By Andy Young
Were Doris Day still alive, the famed actress/animal rights activist would have turned 100 years old early next month.
But even taking her demise three years ago into account, contemporary America has far too many Days. More specifically, there are an excessive number of “National ____________ (Fill in the blank) Days.”
There’s no need for National Laundry Day (April 15th), National Asparagus Day (May 24th), National Fresh Breath Day (August 6th), or National Butterscotch Pudding Day (September 19th). What doesn’t have its own day? National Poison Ivy Day, National Cannibalism Day, and National Deal Drugs to Elementary Schoolers Day shouldn’t exist, but it wouldn’t be altogether surprising if they did.
So why, with all these obscure, superfluous celebrations, isn’t there a day that the average Joe can enjoy?
In fact, there is.
This Sunday, March 27, is National Joe Day. I’m not making this up. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-joe-day-march-27/
Why National Joe Day?
The Bible states that the original Joseph (he of the Technicolor Dreamcoat) was sold into slavery by his 11 jealous male siblings, but later escaped and ended up as second in command in Egypt. That alone is enough reason for National Joe Day, but the second of Jacob’s 12 sons is hardly the only individual named Joe to distinguish himself.
Joseph Smith founded the Mormon Church. Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim, is acknowledged to be one of the greatest-ever novelists to write in the English language despite not speaking it fluently until he was in his 20’s. More recently, another Joe (Biden) was elevated to the nominal leadership of the free world.
Joes have stood out in the athletic arena since the dawn of organized sports. Joe Louis and Joe Frazier each held the world heavyweight boxing championship back when America cared about such things, and the same title was held in the funny papers for many years by Joe Palooka. And speaking of fictional Joes, let’s not omit Snoopy’s sunglasses-wearing alter ego. Joe Cool made James Dean, the Fonz, and even G. I. Joe all look like awkward nerds by comparison.
Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio is one of a dozen Joes enshrined in the national pastime’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The others: Joe Torre, Joe Tinker, Joe Cronin, Joe Medwick, Smokey Joe Williams, Joe Kelley, Joe Morgan, Joe McGinnity, Joe McCarthy, Joe Sewell, and Joe Gordon.
Joe Namath quarterbacked a team to a Super Bowl victory. Joe Montana later accomplished the same feat four times. Joe Gibbs, Joe Schmidt, Joe Carr, Joe DeLamielleure, Indian Joe Guyon, Joe the Jet Perry, and Mean Joe Greene are the seven other Joes in Professional Football’s Hall of Fame.
Joe Lapchick, Joe Fulks, Joe Dumars, and Joe Brennan are Basketball Hall of Famers, and Joe Mullen, Joe Nieuwendyk, Joe Primeau, Joe Sakic, and Bad Joe Hall all have plaques at professional hockey’s shrine in Toronto.
Not every Joe is worthy of celebrating. No one should honor Joe Stalin, Joe Goebbels, or Joe McCarthy, the 1950’s-era U.S. Senator censured by his colleagues for actions which, if he performed them today, would likely net him a seven-figure annual salary as a bomb-throwing talking head for any one of several cable television news channels.
An appropriate celebration of National Joe Day includes having a Sloppy Joe (perhaps purchased at Trader Joe’s) and washing it down with a good strong Cup of Joe.
But don’t forget the annual holiday six Sundays from this one, when the world rightfully salutes the most important Joe of all.
Joe Mama. <