Monday, August 20, 2007

Birthday Wish: I'll Take Those Rock Hard Abs

Three weeks after the fact, I realized that All I want for (my birthday) is some rock hard abs, to paraphrase the classic tune, All I want for Christmas. . . That wish hit me yesterday – like a ton of bricks – one might say, when I happened upon the photo above with its caption, A soldier smashes bricks with a hammer on the stomach of a comrade during Navy Day celebrations in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok July 29, 2007.

It reminded me that the last Sunday in July is the Day of the Russian Naval Fleet, and last summer, it fell on July 30th, which happens to be my birthday. I had an interesting encounter on the street that Sunday when a fellow saw me carrying flowers and assumed that I was with the Russian navy. (See Happy Mutual Birthday, posted at

It's not only the Navy who celebates a special day. Russian folk love to party and, not too surprisingly, they have come up with 120 professional holiday in honor of vast array of specialties. Got to admit, these holidays catch me unaware – where are they recorded, anyway? Well, today I did a quick Google search and now I’m in the loop. Grab a pencil and jot this down: The last Sunday in August is Miner’s Day. The 1st of September is the Day of Knowledge and, when it falls on a weekday, it's also the first day of school across Russia.

October 7th is the Day for the Elderly, November 7th is Agreement and Reconciliation Day – a day to kiss and make up. May 27th is the Day of the Librarian, followed closely by the Day of the Border Guard, May 28th. (Come to think of it, librarians and border guards do have their similaries.) A recent addition is The Day for Show Business, November 7th. It must have been a hit -- lots of show business people and wanna-be’s got together somewhere to celebrate.

Back to the Navy chaps and their brick-smashing. I'm curious as to whether each profession comes up with a show of strength and valor on their special day. If not, we could start something. Let’s just imagine: On teacher’s day, a contest karate-chopping pencils. Librarians could have a shhhhush-ing contest and maybe the elderly would go for a chorus line, twirl their canes in unison and toast each other with Geritol. Hold on a minute – those older folks are getting younger every year!

If you’re not fortunate enough to live a land such as Russia (wink, wink) where your profession is honored, what are you waiting for? Perhaps your time has come - what profession would you honor? When and how?

Photo from REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev (RUSSIA)

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