MadHatterDay (10/6/89)

Dick Dunn rcd at ico.ISC.COM
Fri Oct 6 15:57:50 AEST 1989

[This posting has wide distribution because it applies (perhaps in unusual
ways) to a wide audience, and/or curiosity about the holiday has been
expressed in the group.  Please adjust your followups as needed.]


1989: MadHatterDay IV

1.  What Is It?

MadHatterDay is a holiday in October.  It fills the  need  for  a
second  crazy  day  in  the year, almost exactly half a year from
April Fools' Day. The real spirit of MadHatterDay  is  turnabout:
The  nonsense  we  usually  have to pretend is sane can be called
madness for one day in the year; the superficially  crazy  things
that really make sense can be called sane on MadHatterDay.

MadHatterDay is 10/6.  The date was chosen from the illustrations
by  John Tenniel in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, wherein the
Mad Hatter is always seen wearing a hat bearing a slip  of  paper
with the notation "In this style 10/6".  We take this as inspira-
tion to behave in the style of the Mad Hatter on 10/6  (which  is
October  6  here, although in Britain MadHatterDay occurs on June
10...but I digress...)  Some astute observers have noted that the
paper  in  the Mad Hatter's Hat was really an order to make a hat
in the style shown, to cost ten shillings sixpence.  However,  it
is  well  known  that Time Is Money, and therefore Money Is Time,
and therefore 10/6 may as well be the sixth of October.

MadHatterDay began in Boulder, CO, in 1986, among some  computer-
folk who had nothing better to do.  It was immediately recognized
as valuable because they caused less damage than if  they'd  been
doing  their  jobs.  It was announced that first year on computer
networks. In 1987 it gained minor local recognition.  In 1988, it
was  first recognized as an official holiday by an area business,
and also received its first national press coverage by news  ser-
vices  (who  are  always desperate for an unlikely story).  It is
almost certain that the national election also gave  MadHatterDay
a good boost in 1988.

Detailed plans for this year's MadHatterDay observance  will,  of
course, be announced on October 7.  We have found that plans made
after the fact are more accurate and much  easier  to  have  ful-
filled.   Or,  as  the  Red Queen said, "sentence first, then the

2.  What Goes?

What do people do on MadHatterDay?  In general, we celebrate sil-
liness.   But  what  if  your  work involves something inherently
silly--say marketing, where you put on a three-piece  suit  (five
or  six layers of fabric) in the summertime, tie a piece of cloth
around your neck to restrict blood flow to  the  brain,  and  set
about trying to convince people to buy things they don't want and
can't afford because this will give the country a  Healthy  Econ-
omy?   In  this case, doing something absolutely sane will have a
more startling effect than you can possibly imagine.

Your world is crazier than you think:

   * We travel around by taking the juice  from  hundred-million-
     year-old  rotten  dinosaur  food and exploding it in a metal

   * A "sports  fanatic"  is  not  someone  who  participates  in
     sports,  but  someone  who  sits indoors on a beautiful day,
     drinking beer while yelling at the picture on a little  box.
     (Throw the ultimate football party:  Forget the TV; just sit
     around eating and drinking with friends.)

   * As much as we say we like to "get away  from  it  all",  the
     more successful we are, the more we take it all with us when
     we go.  (Take a vacation with  all  the  comforts  of  home:
     Just stay home!)

   * We're so well-fed that we're getting food with intentionally
     reduced  nutritional  content--so we can take the trouble to
     eat without getting the benefit of  doing  so.   (Enjoy  the
     ultimate in fast-diet-food:  Skip lunch.)

   * We've saved so much gift-giving  for  the  Christmas  season
     that  it has entirely unbalanced the flow of cash and consu-
     mer goods through the year.  So merchants decided  to  start
     the  season  early  to  have something to do the rest of the
     year.  (There's now only one major gift-giving  holiday--but
     it   lasts   for  five  months.   Surprise  someone  with  a
     MadHatterDay present.)

...and it goes.  Take a look around you,  drop  your  assumptions
about  what  must be proper and normal, and see how much of it is
just silly.  Better yet, try to find  something  that  does  make

Don't hurt anyone.  Save the pranks for  April  1.   This  is  "a
Kinder, Gentler Fool's Day."

What's MadHatterDay IV?
IV silliness, of course!
+---------+     Dick Dunn    rcd at    ico!rcd      (303)449-2870
| In this |         4th annual MadHatterDay [10/6/89]:
|  style  |            A Thousand Points of Madness

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