Another holiday that will keep you warm and fuzzy
People who decry Valentine’s Day as a greeting-card holiday, a manufactured box of tripe wrapped up in a pink bow, are not unlike those who brag about not having a TV, or who can tell you how many days it has been since their last fast-food meal.
You know that if that cursed thing fell into their lap, they may be tempted to taste of its evil joys. And who knows, the fast-food meal may contain actual tripe.
Despite being sporadically a freewheeling Holly Golightly playgirl (but without the diamonds or penthouse or Tiffany’s or sleep mask or chignon or basically everything Holly Golightly had), I still enjoy Valentine’s Day.
I like seeing what kind of valentines they have at the dollar store. I like seeing my friends being all mushy on Facebook. I like the half-off candy bin at drugstores on Feb. 15. I like dusting off the kissing teddy bears my dad got me from Hallmark one year.
I have a significant other for this year, so mush will be had. Goods will be baked. Hopefully, without catching fire.
Commercial? Possibly. But there’s no need to call it a manufactured holiday, or even to sully the idea of manufactured holidays.
There are plenty of nice manufactured holidays. Everyone enjoys bringing up the “Seinfeld” tradition of Festivus every Christmas. “30 Rock” introduced the world to Leap Day (and its terrifying mascot Leap Day William). Even “The Simpsons” had Whacking Day, where they gathered to kill snakes but saw the error of their ways thanks to the soulful sounds of Barry White. Oh, baby.
But you don’t need a writing room full of Harvard grads to invent your own holiday! Alas, even I have created a holiday that everyone can enjoy, without spending money, going to the underwear store, or procuring a Festivus pole.
Stripey Sweater Day came about one night when I was out with my friends around Youngstown State campus, several of whom were wearing striped sweaters. I remarked that they could be longshoremen, and that they better watch out for Jaws. Thus began a running joke about striped sweaters and Jaws suddenly busting through whatever wall was nearby.
I took a photo of my friends pretending to cower in fear from the invisible shark. When I came upon the photo a year later, I thought how cool it would be if every time there was a striped sweater something fun would happen. Hence, Stripey Sweater Day was born.
For the first few years, it was contained to me wearing as many sweaters as possible in one day, changing more often than Mr. Rogers. A few friends would meet and compare stripes, pics were posted.
It seemed like an idea that could catch on. Everyone has a striped sweater lying around. Everyone likes to be warm. And like their owners, no two sweater stripes are alike.
I first wrote about Stripey Sweater Day in 2013, then in its fourth year. That year, I saw my little-holiday-that-could blossom via social media, with more than 70 people posting pictures of themselves, their pets and even stuffed monkeys in striped sweaters. People I didn’t know had heard about it somehow. I was glad it had brightened everybody’s day.
This year, Stripey Sweater Day is Feb. 12. See other sweaters by searching hashtag #StripeySweaterDay on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. There were some cool ones last year that would make Waldo jealous.
Maybe some sweater static electricity will make a spark, opening a portal to another dimension. Who knows? So if you think of it, get out a nice, warm striped sweater, put it on, and wait for the magic to happen. It could be bigger than Festivus.
Got a striped sweater? Email a pic to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post it on social media tagged #StripeySweaterDay.