Awareness Awareness Day

Awareness Awareness Day

Call me a cynic, you probably will, but I get a chuckle when I see these wristbands or “awareness bracelets”. Yea, I understand it makes the wearer feel better about him/herself and possibly raises some awareness for a noble cause. But it just seems like another feeble attempt of symbolism over substance. Sure there might be a small donation made to Breast Cancer Awareness (pink band), but I doubt it. More than likely it is just another act of slacktivisim. A word created by combining activisim with slacker. Although I would love to claim credit for coining this term, alas I cannot. But it is a perfect description of this practice.

But one must wonder, if you see someone from a distance and they are wearing a green wristband what do they support? Is it rainforest preservation? Or maybe they support the US Army? Quite possibly they would like to see cannabis legalized? Perhaps they want you to donate your organs or give to Tsunami relief?

Maybe a loved one suffers from Ovarian cancer or Kidney Disease? They could have just attended the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince release night. Maybe they are a member of the German Green Party? Or they just refuse to forget the Srebrenica Genocide? They could be pro hunting or pro ecology. Its all just so confusing.

Consider the red wristband. You could be a supporter of the Labour Party, the Socialist Party or Republicans. You could be for AIDS or Multiple Sclerosis Awareness, a supporter of the American Heart Association or American Red Cross. Perhaps you are never going to forget the Armenian Genocide, or were a big fan of Pat Tillman? Maybe you are a Christian, or against child abuse or just plain MADD. UNICEF may be an awesome organization in your mind or maybe you are an anti-smoking Nazi.

Or maybe you are a Boston Red Sox, Montreal Canadiens or Extreme Championship Wrestling fan. You could really screw with people’s perception of you with just a simple red wristband. Hmmmmm.

Now I can’t forget the “awareness bracelets” kissing cousin, the ribbon now can I? You know the ribbons that celebrities insist on wearing at those obnoxious awards ceremonies. They are just as confusing, with ribbons supporting everything from AIDS awareness to Native American Reperations to freedom for former Soviet Republics. What’s a good concientious, self-absorbed, celebrity to do? Decisions. Decisions.

One more related topic – the dreaded awareness months, weeks and days. We all know that February is African-American History month and March is Women’s History Month.

Hispanic Heritage doesn’t get a calendar month. Instead they get 30 days from mid-September through mid-October. The Jews celebrate their heritage in April while Asian-Americans get the month of May along with Older Americans. The Irish get a week in March – guess which one? German-Americans only rate one day in October. I guess beer and bratwurst is only good one day a year. American Indians get the month of November which includes Thanksgiving which somehow seems appropriate. Although I couldn’t really say why.

December is Drunk and Drugged Driving Month – for raising awareness and prevention of course. Shouldn’t it also be Christian Heritage Month? I guess they are not enough of a disadvantaged group quite yet.

June is Black Music Month and also Home Ownership Month. I guess a White Rappers Month is out of the question – talk about an oppressed minority!

National Condom Week is celebrated in February. It would seem December would be a better fit with all the drunk and drugged driving going on. But since December is so busy with Safe Toys and Gifts Month and National Handwashing Awareness Week maybe its better if it stays in February. Although April is Alcohol Awareness Month AND Sexual Assault Awareness Month – maybe we’ve found a perfect home for condom week!

In an odd twist, Poison Prevention Week comes in March along with National School Breakfast Week. However, in a rather bold move, Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month is not until April.

And now the long awaited conclusion.

Many of these are important causes and I will not belittle anyone who is or has experienced any these diseases or conditions. But come on. There are just way too many of these awareness months/weeks/days. So here is the solution. We have one Awareness Awareness Day. We celebrate/mourn/learn all about everything on this day while wearing all our ribbons and wristbands. I think then, the world would truly be a better place.

But what about the other 364 days you might ask. We could actually DO something to help the world be a healthier, happier place!

Originally published October 2006.