2013-09-29 – September may seem an odd time to write about April Fools’ Day. But last April, I got to thinking about how April Fools’ Day had lost its special meaning when the fools began to claim all 365 days of the year. I got to thinking that it was time to reclaim at least one day a year for truth-telling.
I’m calling it Diogenes Day after the ancient Greek who was known for his search for an honest man. Ironically, Diogenes began his life as a banker but got fed up, embarking on a career as a philosopher and the world’s first cynic.
The first Diogenes Day will occur Tuesday, October 1, 2013. October 1 was selected as being as far from April Fools’ Day as is reasonably possible. October seems to be the time for major financial collapses (1929 and 2008, for example) which fits right in with the Diogenes story. And it will be nice to have a day devoted to truth around October 1 of every election year.
Now, I don’t want you to be alarmed. Truth-telling is going to be a new thing for a lot of people. For these folks, Diogenes Day is going to be a little like April Fools’ Day in reverse. I don’t see people telling truth for the whole day, at least not at first. Truth telling will be kinda like a prank. You tell one bit of truth, and then you yell “Diogenes Day!” It will be fun.
So a guy will be out on a date and it will come to that time in the evening when he would normally tell the girl how different she is and how taken he is with her so he can get her into bed. Instead, he will just say, “I want to have sex with you.” The girl will look alarmed. Then he will say, “Diogenes Day!” And the girl will laugh and say, “in that case, I’ll be happy to have sex with you.” And the guy will smile. And the girl will say, “Diogenes Day!” And he will laugh.
Or a used car salesman will say to a customer, “sure, this car has a lot of miles on it and could break down, but it’s running now, and you don’t really have money for a new car.” And the customer will ask for the keys to take a test drive, and the salesman will shout, “Diogenes Day.” And the customer will laugh and take the test drive.
Or a grocer will label his products as genetically modified—for a day. And the checkout clerks will shout “Diogenes Day!” each time a customer buys one.
Or bankers will disclose to customers on this day that they expect to foreclose within five years.
Or Democrats will disclose that they are as much beholden to corporate interests as the Republicans.
Or Republicans will disclose that Obamacare was really their idea and that they liked the idea until Obama adopted it.
And then everyone will shout “Diogenes Day!” And everyone will laugh and look forward to Diogenes Day next year when they can tell the truth again.
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Update on getting the word out: After Thursday’s post, we had a significant uptick in traffic to my Diogenes Day posts, but so far no takers in traditional media. I’m afraid it’s too late for that at this point. I guess Congress won’t be the only ones to miss an October 1 deadline. The great thing about Diogenes Day’s being an annual holiday, however, is that after October 1, we’ll have a whole year to get ready for the 2014 celebration. I’ll start the countdown to 2014 on Diogenes Day and I’ll have updates throughout the year.
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[UPDATE: Go to my Diogenes Day page to see other DD posts.]