Friday, October 1, 2021

Andy Young: Time to rebrand October?

By Andy Young

Special to The Windham Eagle

Every month on the Gregorian calendar has something to recommend it. 

January brings a new year and new beginnings. February does more with 28 days than other months do with 7 to 11 percent more of them. March launches spring and can also boast of St. Paddy’s Day.

In April, George Washington bowled the first-ever 300 game in North America, Queen Victoria invented the skateboard, and Hungarian scientists ended a deadly, decade-long pandemic in 1353 by developing a mixture of boiled turnips, ground conch shells and fat-free goat’s milk that instantly killed all bubonic-plague-causing bacteria. Coincidentally, April Fools’ Day occurs at the fourth month’s outset.

May has Memorial Day weekend, June the start of summer, and July and August picnics, time at the lake, and no school.

Leaves change color in September, November has Thanksgiving, and December a whole plethora of holidays.

But what about October? It’s tough getting excited over the launching of the new fiscal year, annual labyrinthian corn mazes, or the inevitable tons of dead leaves that will soon need disposing of.

Sure, there’s Halloween, but that takes 31 long days to arrive. Also, October’s days get progressively darker, which around here accurately portends that six cold, gloomy months lie ahead. Might October need some sort of calendar-related plastic surgery (an image lift, perhaps?) to change the way it’s currently perceived?

Well-intended Octoberites tried some creative rebranding not long ago by launching Indigenous Peoples Day. But that’s had limited impact; currently only 14 American states officially celebrate it. The other 36 inexplicably continue to use the second Monday of the month to honor Ohio’s capital city.

Those concerned with sprucing up the way people view October know there’s no shortage of potential there. According to Wikipedia (a Hawaiian term literally meaning, “Fascinating information that is quite often accurate”), October has already been designated National Vegetarian Month. It’s also Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month, Filipino American History Month, and Polish American Heritage Month.

Not only that, it’s National Healthy Lung Month, National Physical Therapy Month, Liver Awareness Month, National Infertility Awareness Month, National Dental Hygiene Month, American Pharmacist Month, and National Bullying Prevention Month. Maybe October should rechristen itself as “National Good Health Month.”

October is National Pizza Month, National Seafood Month, National Pork Month, and National Popcorn Poppin’ Month. Some aspiring epicurean ought to invent an October pizza, one topped with deep-fried scallops, pork rinds, and Orville Redenbacher’s savory popcorn oil. The only problem with that: a possible clash with those advocating for the title of National Good Health Month.

Here in America, October is home to National Golf Lover’s Day (the 4th), Clergy Appreciation Day (the 10th), and National Mule Day (the 26th). And on the international front, Oct. 4 is Cinnamon Roll Day in Sweden this year. The 5th is Engineers Day in Bolivia, the 15th is Evacuation Day in Tunisia, and the 22nd is Wombat Day in Australia.

Six United States presidents (John Adams, Rutherford Hayes, Chester Arthur, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Jimmy Carter) were October babies. No other month can claim more.

In addition, Eleanor Roosevelt, Molly Pitcher, Pablo Picasso, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, Vladimir Putin, and Mickey Mantle all began life in October.

So did Don McLean, Chubby Checker, Gwen Stefani, Jackson Browne, Marie Osmond, Paul Simon, Sting, Bob Geldof, Sammy Hagar, John Mellencamp, John Lennon, Cliff Richard, Tito Jackson, Bob Weir, Tom Petty, Snoop Dogg, the Big Bopper, and Grace Slick. Perhaps the tenth month should be called Rocktober.

By any name, October deserves respect. There’s far more to this shamefully underappreciated month than pumpkins, the World Series, and trick-or-treating. <

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