Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bob Day or Sorry Day on May 26? Your choice

Your choice depends, I suppose, on whether you are a Bob or know anyone named Bob.

The crack research staff at The Blog of Days has been exhaustively researching the origin of "Bob Day" and how, out of all the 365 days in the year, Bob Day came to be fixed on the 26th of May. Entire minutes, even tens of minutes, have been devoted to this project -- and with no satisfactory results.

"Bob" is a good, friendly, even folksy name. "Bob" is a good name for a kids' baseball coach. "Good Neighbor Bob" sounds just about right in a way that "Good Neighbor Aloysius" does not.

(By the way, if your name is Aloysius, I mean no offense. But you may want to talk to your parents about why they did that to you.)

But the veteran research staff here could find no explanation as to how Bob Day got situated on the calendar today. Perhaps Bobs, being inoffensive, regular guys, chose today because there wasn't a whole lot else going on today and they figured no one would really mind.

What is the competition for Bob Day, you ask? Well, in Australia, today is "Sorry Day," or, more pompously, the National Day of Healing. Today, apparently, is a day set aside by the descendants of European settlers to feel bad about what their ancestors did to the Aborigines. (In America, we don't have anything similar. We've set up our surviving aboriginal peoples with casinos instead, and they're using them to reconquer America, one cup of nickels at a time....)

You could celebrate Sorry Day, I suppose, but you'd better hurry. By the time this posts (just after midnight in Chicago) it will already be late afternoon in Sydney.

If neither of these options is sufficient, allow me to remind you that today is the birthday of Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space. That's Dr. Ride at left, on board Challenger during her first space mission, STS-7, in 1983. (Ride rode Challenger into orbit again, in 1984, as part of the crew of STS-41-G.)

Dr. Ride (she holds a PhD in physics from Stanford) retired from the astronaut corps in 1987. Among other things, she spends time now encouraging girls to go into technical fields, including engineering.

Dr. Ride's achievements and her ambitions are both worth celebrating today.

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