Saturday, April 22, 2006

Uh-oh. We only have 72 hours left until International Administrative Professionals Day.

Finished all that Administrative Professionals Day shopping yet? Planned the big Administrative Professionals Day feast and the proper Administrative Professionals Day toast? Put up the Administrative Professionals Day lights yet? The desk wreath?


Better hurry. The big day is Wednesday; the bank and post office may be closed, and then we all will be in trouble with every clerk, secretary, receptionist and aide on Earth. Doomed. For as everyone knows, they run the planet. The entire U.S. government steps to the administrative beat, accentuated by the tap of keyboards and the twitter of phone systems too complex for even NASA to handle.

The upcoming holiday used to be called National Secretaries Day, created by an advertising agency in 1952. It was retooled with the aforementioned title eight years ago and since has grown into a whole Administrative Professionals Week and maybe even a kajillion-dollar industry, what with all those greeting cards and simulated-crystal bud vases that will appear in offices any moment now.

It is quite an official holiday, though. Administrative Professionals Day is a registered trademark held by the Missouri-based International Association of Administrative Professionals, which offers guidelines for panic-stricken bosses on how to “observe” the day.

But administrative professionals better move over.

April 26 — like every other day on the calendar — hosts a bunch of other holidays as well, proof that humans aren’t happy unless they’re celebrating something. Anything.

It’s also National Richter Scale Day, for one, meant to honor seismologist Charles Francis Richter, born April 26, 1900. He’s the inventor of the earthquake magnitude measurement system that bears his name and makes people living in, say, Sierra Madre, Calif., somewhat uneasy.

Hallmark has yet to discover National Richter Scale Day, but one never knows. Certainly some National Richter Scale Day greeting cards are in order — the All Shook Up line would make sense — and perhaps a line of refrigerator magnets.

There are all sorts of reasons for Hallmark to get excited on April 26. It’s also National Pretzel Day, International Hug an Australian Day, the 187th anniversary of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the birthdays of naturalist John James Audubon (born 1785), blues great Gertrude “Ma” Rainey (1886), actress Carol Burnett (1933) and snappy ‘60s boy singer Bobby Rydell (1942).

Other holidays of note in April include National Cheeseball Day, National Librarian Day, Eat What You Want Day, World Penguin Day, Hairstyle Appreciation Day, Pig in a Blanket Day, No Housework Day, Ex-Spouse Day, Tell a Lie Day and — for those who hope to be fired — National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day.

April is National Humor Month, International Guitar Month, Amateur Radio Month, Informed Woman Month, Florida Tomato Month, Keep America Beautiful Month, Straw Hat Month, Lawn and Garden Month, Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Welding Month and Stress Awareness Month.

And that’s just April. We’ll abstain from any speculation about May at this time, although it does mark National Egg Month, National Barbecue Month, National Hamburger Month, National Salad Month and National Salsa Month.

Surely Hallmark can do something with that, or maybe Kraft Foods.

We will skip ahead to next March to linger in the home of National Make Up Your Own Holiday Day on the 26th, which would bring us all to ruin — or employment at Hallmark, anyway. The day was invented by Thomas and Ruth Roy of Lebanon, Pa., who feel the year could use more joy and thus have assembled a compendium of unusual holidays.

Entries from their alternative calendar include National Panic Day, Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day, Be a Dork Day, Cranky Co-Workers Day, Haunted Refrigerators Night, Have a Bad Day Day and the ever-favorite What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day. These and more can be found at the Roys’ snappy Web site (

And what if dogs and cats had opposable thumbs? Surely Purina would have to rethink its entire product line, and the Department of Animal Control might face additional issues. The can opener would never be the same again, and Hallmark might be stumped on the appropriate line of cards, magnets, paperweights and coffee mugs for the holiday.

Here at The Washington Times Crepe Paper & Balloons Desk, we respectfully suggest National Talk to Your Car Day and Buy Utz Potato Chips Without Guilt Day as candidates for consideration.

Meanwhile, our front-desk receptionist just checked the clock and informs us that time is a-wastin’. Only two more shopping days left until Administrative Professionals Day. Now go get that bud vase.

Jennifer Harper covers media, politics and noisemakers for The Washington Times’ national desk. Reach her at 202/636-3085 or jharper@washington

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