Tuesday, March 12, 2002

RADEL: World Jammy Day

Now, more than ever, we need this day

By Cliff Radel, cradel@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Last year, when the world was a happier place, Thom Jackson unveiled his idea for Wide World Jammy Day.

        The local attorney and prankster aimed for Jammy Day to become an annual international holiday spanning generations and celebrating, as he likes to say: “Friendship, family and fun.”

        This year, he's hoping the bad news at home and abroad will work to his holiday's advantage.

        The world could use a holiday dedicated to the stress-free pursuit of lounging in your PJs and hanging around with the family for a weekend day of fun.

        No phones. No Palm Pilots. No interruptions. No leaving the house for fast-food breaks. Bake cookies. Play games. Tell jokes. Laugh. Enjoy life. Together.

        Sounds goofy. And it is.

        Sounds worthwhile. Definitely.

        Imagine if Mayor Charlie Luken and the Rev. Damon Lynch III stopped carping at each other and donned pajamas on Wide World Jammy Day, from sundown March 23 through sundown March 24.

        That might lighten up things around here.

        Good start

        Thom hoped he might get an endorsement last year from Hallmark. Or a bunny-slipper maker.

        No such luck.

        Wide World Jammy Day 2001 was held late last March. Success was modest.

        Thom staged a million-slipper march at Union Terminal. He wound up a few slippers short.

        He did get a nifty proclamation from the mayor. Encouraged, he decided to try again.

        Then came the April riots. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. War in Afghanistan. The boycott.

        Jammy Day 2002 has tough competition. But Thom won't let it rest.

        “Last year, I said it was guilt-free, liberating. I appreciated those notions before the tragedy,” he said. “They apply now more than ever.”

        Media alert

        Thom is working overtime to raise the holiday's profile.

        He's already gathered supportive proclamations from the mayors of Dallas, Spokane, Youngstown and Fairbanks, Alaska — as well as Cincinnati.

        He's also working on a Jammy Day rally and charity fund-raiser on Fountain Square.

        An all-star sing-along is also on his agenda. He's trying to round up famous Cincinnati musicians for a “We are the World”-style rendition of “Give the 'Nati a Chance” sung to the tune of “Give Peace a Chance.”

        Give this holiday a break.

        Jammy Day deserves widespread exposure. It's getting started in the right place.

        The international media swarmed all over Cincinnati for the riots ... and a runaway cow.

        So they obviously have good directions for finding this town.

        They can come back and do good-news stories about Wide World Jammy Day.

        A riot is bad news. A cow is just silly.

        Jammy Day's goofy. But, the holiday promotes something positive — family togetherness.

        That's been a popular topic around the world since 9-11. Alan Jackson sings about it in his hit, “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”

        “Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day. ... Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family. Thank God you had somebody to love.”

        Positive stories such as Jammy Day don't show up often enough on the international media's radar screen. When they do appear, upbeat stories usually take place in a media capital such as Los Angeles or New York. Never in the seemingly unsophisticated Midwest.

        A holiday stressing family ties deserves a date of its own. Thom Jackson has just the day:

        Wide World Jammy Day.

       Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; e-mail cradel@enquirer.com.


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