Thursday, January 17, 2002

Clean Desk Day

What is worth keeping?

        Last year, I put a note to myself right on top of my desk where I'd be sure to see it. The memo was in big letters: National Clean Off Your Desk Day, Monday, Jan. 14, 2002.

        I found the note yesterday under a stack of books sent to me by publishers. I can't bear to throw away books, even books with titles such as Yikes!! My Butt's Falling, which is billed as “humorous "tails' of aging baby boomers.” (Which I can assure you, baby boomers do not find humorous.) The stack of books was under a batch of video tapes, equally hard to discard, even if the topic is about installing floor tiles, which I never plan to do. Or Tae-Bo, which I plan to do as soon as I can find a class that includes complimentary oxygen tanks.

        In honor of Better Late Than Never Day, I threw them all away.

Iguana Awareness

        It turns out that I not only missed Clean Off Your Desk Day but I overlooked Organize Your Home Day on Jan. 7. These important days, you will not be astonished to discover, are promoted by the National Association of Professional Organizers. They stand ready to help you clean off your desk and organize your home for fees ranging from $40 to $200 an hour.

        “Some special days are made by presidential proclamation to commemorate an event,” according to the Encyclopedia of Days Web page. “Other days are sponsored by organizations attempting to a raise awareness of an important issue.”

        This probably accounts for National Iguana Awareness Day, which is celebrated the second Saturday in September. “The green iguana became one of the most popular pets of the 1990s,” explained the sponsoring group. “Unfortunately, most people did not attempt to learn about their proper care.”

        For those interested in the proper care of humans, the American Hospital Association maintains a calendar for glaucoma, heart, hemophilia, breast cancer, macular degeneration, hemophilia and headaches.

The Hoodie-Hoo chant

        February has the richest assortment of bizarre “special days,” which I attribute to the vile weather. Feb. 20 is Hoodie-Hoo Day, when we are supposed to go out at noon, wave our arms over our heads and chant “Hoodie-Hoo” to chase away winter and bring in spring. This is for those people who have lost faith in groundhogs.

        This is not to mention the various designated days coming up in which we can officially celebrate Ferris wheels, gumdrops, kites, dog biscuits, batteries, chocolate mints and tortilla chips. We can feel sorry for ourselves on Toothache Day and suck up on Boss Day.

        Of course, I will have a whole year to keep a tidier workspace. Another chance to celebrate iguanas and gum drops. Another chance to anguish over things that don't matter. Another chance to dwell on the trivial.

        Or I could notice the things on my desk.

        My Clean Desk Day reminder was under some books which were under some videos which were under a bulging folder labeled “New York 9/11.” This file was full of stories I'd been saving. The father who worked on a housing project in honor of his son, who died at the World Trade Center. Poems sent by readers. Photographs. A sympathy card from a friend in Europe. Paper reminders of gallantry and kindness.

        And I kept them, kept them all.

        There still are things I cannot bear to throw away.

       E-mail Laura at or call 768-8393.


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