Thursday, 6 October 2011

Mad Hatter Day

Today is Mad Hatter Day, a 25 year old holiday where we celebrate silliness. We see the madness in what is considered sane and the sanity in what is considered madness.

The day is named after Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter, a character appearing in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass. Thoroughtly nonsensical, he is stuck in an endless tea party with a dormouse and the March Hare. The date was chosen as a result of John Tenniel's drawings of the Hatter where he has a note with the notation "in this style 10/6" stuck in his hat.

Alice, the March Hare, the Dormouse and the Hatter wrapping some tea in a pot
 So, what to do?

How about taking a small box out of your pocket and then talk to your mother without making a sound, pressing a number of buttons with numbers on them and then send?

Or how about dressing up to look less like yourself in order to attract a mate?

Why don't you go to the store and buy a piece of meat you do not know where came from? Perhaps it came from the hind leg of a sheep called Alan on the brink of inventing a cure for itchy wool? Or perhaps it is your neighbours rump. You sleep 20 cm from his head but haven't seen or spoken to him for ages.

Or, find inspiration in Ari Rapkin of the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science's view of the fundamental madness of the world:


We travel around by taking the juice from hundred-million-year-old rotten dinosaur food and exploding it in a metal can.

A "sports fanatic" is not someone who participates in sports, but someone who sits indoors on a beautiful day, drinking beer while yelling at the picture on a little box. (Throw the ultimate football party: Forget the TV; just sit around eating and drinking with friends.)

As much as we say we like to "get away from it all", the more successful we are, the more we take it all with us when we go. (Take a vacation with all the comforts of home: Just stay home!)

We're so well-fed that we're getting food with intentionally reduced nutritional content--so we can take the trouble to eat without getting the benefit of doing so. (Enjoy the ultimate in fast-diet-food: Skip lunch.)

We've saved so much gift-giving for the Christmas season that it has entirely unbalanced the flow of cash and consu mer goods through the year. So merchants decided to start the season early to have something to do the rest of the year. (There's now only one major gift-giving holiday -- but it lasts for five months. Surprise someone with a MadHatterDay present.)


And, after all, why is a raven like a writing desk?

Sources: Pic, Ari Rapkin

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