Friday, November 9, 2007

Claim Your Month!

It all started when I saw an advertisement for a Zales jewelry store, which said to treat your loved ones to some bling, because, "December is Gold Month". What I want to know is, which aspiring marketing person decided to designate a whole month as the time when the rest of us should run out and buy gold?

Claiming a single day? Sure, who not. There are a number of great days such as Mother's Day, April Fool's Day, and Earth Day. There are 365 days to go around—enough for all kinds of worthwhile causes.

But somewhere along the line, folks got ambitious and upped the ante to a whole week. Take for example, Professional Secretaries Week in April—or to be politically correct—Professional Executive Assistants Week. Didn't that observation start out as a single day? I suppose that the executive assistants realized their bosses were forgetful when sending gifts, so they decided to stretch the purchase window out to five days. (Had I been on that committee, I'd have changed the day to Buy Yourself a Gift and Charge it to Your Boss Day).

I understand how a one day celebration can morph into an entire week. After all, you put a lot of planning and effort into something, you want it to last a little while. But an entire month? We've only got 12 of them! The good news is that those who've decided to stake claim to an entire calendar month don't mind sharing. January is the most popular month to grab and has been named National Cheese Month and National Amputee Awareness Month, to name just a few. February is Black History Month and American Heart Month. Then there is Autism Awareness Month in April, Mental Health Awareness Month in May, and National Safety Month in June.

However, if you must claim a month as your own, shouldn't it be an actual calendar month? National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 through October 15. How weird is that? The U.S. Census Bureau says that more than 41 million people in the U.S. are of Hispanic origin, so they certainly deserve a month. But half of September and half of October?

Sure, the monthly calendar does promote a lot of terrific causes, like breast cancer awareness, domestic violence awareness, and dental hygiene (all in October), but then there are others that seem pretty lame. Like November being National Beard Month and Tobacco Awareness Month. Do men with facial hair really need their own month, and is there anyone on this planet who doesn't already know what tobacco is?

November is also National Novel Writing Month. The novel writing thing is a challenge that originated on the west coast: write a book of least 50,000 words and do it in one month. Being a novelist myself, I can't imagine a worst month for this purpose. I mean, hello? Can you say holiday decorating, shopping, Thanksgiving turkey and tryptophan?

Personally, I plan to spend my November enjoying the cooling weather, playing outside with my dog, and plotting the third book in the Jersey Barnes series. In fact, I may just claim November as my own month. Happy November to all!


T. Lynn Ocean

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