August has no real holidays. Oh, on the 5th there’s National Mustard Day, and there’s National Spongecake Day on the 23rd. But just try getting off work with those excuses. You’re still going to have to put up with the same paltry four weekends, which is not fair and why I’d like to propose an official holiday so you can take an extra day off. In fact, I’ve got some additional holidays that I’d like to give to the other holiday-free months such as March, April and June — and one more just for the hell of it.
For August, I’d like to put Sea Hog Day on the last Friday of the month — might as well get a long weekend out of it. This is like Groundhog Day but with a porpoise. Porpoises, by the way, used to be called sea hogs (from the Middle English word porpeis, derived from porc for pig and peis for fish). If Flipper sticks his head out of the water and sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of summer. Yay!
In March, I’d make the first day of spring — the date of which varies from year to year — the Wearing of the Red Day. This dates back to when druids painted themselves. For boaters, it is a rite of spring wherein, after applying bottom paint for the new season, they find themselves covered in red copper-based paint. A male pagan festival, it is joyously celebrated in boatyards worldwide, although participants now have a lot more colors and chemistry to choose from.
April lends itself nicely to Heaving Day. Not a particularly joyous holiday but one that should be observed at the beginning of each season. Think of it as a day of atonement wherein you must choose and then chuck overboard all the useless junk you accumulated the previous season. This holiday came about when boat designers discovered the two most important factors in a planing boat’s speed and efficiency: weight and horsepower. They also found that removing weight is almost always better (and cheaper) than adding power. Gains in speed require geometrical increases in power, while the effect of weight reduction is linear. So give that useless ballast the old heave-ho now.
If it’s late June, Delivery Day is right around the corner — along with your sanity. The boat you ordered last fall was supposed to be ready and in the water by April 1. What a fool you were to believe that one. Delivery Day is always June 30, the last day of the month. No one knows why, it just is.
I know September has Labor Day, but that’s at the beginning of the month when the weather is still like August. What we need is to extend the long season that was (hopefully) predicted on Sea Hog Day, so I’d like to have St. Danforth’s Day on the last Wednesday of the month. It has a good religious sound to it, and no boss would dare keep you from worshipping at the church of your choice — even if you have to take your boat to it. The holiday acknowledges the Danforth anchor. God bless it. Richard Danforth patented his stockless masterpiece in 1939. When you’re given a good heavy chain of at least 8 feet and more than 7-to-1 scope to go with it, your prayers will be answered.
So until the next time I see you outside the inlet, remember that as long as you’re on the water, life’s a holiday. Now go out and celebrate.