SILLYBRATIONS, an essay by John Olson

Who would’ve guessed? Today (March 14th) is Fill Our Stapler Day. But I don’t have a stapler. I’m very sad. However, I am looking forward to As Young as You Feel Day, which happens on March 22nd.

How young do I feel? I feel like I’m eighteen, but with a full blown case of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and too many wrinkles. You might think I’m sharing too much information, but today (March 16th) is also Freedom of Information Day. I have a lot more information to share, but for now I want to express how much I’m looking forward to next year’s Extraterrestrial Culture Day (February 9th), Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk Day (February 11th), and Absinthe Day (March 8th).  Those days managed to slip by without participating in an extraterrestrial event, drinking absinthe, or crying over spilled milk. To be honest, I didn’t spill any milk. I don’t like milk, nor do I drink absinthe, but I will keep that to myself on February 11th, and show humble respect to those who try not to weep over spilled milk, or cast a sympathetic eye on the drunken stupor of the absinthe drinkers on March 8th, while I, substituting one beverage for another, absent-mindedly sip a cream soda.

Ice Cream Soda Day will have my full attention on June 20th.

Soon also to be celebrated are Awkward Moments Day (March 18th), School Nurse Day (May 7th), Change A Light Day (October 2nd), Face Your Fears Day (October 11th), and — a personal favorite — Zero Tasking Day (November 6th).

The list is endless. There’s probably even an Endless List Day.

Let us enlist in a celebration of Endless List Day.

Is there a Celebration Day Celebration? A Celebration of Celebrations?

Over the years I’ve celebrated weddings, retirements, elections, and time itself (New Year’s).

My favorite celebration is Gazing Out of the Window Day. I just invented it. I’m doing it. I’m gazing out of the window. It’s a celebration. I can feel it. I can feel a fleeting euphoria pass through me and come out the other side as a feeling of gratified participation in the pageantry of life. Patches of sunlight, somebody’s head, a big gray cat. Gazing out of the window is special. It should be honored with idleness, rumination, and rhesus monkeys.

Now that I’ve resumed gazing at the computer screen I must repurpose my activity. I will call this Gazing at the Computer Screen Day.

Why “day”? Why is there never a celebration at night? There are, of course, celebrations that occur at night. But no one says “today is Plum Pudding Night.” Or, “Tonight is National Popcorn Night.”

Is there a celebration for night? For sleep? For late night movies? For popcorn?

National Popcorn Day occurs January 19th. I’m making my costume now. Popcorn shirt, popcorn pants, popcorn shoes. There will be a re-enactment of the birth of popcorn. The Popcorn Bird will descend from the Popcorn Sky and lay hundreds of Popcorn Eggs in the Popcorn Tree. All the eggs will hatch at once: pop! pop! pop! pop! pop! and hundreds of Popcorn Birds will begin begging for popcorn.

If you happened to be reading this on January 19th, have a Happy Popcorn Day. Until then, may you celebrate whatever day it happens to be, including Bring Your Manners to Work Day (September 2nd), Iguana Awareness Day (September 8th), or Origami Day (November 11th).

Or not.

Tie one on on National Knot Day. Is there a National Knot Day? If not, I will be undone.


John Olson is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Larynx Galaxy, Backscatter: New and Selected Poems, Free Stream Velocity, Eggs & Mirrors, and Echo Regime. He has also authored three novels, including Souls of Wind, The Seeing Machine, and The Nothing That Is. His latest novel, In Advance of the Broken Justy, was just published, June, 2016, by Quale Press. Dada Budapest, a collection of prose poetry, is forthcoming from Black Widow Press. He is the recipient of The Stranger’s Genius Award for Literature in 2004, and was one of eight finalists for the Artist Trust’s Arts Innovator Award in 2012.


Published in Raven Chronicles, Vol. 22, 2016.