Poor Jameel must have been dredging the very bottom of the barrel when he asked me to fill in at the Muqata during his extended absence on a secret mission involving the CIA, waffles and a family simchah. I cannot imagine what else he could have been thinking when he passed me the keys to his blog. But, I’m glad he asked me to post on this day, of all days.
Today (June 26*), believe it or not, is National Columnist’s Day.**
הרי אני כבן שבעים שנה (I’m pretty old by now), and I didn’t really understand National Columnist’s Day (NCD) until Jameel began this run of substitute columnists.***
First, I never understood NCD because all good chagim revolve around food, and I don’t see any options for NCD. Unlike Strawberry Parfait Day (June 25) and Frozen Yogurt Day (June 27), NCD offers nothing more tasty than newsprint, and in this virtual age not even that. Strawberry pixels don’t taste any better than regular pixels, and don’t even get me started on the frozen pixels that I all-too-often get from this Windows box.
Second, I never understood NCD because there’s no reason to honor your favorite columnist. I mean, Beautician’s Day is also marked today, and I can see where that might come in handy; no one wants the beautician to feel snubbed, right? So make him/her feel special today… or next time you go to get aesthetized, you might do well to pick a new beautician. But if you don’t give your favorite columnist flowers (or waffles), do you really think he’ll stop writing? (“What do you get for not playing?” Groucho Marx asked the orchestra in Animal Crackers, only to find out it was 20% more than their regular fee.)
And third, I never understood NCD because no particular berachah, tefilah or mitzvah is associateed with it. Look at June 30, Sky Day (which I must admit puts me in a Chicken Little frame of mind). I can see what one does to honor the sky: Recite an עושה מעשה בראשית (blessing recited upon seeing rare natural wonders) if you haven’t seen the sky in 30 days. Or get a string dyed with techeles and study its color, the better to remind you of the sea, the sky and the Divine Throne. But what ceremony is there for National Columnist’s Day?
But now, reading Jameel’s excellent substitutes, I get it, I finally get it. Reading through these guest posts, I understand that NCD is not about having a favorite columnist, or honoring a columnist, or even eating a tasty column. Rather, NCD is for thinking about all of the diverse columnists we enjoy and the perspectives they give us, and the way that those perspectives help us grow.
So long live National Columnist’s Day! And please pass the waffles.
(And for more of June's special days, head on over to my column here.)
* Actually, there is a lot of debate about the date, and origin, of this celebration. See here for more information.
** Of course, this is only true in America, and I'm currently posting from Eretz Yisrael (or facing Eretz Yisrael). And as I write this, it’s currently June 27 in Israel. But indulge me, please.
*** Feel free to substitute Blogger for Columnist throughout this article.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael