Saturday, August 11, 2012

Still Life With Robin: The Funs of August

by Peggy Robin

Two and a half months ago, when I wrote in this column about the pathetic deficiency of holidays in June, I said I would revisit the subject in August, which I called similarly deprived of celebratory dates. I have now had ample opportunity to survey all the notable events of this month (and we’re already more than a third of the way into it), and the situation is even more dismal than I had first supposed.  While June at least has Flag Day (June 14) and Bloomsday, June 16, and Midsummer Night (falling on or about June 21st), August lacks anything approaching the level of interest of any of these fest-worthy occurrences.

So what do we have in store for us this torrid summer month? inventive holiday-loving couple in Lebanon Pennsylvania, Thomas and Ruth Roy, have created and promoted August 8th as “Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night.” But darn it, that was last Wednesday, so too late to do anything about it. And as a non-zucchini-grower, all I could do, in any case, would be to hope that someone else would observe the holiday to my benefit.  Unlikely, I suspect. But if any of you want to mark this one on your calendars, either to deliver the goods or wait to receive them in 2013, you can find out all about it at

Or you may prefer to wait until Monday, August 13, which is Left Hander’s Day. That’s exciting, I suppose, for the ten percent of the population born with this particular trait, but the rest of us remain unimpressed, I would imagine, with this special day. However, if you think that someone you love would appreciate some recognition on this account, by all means take the time to send an e-card:

Coming up next week, August 19, we have National Aviation Day, noted on the federal calendar since 1939, when it was first proclaimed by President Franklin Roosevelt. But it’s really a misplaced holiday, I think: It's Orville Wright’s birthday, but what about Wilbur? And what about December 17th, also known as “First Flight Day,” the day the brothers actually got their flying machine to go up in the air? This is a holiday in serious need of re-calendarization.

Let's move on then, to Winnie-the-Pooh’s birthday, on August 21. I'm not sure this holidays has appeal to anyone over the age of six. Wait, I take it back, it appears there are adults who actually argue about the correct date of this fictional bear’s birthday, and if you happen to be one of them, you can read about that controversy here:

We can close out this 31-day period with a pair of possibilities:

1) August 30, Frankenstein’s Birthday. Well, the novel doesn't actually provide any dates, either for the fictional scientist or the monster he brought to life, and so so holiday-makers have fixed on the birthday of the author, Mary Shelley, who was just 19 when the book was first published. You can do the Monster Mash in celebration, if you like.

Or you can wait for the next day:

2) August 31, Lewis & Clark Day, marking the official start of the explorers’ historic journey of discovery, which you can celebrate by taking a hike.

If I don’t sound sufficiently thrilled by any of these events, wait, I just realized that this August has had festive occasions enough to last us for at least four years. We’ve had the Olympics, and we couldn’t have asked for a better run. Our gold medal winning women’s soccer team has given us plenty of cause to stand up and cheer. Or if you prefer to celebrate the fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt, you have both August 5 and August 9 to choose from (the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes, respectively). And if you can’t or won’t choose between those two historic races, then go for Bolt’s birthday, August 21, and get it all over with in a single day. (Soon to be a national holiday in Jamaica, I’m sure. )

Now for those who are Olympics-ed out, and think we’ve already made a bigger deal of a bunch of games and contests than any of them deserved -- I almost forgot, every August brings us Shark Week! Starting tomorrow, Sunday, August 12, all week long, you can honor the top predator of the water-covered seventy percent of the planet.This is the 25th anniversary of Shark Week, and if that doesn't get your adrenaline pumping, I'm not sure what will.


Still Life With Robin is published on All Life Is Local and the Cleveland Park Listserv, on Saturdays.

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