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National Read-a-Book Day

I had to chuckle the other day when I discovered that September 6 is “National Read-a-Book Day” and September 7, tomorrow, is “Buy-a-Book Day.” To top it off, September 16, ten days from now, is “International Read-an-E-Book Day.”

I guess, based on the dates of those various special days, that someone wants you to read the book before you buy it. It’s usually the other way around. Few books are so good that, once you’ve borrowed and read them–or read them while sitting in a book store’s coffee shop–you’ll then go and buy the already-read book. That’s sort of like buying a coloring book that’s already been colored in.

I’ve got a better idea that will allow people to kill three birds with one stone, so to speak: Let’s make it “Buy-My-Book Day.” Confederate Cabinet Departments and Secretaries is a good read for all history buffs. If you buy it in e-book form and read it, you celebrate all three days at once–Buy-a-Book Day, Buy-an-E-Book Day, and Read-a-Book Day. Besides, proceeds go to a worthy cause–me!

And since we’re talking special days, September 5 was “Be-Late-for-Something Day.” I never thought I’d see the day when people needed to have special encouragement to be late! (But, in honor of that special day, I purposely delayed mentioning it until today, a day late.)

Even as a kid, I hated to be late for anything lest I miss something important or interesting. As I got older, I began to hate it for a less personal reason: lateness shows a disrespect for the time of others.

The university I attended took great pride in the fact that everything there started on time–not a minute earlier, not 30 seconds late. On time. Meals. Classes. Concerts. Ball games. Everything started on time. So firmly did the administration insist on punctuality that if you weren’t there when it started, you didn’t get in. (I worked as an usher, and I had to enforce that rule many times.) So strongly did the administrators believe in teaching the importance of punctuality that they gave demerits for tardiness. People hated the rule (especially those who were habitually late), but after being denied access once or twice or getting enough demerits, they learned to be on time!

Back in the hey-day of railroading, railroads knew that punctuality could not only get people and freight where they and it needed to be but also saved lives. Deviation from time schedules proved deadly until a Mr. Ball got the railroads to operate on standard time. That got them “on the Ball!”

Maybe instead of a “Be-Late-for-Something Day” we should have a “Be-on-Time Day.”

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