October 31st might be getting demoted

October 31st might be getting demoted

"'Scuse me, 'scuse me. Coming through, coming through!"

The Days of the Year factory is located in Washington D.C., a couple of blocks away from Capitol Hill. The facility employs 365 calendar days a year with February 29th, known as the "Leap Year" consultant, coming in once every four years to give a lecture on the solar system.

"The new calendar's here!" October 30th shouted out to the main floor. He's got a giant desk calendar from Staples wedged under his armpit. October 30th does this every year, he gets incredibly fired up about the new calendar. The rest of the days lovingly refer to him as, "The Calendar Guy."

Hundreds of calendar days rush over. Let's see, let's see! October 30th rips off the plastic wrap, flips to January 2020.

"Alright, here we go. New Year's Day. Nothing going on, nothing going on. Oh, January 20th, I've got good news, bad news," October 30th calls out. "Which one do you want first?"

"Hit me with the good," January 20th replies.

"You got Martin Luther King Jr. Day."

"Nice! What's the bad news?"

"You got Blue Monday."

"Dammit."

Blue Monday is known as the most depressing day of the year. It's reserved for the third Monday of January and mixes in the melancholy combination of post-Christmas credit card bills, cold weather, low sunlight, and the unofficial end to most New Year's Resolutions.

"Oof, good luck," January 21st said, patting January 20th on the back. "I'm still recovering from Blue Monday, 2019."

Similar to most factories, there's the main floor where the majority works and then a set of offices above looking down at the assembly line. The offices above are reserved for the "Designated Days," the select few who have a guaranteed holiday every single year. For example: December 25th, October 31st, January 1st.

Looking Down on the Action

December 31st stood at the railing observing all of the commotion below. He had a cup of spiked coffee in hand.

"What's going on down there?" March 17th said. He joined December 31st at the railing, sipping from a pint of Guinness.

"The new calendar's here," December 31st replied. He looked over at March 17th's glass of beer. "Guinness at 8:30 in the morning?"

"Eh, five o'clock somewhere. And don't pretend that's just coffee."

"February 17th, you got President's Day!" 

"Never gets old seeing how excited they all get about this," March 17th said. "Like, come on, President's Day? Nobody even knows what that is and they treat it like landing Christmas."

"Hey, that could be you some day," December 31st replied with a smirk. "Don't forget how close you were in '98."

The event referenced was known as "The Ides of March" when every day in March stormed up to the Designated Day offices and demanded a rules change. The argument made was that St. Patrick's Day would be far better suited as the second or third Saturday of March. This way it would always fall on a weekend.

"It just makes sense," March 15th argued. "Come to Chicago the Saturday before vs. the actual 17th and tell me when the real holiday is."

October 31st, kind of the Professor Snape of the Designated Days' group, always had a bitter rivalry with St. Patrick's Day. No one really knew why. So he was the first to chime in, giving his support to the protest.

"I think it's a great idea," October 31st said. "And what incredible initiative by all of you bringing this to the table. Democracy at its finest. At the end of the day, your voices are just as important as ours."

Newcomer to the group, "May the 4th" sided with Halloween. "Rise and fall you shall," May the 4th said in his closing argument. "Regular day you must be." Cinco de Mayo and March 14th (Pi Day) also joined the protest side. But everyone else, the group known as the Traditionalists - Fourth of July, December 25th, December 24th, February 14th, November 11th (Veteran's Day), December 31st and January 1st - all stood by March 17th. The opposition didn't have the votes.

"Who are we to decide, though?" October 31st argued. "Shouldn't we put it up to a popular vote? I mean, think of how crushing that would be to all of our beloved regular calendar days if their voice didn't matter and everything was just decided by us up here in a conference room. Seems downright un-Calendarian."

October 31st knew how to persuade the Fourth of July and Veteran's Day, pressing their patriotic buttons. They both apologized to March 17th and changed their vote. "Sorry bud." 

March 17th took a sip of Jameson whiskey. He remained completely calm.

"Alright, I'm cool with that. But first, let the March days decide if it's the second Saturday or third Saturday of the month and then we can have an official vote. I'd be good with that."

This caused immediate chaos and bitter in-fighting within the month of March.

"If we put St. Patrick's Day on the third Saturday, it'll always line up with the first Saturday of March Madness," March 15th argued. "It'll be incredible. That could be the biggest holiday of the year!" To which the second-Saturday-of-the-month camp cried out, "You already have March Madness, don't be greedy!"

This furthered the divide, creating two distinct parties within March, "The First Half" and "The Second Halvers." And within both of these parties, there was even more in-fighting. March 1st through 7th suggested a "What if we made it the first Saturday of the month?" policy and March 25-31st suggested the same thing, just with the fourth Saturday.

"Guys, come on, don't be ridiculous," March 15th - always one to look out for the middle - replied. "That will never win in a general election."

The month of March could never come to an agreement and still hasn't over the last 20 years. Every now and then they'll start to build momentum for a new St. Patrick's Day petition but it falls apart at the very end.

Divvying up the Days

October 30th continued to rattle off the holidays like an auctioneer at the front of the room.

"April 12th, you've got Easter."

"Praise the Lord," April 12th said with a humble bow.

"May 10th, Mother's Day. May 25th, you've got Memorial Day."

"Nice dude!" May 31st said patting May 25th on the back.

"Hey, you'll get 'em next year," May 25th replied.

"June 21st, Father's Day."

"It's about damn time," June 21st said, carrying a frozen rack of baby back ribs.

"September 7th, Labor Day. Oof, sorry October 12th. You got stuck with Columbus Day."

"Crap."

Columbus Day used to bring excitement to October 8th - October 14th. They anxiously waited to hear who would get it. But after a few decades of bad PR, now it's this big game of hot potato. Nobody wants it. There's a rumor that October 31st started the smear campaign against Christopher Columbus in hopes to knock out all the other holidays in October. It's the same reason why "Sweetest Day" has never really caught on.

October 30th paused for a second, let out a little sigh, then continued on. It was subtle but you could tell his voice was less excited. Turning the page to November always dampened his spirits.

"And uh, yeah, so rounding out the year we've got November 26th with Thanksgiving, congrats. November 27th, you've got Black Friday. Good luck. December 21st, you got the Winter Solstice. That should be exciting. And yeah, that about does it. Looks like a great year, team."

November 1st gave a little smile to October 29th; kind of like that scene in A Christmas Story when the parents point out that one last present to Ralphie.

"Hey, why don't you flip back to October real quick," November 1st said, putting her hand on October 30th's shoulder.

"What? Did I miss something?"

"Maybe. Maybe not. I just wanted to double-check. It could be nothing."

October 30th flipped back a few pages. Eyebrows furled together. He scanned the giant page.

"Yeah, hey, what's that in the corner there?" October 29th chimed in.

The whole crowd of days inched closer, all waiting to see October 30th's reaction.

"Starting in 2021," October 30th read the fine print. "Halloween will be observed on the final... Saturday of October? Wait, what?"

"We did it, buddy!" October 29th said grabbing the 30th by the shoulders.

"I," October 30th stammered. "I'm not sure I understand?"

"You come in here with the giant calendar, you're so excited every year for everyone else and so we got to thinkin', you know, why can't Halloween be on a Saturday?" November 1st explained. "It'd make more sense for families. Better for the kids trick-or-treating. So I started a little petition and every single day signed it. Well, except for April 15th. But that's just because Tax Day got to his head."

"The numbers don't add up, sorry," April 15th said.

"Halloween is ours!" October 29th shouted.

"But, but what about the Designated Days?" October 30th said. "And October 31st? He's never gonna go for this."

"It doesn't matter," October 29th said. "We've got the numbers!"

One of the days in the back started a slow clap. Another day began singing, "For he's a jolly good fellow!"

The Powers that Be

"What's going on down there?" October 31st said joining March 17th and December 31st at the railing.

"Let's just say, you might want to cherish these next couple Halloweens, my good lad," March 17th said with a smirk.

"What's he talking about?" October 31st said.

"You see the 2021 calendar yet?" December 31st said.

"What? The 2021 - that's not out yet. What are you talking about?"

"Here, we'll help you pick out a locker downstairs."

October 31st scrolled through his phone. He read through the calendar updates.

"What!? They can't change Halloween!"

"Sure they can. They came to us last week, kind of like when all of March stormed up here in '98," December 31st explained. "You were off watching the Michael Myers marathon."

"But we figured, you know, like you said before," March 17th said. "We should just put it up for a calendar-wide vote, a democracy sort of thing. So we let them vote and, well, here it is."

"You can't do that!"

"I thought you'd be good with it? We were just taking your advice?"

"No. This is not ok. Not ok at all! And don't forget, I tried to give him a holiday before," October 31st said. "And he was totally ungrateful."

"Dude, you gave him 'Devil's Night,'" March 17th said. "He never wanted to smash people's pumpkins."

"Yeah, well, look what happened when he came up with his own 'national holidays.' National Text Your Ex Day and Naitonal Checklist Day? You're gonna give the creative mind of National Checklist Day a shot at Halloween? No. Not gonna happen. We decide these things. Not them."

"Well, we checked on that too," March 17th said. "The votes up here are in favor of the move. It makes sense to move trick-or-treating to a Saturday. Come on buddy, do it for the kids."

The rest of the Designated Days joined the three at the railing.

"No, this is absolute madness," October 31st shouted. "Look, I bit my tongue when we let May the 4th and freaking Pi Day into our crew. You know what kind of message that sent to the rest of them? That any stupid startup holiday, any National Taco Day, Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, any of those garbage holidays could become a Designated Day. And then what are we? What if every day's a holiday?"

"Wow, good to know how you truly feel," Pi Day said.

"Selfish you are," May the 4th said.

"You think all of this is gonna stop at Halloween? December 25th, you're gonna be next. They'll throw you on a Sunday just like they did to Easter. And November 11th, nobody even knows you're Veteran's Day. February 14th, you think people want to celebrate Valentine's Day on a Tuesday? Nobody wants to get romantic on a Tuesday night. You let this happen now and we're all gonna end up down there. Just you wait."

"And that's ok," the Fourth of July calmly replied. "Maybe that's for the good of the calendar."

"No, I'm not gonna let a crappy day like October 30th, with his stupid desk calendar, or any of those other pathetic days in October take my holiday! No. Not gonna happen!"

The singing stopped on the main floor creating this record scratch type of moment where everyone could hear October 31st's full rant. Immediately a chorus of boos erupted from the crowd of calendar days below.

"Here, let's take you downstairs," November 11th said. He grabbed October 31st by the arm. "Turn in your badge."

"No! You can't make me! I am not a regular day!"

The Fourth of July and November 11th restrained October 31st. Began to carry him down the stairs like a couple of bouncers at a Wrigleyville bar.

"No! Get your hands off of me!"

January 1st followed after them. Joined the sea of calendar days out on the main floor. He cleared his throat. Raised a glass.

"A toast, to my big brother from another mother. October 30th, the richest Day in town."

The crowd cheered. And a chorus began. Should old acquaintance be forgot... December 25th started pouring glasses of egg nog for everyoneFourth of July and Veteran's Day launched a round of fireworks.

Counting Down the Days

"Bold move launching fireworks indoors," March 17th said. He took a sip of Guinness.

He and December 31st stood at the railing, looking down at the celebration.

"You ever think maybe it'd be better down there?" December 31st said. "You know, anxiously awaiting the new calendar with everyone else? There's a little magic to that, don't you think? You ever wanna share our holidays?"

March 17th thought about it for a second.

"Nope. You?"

"Nah."

The two Designated Days smiled. Continued to observe the celebration. They watched as October 31st stormed out of the factory, desk calendar under his arm, still shouting back at the group.

"Cheers, lad."

March 17th raised the Guinness pint. December 31st lifted his coffee mug.

"Happy new year."

Thank you for stopping by the blog and have a great Halloween this week (unless you already celebrated it on Saturday). And if you're a fan of the incredibly niche "calendar" genre of posts, I have one about the startup holidays from earlier in the year.

Hey - quick plug, I've got a new publishing/bookstore site I've been working on called Long Overdue Books and it is officially up and running. It's a place where writers can publish their books one chapter at a time, building an audience, while seeking help with the editing or publishing process. If you ever need help with your book, want to publish chapters on the site, email me at library@longoverduestories.com or connect on LinkedIn.  

To subscribe to Medium Rare via email, just enter your email address in the box below. See you next week for a post about National Novel Writing Month with a list of ideas for books/movies/TV shows that are 100% free to use. 

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