Dearest Matthew Alice: Driving past the main post office on Midway one day, the sign out in front said something about it being National Letter Writing Week. How would one go about designating such a week? Could I just as easily make National PMS Week? — Kelly Gleeson-Duff, San Diego
I can’t imagine why you’d want to, but I guess that’s not my job, is it. Before you proceed with those plans, consider the celebratory possibilities in, say. National Matthew Alice Appreciation Week. Now there’s a festival that’s long overdue, sure to set off partying on a grand scale. Mardi Gras for the uninformed.
Here’s how to get this particular ball rolling. Write to your U.S. congressman offering your arguments for why, say, the third week in August should be Matthew Alice Veneration Week. He or she, of course, will think it’s a nifty idea, draft a formal resolution proposing Matthew Alice Adoration Week, and get 220 fellow members of the House of Representatives to sign it. (Piece of cake.) Your representative then presents the resolution for Elevate Matthew Alice to Sainthood Week to the House for a voice vote (undoubtedly unchallenged), then it goes to the Senate for the same (ditto), and the third week in August becomes National Send a Large Check or Money Order to Matthew Alice This Week Week.
Most of these days/weeks/months are solicited by organizations hoping to raise public awareness of some issue or cause, and by extension, they become public relations and marketing tools. And please, if you need any help with the letter to your representative, don’t hesitate to call. After all, that’s what I’m here for.
March 17 update
A follow-up to the question two weeks ago about how to designate a special day, week, or month — say. National Letter-Writing Month or National PMS Week or Matthew Alice Appreciation Day. I offered the official Congressional procedure, requiring a vote of the House and Senate. But comes a letter from Gary Seger of the Spotmaker agency suggesting another, less dignified route to fame and media hype.
Chase’s Annual Events, published each year since about 1957, lists special days, weeks, and months. It’s used by media and ad agencies to establish or look up special otcasions for sales, festivals, etc.... It includes a form for anyone who wants to designate any special day, week, month or year, no charge. Years ago, to promote a DJ school I operated, I designated National Disc Jockey Week in this way. The editors may or may not include [your request! as an entry, but if DJ Week made it, how could Matthew Alice Adoration Week possibly fail?
The ’94 edition of Chase’s seems to be lighter on promotional days, weeks, and months than it used to be, but it still gets my vote as the best book to curl up with by a cozy fire (reference division). It edges out the International Guide to Beauty Pageants in scope if not necessarily in weirdness. The chummy Chase’s offers everything a human being could want to know about what has happened, is happening, or will happen on any given day of the year: state, national, and international days of observance (Lesotho Independence Day); celebrity birthdays, everybody from Voltaire to Dolly Parton; festivals, fairs, and expos (Maryland’s Great Cardboard Boat Regatta, the Bering Sea Ice Golf Classic); notable dates in history (50th anniversary of the disappearance of Glenn Miller); religious observances for Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Baha’i, and Moslem faiths (Dumb Week, observed in Greece before Holy Week, when no religious services are held); presidential proclamations (National School Lunch Week); dates to look out for in the future (January 1, 2050, when world population hits 10 billion); and, of course, the special days that prompted this question in the first place (National “Have a Bad Day” Day, November 19, sponsored by two sorehead New Yorkers as an antidote to “Have a nice day!”). At the back of the book are reams of map facts, astronomical data, time zone info, and an ongoing tabulation of space trash, both payloads and debris, identified by source. (The former USSR is the biggest orbital litterbug with 14,713 pieces; we’re in a tidier second place with 6738.)
You can snag a copy in the downtown library (on the reserve shelf in the Children’s Room — no kidding) or shell out $42.95 plus California state tax plus $3.75 shipping for a copy from the publisher, Contemporary Books, Two Prudential Plaza, Suite 1200, Chicago, IL 60601. Oh, yeah, and happy Evacuation Day, a public holiday in the Boston area commemorating the departure of British troops on March 17, 1776.