I rose this morning with the sunlight streaming through the windows of our east-facing bedroom. I stretched, yawned and turned on the television just in time to hear a newscaster mention that today is the second Monday of January, making it National Clean Off Your Desk Day. The anchor’s intro went something like this: “Some experts say that the average work desk can be 100 times filthier than a kitchen table, and there’s more. In another study, researchers found that some work desks were as much as 400 times less hygienic than the average toilet seat! Well, today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day — a day designed to inspire all of us to clean and sanitize our workspaces. And while you’re at it, take some time to declutter and organize those surfaces, too. Scientific research suggests that keeping clean, tidy desks helps us work more efficiently.”
I cringed at the thought of my desk being less clean than the seat of a commode. Then I rolled my eyes. Sure, I should do a deep cleaning in my office and wipe down my desk and peripherals with Lysol, Pine-Sol or some other disinfectant, but come on — who made up all of these national days? There’s a day for everything. Indeed, a quick Google search after I drank a cup of coffee this morning revealed that today, January 9, is also National Apricot Day (a day to celebrate all things apricots), National Fourth Graders Day (a day to celebrate the magic of being nine or ten), National Balloon Ascension Day (a day commemorating the first manned balloon flight to ever take place in America), and weirdly, No Pants Subway Ride Day (an annual event where — as the name suggests — people ride the subway with no pants on).
So, most of us don’t get a day off to acknowledge and celebrate these fringe, national days. These lesserknown days are named and meant to be funny and amusing side notes to life. Some of these days were created by the folks at the National Day Calendar, the foremost authority and naming body of these oddball National Days. Since 2013, with the advent of National Popcorn Day, they’ve tracked a long list of National Days on their website with little writeups telling the stories that go along with the days. They even suggest ways to celebrate certain days of the year.
“There’s a day for everyone,” their website says.
Indeed, with over 1,500 national days listed on their website, that statement is most likely a true one. January alone has 588 national “something” days! February has a whopping 751! And in addition to the national days, they’ve also listed reasons to celebrate certain weeks or months. For example, January is also known as, “Manuary,” the time of the year when men grow a beard to spread awareness regarding head and neck cancer and help in any way they can. January is also National Oatmeal Month, National Soup Month, and National Train Your Dog Month (so grab your canine companion and get on that task today).
Their website also offers their opinion on the oddest national holidays — National Poop Day (February 13), National Alien Abduction Day (March 20), National Cat Herder Day (December 15), and one of the most obscure, National Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day (December 18).
These light-hearted days, weeks, and months are designed to make us giggle and distract us from the bad stuff going on around the world, and it works. I admit that when I find out that it is National Pizza Day (February 9) or National Hot Dog Day ( July 19), I use that information as an excuse to eat pizza and hot dogs on those days. And the “national this or that day” also gives us something to talk about on social media. It’s all in fun.
As for today — I guess I’ll knock off a little early this afternoon and thoroughly clean my desk with a bleach spray designed to kill every germ known to man. After all, it is National Clean Off Your Desk Day. Ugh.