“Blew” Monday

17 01 2017

jan-calendar-2017

January 17, 2017

I recently learned that the third Monday in January is touted as the most depressing day in the Northern Hemisphere. I guess that could serve as a warning for those of us prone to such emotions. On the other hand, would that cause its development via the placebo effect—thinking about the possibility might cause it to happen?

This year (and maybe most years?), Blue Monday, as it is whimsically named, falls on the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday. I could see where the pressing need of protecting all the human rights gained since the 1960s might cause some angst. But is there more to it? Is there something intrinsic about mid-January that gets to us?

When I did some research, I discovered that the term and the phenomenon were, in fact, a public relations firm’s concoction. Based on some fancy-looking but illogical mathematical formula that includes factors such as debt, weather, days since Christmas, and proximity to New Year’s resolutions, the firm attempted to predict when to encourage travel to increase vacation sales. If a travel agency could time its promotions to tap into people’s time of great discontent, it might hit the jackpot!

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Since 2000, I’ve traveled internationally with two friends and we regularly go in January! However, this has much more to do with our schedules than with Blue Monday. One of us is a professor with its typical vacation times. I love summer at home and won’t travel then. Our third partner will do pretty much what everyone else needs. Overall, we have been to eleven countries in January and four in March. I assure you that Europe in January is not prime time for sightseeing. However, we did have a lovely time in Cardiff, Wales, home of the originator of the Blue Monday formula (Wales was in March, just sayin’).

But, back to Blue Monday. The public relations firm responsible for this moniker, according to Wikipedia, was Porter Novelli. I start to wonder about the credibility of any other of their PR campaigns. Among their clients have been the Peace Corps, National Institutes for Health (where they designed both the old and newer Food Pyramids), the FDIC, and more recently Indiana’s former governor/vice-president elect Mike Pence, who hired the firm after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to improve Indiana’s image. Who knew that Blue Monday had political overtones? If I were more of a suspicious person, I might wonder if the revival of the Blue Monday pseudo-phenomenon was a ploy to maneuver the masses.

Well, I don’t know about you, but, for me, Blue Monday blew by and it was fine.

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