As I’m sure you already know, today is Feb. 20. And, as I’m sure you also know, today is World Day of Social Justice. One of our most storied and beloved holidays, it was enacted way back in 2009 by the United Nations General Assembly, all in order to combat poverty, exclusion and unemployment. And I think it’s been doing one heck of a job.
Our World Social Justice Day traditions are cherished and historic: leaving our organic hemp shoes out for the Serious Fairy to put informational leaflets about Sudan in, standing and applauding when anyone says anything about “the poor,” eating giant meals with multiple proteins and then feeling bad about it, etc.
But Feb. 20 isn’t just about feeling guilty for owning electronics. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that Feb. 20 is the most important day in the history of all mankind.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof . . .
Feb. 20, 1472: The provinces of Orkney and Shetland are pawned by Norway to Scotland, because Norway doesn’t have the money for a dowry for Margaret of Denmark. This type of creative debt management is something we as Americans could really learn from. China might be willing to fudge some of those debt numbers if we offered, say, Wyoming and South Dakota as payment. We might even be able to get rid of the ugly parts of Nevada (which is all of Nevada).
Feb. 20, 1792: The Postal Service Act, signed by George Washington, established the United States Post Office Department. On Feb. 21 of that same year, they released the first line of Elvis Presley memorial stamps, and things have pretty much gone downhill since then.
Feb. 20, 1864: The American Civil War Battle of Olustee was fought in Florida, making it the largest battle fought in that state until 2007, when seven Miami Super Walmarts simultaneously ran out of both suntan lotion and those little umbrellas that they put into drinks.
Feb. 20, 1872: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City opened, prompting millions of Midwesterners (who were really just on their way to eat at Chili’s in Times Square, but their mom made them see the museum, because this is a culture experience, goshdarnit) to say things like, “Sheesh, give me a couple a beers and some paint cans and I coulda thrown somethin’ like what that Pollock guy did together.”
Feb. 20, 1933: The Congress of the United States proposed the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would effectively end Prohibition. Due to celebrating, nothing else really significant happened for another few years.
Feb. 20, 1935: Caroline Mikkelsen, on this day, was the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. It would have happened much earlier, but her husband refused to stop and ask for directions. Ha! Just kidding! Please don’t send me angry e-mails.
Feb. 20, 1962: TV audiences across the nation shouted for joy as American Mercury program astronaut John Glenn, played by Ed Harris, piloted Friendship 7, played by John Goodman, around the earth three times in almost five hours. While in orbit, Glenn/Harris runs into the adventurous explorer Caroline Mikkelsen and her husband, who look a little lost (they’re played by Tom and Roseanne Arnold).
Feb. 20, 1981: Fred Jackson, an American football player and running back for the Buffalo Bills, was born, cementing a Week 2 NFL fantasy football win for certain respected college columnists. Thank you, Fred. You are a national treasure.
Feb. 20, 1988: The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast seceded from Azerbaijan and joined Armenia, which triggered the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Across the globe, diplomats and politicians scrambled to help, asking questions like “where is Azerbaijan, exactly?” and “what’s a Karabakh?” and “the Kardashians are Armenian, right?”
Feb. 20, 2013: A certain respected collegiate humor columnist, sick with a nasty cold and cradling a screaming baby, searched for hours on Wikipedia for some #### topic to write about, and stumbled upon “Feb. 20 — This Day in History.”