It’s World Empathy Day; does anybody care?
I have long thought that the world would be a better place if all adults wore name tags with big square photos of themselves as children under the large and easy-to-read print.
Cute little kids with no front teeth.
Maybe we’d be a little kinder to each other if we could see the child in every person we deal with. If we were reminded every day of how sweet the most annoying of us once were.
But I’d take name tags even without pictures. Just plain old, “Hello, my name is . . .’’ press-ons.
“Hello, Kristen,’’ I’d say confidently to someone whose name I should know, instead of a mumbled, “Hey? Hi!,’’ wondering for the zillionth time, “Is it Kristen or Kirsten?’’ “ Alexa or Alexis?’’ “Karrie or Kerri?’’ all the i’s and e’s as confusing as roads you drive down when you’re lost.
I would even settle for a yearly Name Tag Day, on which people you know but whose names you don’t would wear their names in big capital letters right under their chins and you’d look and see BETH, RYAN, JOYCE, and not have to depend upon context clues to figure out who a person is.
(“She drives a Volvo and has longish red hair, and talked about her daughter and dancing school,’’ you tell your daughter, husband, best friend, who all come up empty, too. )
Once a year there would be no coming up empty.
What I didn’t know until I Googled “Name Tag Day’’ is that I don’t have to imagine this. A national Name Tag Day actually exists, not just in my fantasies but on a calendar. OK, a quirky calendar, but here it is: March 5. (www.quirkymarketingcalendar.com/2010/03/05/march-5th-is-nametag-day)
It’s the idea of Joseph Porcelli, a former Jamaica Plain resident and founder of Neighbors for Neighbors. For all of 2007 Porcelli wore a name tag every day.
Sometimes it included what he thinks the world needs most: LOVE.
JOSEPH LOVE on his shirt sparked questions and news stories and imitation. MAY PEACE. JASON KARMA. Thousands of people copied him.
And then they didn’t.
Even he doesn’t wear a name tag all the time anymore.
“It took so much energy to explain it,’’ he said last week.
And so, though there is a Name Tag Day, few people know it. Who really knows anything about all the annual days that exist to celebrate or commemorate something?
Today, for example, Oct. 2, is National Custodial Workers Recognition Day. Who knew?
“Take a minute on this day, to seek out custodial workers at your facility. Give them a big “TY’’ for all that they do to keep the facility sparkling and running like a top.’’ So it says at www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/.
It is also LIVESTRONG Day, begun as a testament to Lance Armstrong’s fight with cancer.
“Pledge to wear yellow with Lance on LIVESTRONG Day - Oct. 2 - and stand in solidarity with cancer survivors around the world.’’ (livestrongday.livestrong.org)
And it is “A Day to Disconnect’’ when people are urged to unplug everything for an hour or two’’ and “take pleasure in cherished relationships.’’ (www.daytodisconnect.com)
Today is also Name Your Car Day (www.louderbacks.com/home/dict/days.html); World Farm Animals Day (www.wfad.org) “dedicated to exposing, mourning, and memorializing the more than 65 billion cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, and other land animals who needlessly suffer and die every year in the world’s farms and slaughterhouses’’; World Empathy Day (www.worldempathy.org); and the International Day of Non-Violence (www.un.org/en/events/nonviolenceday/index.shtml), as declared by the United Nations in 2007.
All I know is that I knew none of this until I Googled name tag and got sidetracked.
Come March 5 I’m wearing a name tag. Today, I’m thinking about empathy and cows.
Canton resident Beverly Beckham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org