them, or give that quick “I am going to look to see if you’re wearing shoes” look. (You know that look; they can’t help themselves.) This month would allow Mississippians to suspend our normal, kindly “Bless your heart” forbearance our mamas taught us and encourage us to comically exaggerate our Southern accent, or to look at them blankly and say in our deepest, most nasal twang, “Dang it; I wish somebody had told me about this ‘shoe’ thing before now!” Then, sit back and observe the ensuing chaos with a bemused expression.
- Turn Signal Awareness Week: Either Mississippi’s educational system has utterly failed to educate drivers about how to use that little lever on the left side of the steering column, or the devices disappear from the observable universe once the driver closes the door. Whatever the cause of what I’ll call “turn-signal blindness,” it’s obviously reached epidemic proportions and needs immediate remedy and awareness. (A sister malady called “turn signal deafness” is manifest when you’re going down I-55 in the left lane and the left-turn signal is flashing determinedly, signifying your intention to go around the world to the left.) It could be that both of these illnesses are incurable, but we at least have to try.
- Make-Your-Own-Music-Trail Week: It should be obvious by now that every highway, street and honky-tonk in Mississippi merits inclusion on some “trail” or other. We have the Blues Trail, the Country Music Trail, etc., and I have it on good authority that more are planned. Since German tourists are just itching to see where Robert Johnson once trimmed his fingernails as he sat on his guitar case, gazing at the desolate Delta landscape, or where Tammy Wynette got her wisdom teeth out while she fumed at George, let’s keep it rolling. During this special week, Mississippians would be urged to look around and mark the places of special musical significance. For example, the church where their granddaddy learned to sing from a shape-note hymnal, the local honky-tonk that mysteriously burned one Saturday night, or the place where Elvis had a flat tire. Once you’ve identified at least two sites, you can create signs for the Bogue Chitto Country/Gospel/Blues/Hip-hop Trail (for example), then sit back and watch the Dutch tourists roll in.
- Hug-a-Traffic-Barrel Day: Those ubiquitous orange-and-white barrels have become such a part of the landscape here in Mississippi that they have taken on something of a personality. Our love-hate relationship with these harbingers of danger has become the stuff of legend, but it’s obvious these little reflective guys don’t get enough love. So many are scraped, dented and battered, having to sit all day in the hot Mississippi sun. On this special day, drivers would be urged to find a traffic barrel (away from a construction site, of course; don’t be stupid) and give it a big bear hug to show that we really appreciate them in all their gaudy, plastic glory, and if we happen to catch one with our bumper, we’re sorry.
- Let-the-Landmass-Go Week: Back in 2012, as The Weather Channel was discussing the impending arrival of Hurricane Isaac, many people said they heard Mississippi referred to as the “landmass” between New Orleans and Mobile. Many of us subsequently became offended at this obvious dis from the folks who should know better; after all, they can tell us (with pinpoint accuracy) that the tornado is going to hit the west side of Main Street, not the east. The event exploded on local social media outlets, even spawning a Facebook page and goading Mississippi native Shepard Smith of Fox News into chastising The Weather Channel on the air. Since then, some have argued they saw and heard the event; other say it never happened. Regardless, maybe it’s time to let bygones be bygones. This week would allow Mississippians to finally forgive the Weather Channel (remembering the brave-yet-foolhardy Jim Cantore standing in storm surge during Katrina). As Mark Twain observed, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Could it be time to let it go?
These are just a few suggestions; I’d bet you have more. And, for the record, I love a good seafood bisque.