Taming Calendar Frenzy

By Mark Skoultchi

November 17, 2010

Around the Catchword offices, we like to honor causes, holidays and memorials great and small. We’re all about marking our calendar and putting up the appropriate decorations. In fact, our favorite calendar days are those that also require a costume (we have incredible Pilgrim outfits…).

But frankly, we’re finding it hard these days. During November alone, there are so many causes, events and holidays that our head swims.

Among the national causes honored, celebrated, marked, noted, and marketed…

Aviation History Month
Family Stories Month
Healthy Skin Month
Jaw Joints Month
Marrow Awareness Month
Pulmonary Hypertension Month
And, wait for it…
Radiologic Technology Month

And lest we forget, Prematurity Awareness has both a day and a month! Cripes!

It gets even worse when we remember the weekly and daily celebrations…

Signature events just this week include:

Author’s Day
Better Conversation Week
Farm-City Week
Flossing Day
Game and Puzzle Week
Geography Awareness Week
Young Reader’s Day

We certainly have nothing against these esteemable causes themselves.

But as a naming firm, Catchword has to wonder have we surrounded ourselves with iconic days (and names) that have lost their meaning? The field is too crowded. We are asked to care about what are possibly niche causes. It reminds us of having a parade every week. That would get old. Plus, who even goes to parades any longer?

Are these calendar reminders still the best way to honor a cause?

Let’s take a closer look at the problem:

First, the days have little bearing on their calendar dates. We can all easily support dates tied to history (9/11, Thanksgiving, July 4). But just as a good name has weight and connection to that which it describes, memorials need to have a foundation in the date.

Second, the names should be brief. National Geography Awareness Week? That’s a mouthful. It’s hard enough to remember the day, (let alone set out the appropriate costume and decorate) without having to deal with an unwieldy, clunky name.

Also, why have is the cause tied to a month? Healthy Skin gets a full month? Honestly, we really only have ten minutes for Pulmonary Hypertension. Wouldn’t a hot second be enough for National Flossing Day? The name would be more impactful if it fostered five minutes of focused, even urgent attention to a cause. Besides, how could there even be a full month of activities related to Jaw Joints?

Or maybe the problem with the names is that they don’t imply a call to action. At best they merely create awareness of the arbitrary day/week/month but no further understanding.

The solution? We suggest a moratorium on any further calendar designations. And a reconsideration of how better to communicate and educate the general public about causes, memorials and celebrations.

Now please excuse us while we go make our papier mache sculpture of Plymouth Rock.

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