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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Sweetest Day

I believe at some point, I was already aware that there was a holiday called "Sweetest Day". I was reminded of its existence yesterday and offered, "yes, it's called 'Valentine's Day'."

"No," I was told, "it's a separate day - a day to give cards and candy to loved ones..."

"Well, that's fine," I said, "except for the fact that I already do that on Valentine's day mostly..."

"This day is in October," my friend replied.

"And Valentine's Day is in February, I think," I said. It seemed we were at a stalemate. "I don't need two days, strategically planted around my calendar year to remind me to buy cards and candy for my loved ones. I should be able to do it any day I want, without a government mandate. Where are we living, anyhow - in a gulag?" I wasn't certain if a gulag was the correct term for someplace with a heavy dose of government mandate, but it was the first thing that came to mind, so I went with it. It earned me a "harumph" and a haughty dismissal. I pouted for a bit, then dove into the World Wide Web to research this apparent secondary Valentine's Day deemed the Day of the Sweetest. I was shocked at what learned.

Sweetest Day was not meant for loved ones at all, originally. It was planned by a "committee of 12 confectioners chaired by candy maker C.C. Hartzell" as an "opportunity to remember the sick, aged and orphaned." The "Sweetest Day in the Year Committee" distributed over 20,000 boxes of candy to "newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor" in 1922. This from Wikipedia.

The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee - lousy with candy-makers. Coincidence?

I would like to note that I am delighted that the committee included newsboys in their somewhat strategic outburst of confectionery good will - I think newsboys are often given short shrift when it comes to being compensated for their historically somewhat impoverished line of work. Standing on a street corner shouting "EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT!" and doling out newspapers for a dime is honorable work with long hours for little pay and we as a people should do more for our newsies. But I digress.

Candy for our newsboys - a  shot in the arm for the morale of our nation.

Whatever the good intentions for providing a sugar-high for the sick, aged, orphans and newsboys, it seems that at some point, in a sly move by the confectioners, "friends, relatives and associates whose helpfulness we have enjoyed" were added to the list. Eventually, the elderly, infirm, orphans and newsies were phased out of the program altogether in a move that left these unfortunates to fend for themselves for obtaining sweet relief from their sugar-jones, leaving only loved ones to enjoy the chocolate-covered goodness of what has been deemed by many as a "Hallmark Holiday". I submit that this was the plan all along and that the orphans and newsboys were mere pawns in a calculated candy-money-grab for the pre-Halloween wallet share of our nation. I, for one am ashamed. And I vow that I will never celebrate Sweetest Day, unless it is to drive a U-Haul full of Baby Ruths to the local orphanage or old-folks home. And I plan to deliver my news to the masses via this blog, which is the electronic version of the newsboy from our past. So, EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT! And spread the word.


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