By Ethan Shea
It’s a classic ruse. Your parents tell you to do something, and you proceed to do precisely the opposite. They’re shocked by your actions. “Why would you do such a thing?” they say. You smile as you triumphantly declare it to be Opposite Day.
This hallowed holiday is generally treated as a means to evade chores, but in fact, Opposite Day officially occurs on Jan. 25. To honor this annual tradition, I’m doing the opposite of what’s expected by publishing this blog the day after Opposite Day. It wouldn’t be very festive of me to actually post a blog about Opposite Day on Opposite Day. That’s just too predictable.
Opposite day is a tradition dating back to the 1920s. The holiday originates from everyone’s favorite president, the one and only “Cool Cal,” or Calvin Coolidge if you’re a fan of formality. Before campaigns for the 1928 election began, Coolidge, who was President at the time, claimed “I do not choose to run.” The ambiguity of his statement led many people to believe Cal meant the opposite of what he said.
I don’t know about you, but the fact that Opposite Day is really just a way of making fun of a politician’s poor choice of words makes the holiday even more entertaining.
To complicate things a bit, whether Opposite Day can even exist is an ongoing debate. If I declare it to be Opposite Day, and it becomes Opposite Day, does that not mean the opposite of my statement is true, so it would just be a normal day, right? Contrarily, if I say it is not Opposite Day, it is just a normal day, so my statement stands, and it really isn’t Opposite Day. I guess if we all agree to celebrate Opposite Day on Jan. 25, no one has to say anything, and Opposite Day can finally prevail.
There are plenty of ways to celebrate Opposite Day here at Falvey Library! One way is to take a minute to look through our collections on polar exploration. There are several artifacts and stories about voyages to both the North and South Poles. It doesn’t get more opposite that that!
If you’re feeling hungry, check out some of Falvey’s culinary books and search for a recipe with sweet and sour sauce. Who would’ve thought opposites could taste so good!
Lastly, if you can’t find the words to describe how you feel about Opposite Day, look through a thesaurus to browse an endless number of synonyms and antonyms, the epitome of opposites in the world of words.
Ethan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.