Sunday, March 21, 2004


I have a problem with the “March Madness” basketball tourney, which is, of course, the name itself. Why is it such madness? It’s the furthest thing from anarchy. They have those brackets displaying the orderly weeding out of college basketball teams until one is named champion, and it’s not as though players are suddenly encouraged to foul each other (or themselves, in quite a different way).

It’s like those objectionable “Wacky Wednesdays” that big chain gas stations used to have, on which the price of a gallon of premium would be discounted five cents. What’s wacky about that?

Google finds 8,690 references to various wacky Wednesdays, including a project that “runs every Wednesday between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and involves activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, outdoor games and bowling.” Elsewhere is a wacky Wednesday with “drawings for exciting prizes of merchandise and cash ... the prizes grew progressively more valuable. Early winners received televisions while the final three each Wednesday received a cash award of $5,000.”

Cash awards of $5,000? Color televisions? Bowling? Wacky!

There are fewer thrilling Thursdays, but not by many, and they include such events as “bowling morning,” “The Art of Fen Shui: Beyond the Basics” and “Parenting & Power Struggles.” Unaccountably thrilling!

Terrific Tuesdays, for some reason, top the Googling charts, with 23,300 references -- all too dull to mention. But terrificness is subjective.

Freakiness is subjective, as well, but the 12,500 freaky Fridays found in Google tend to strain the definition of “subjective,” much less “freaky.” They include bowling events that apparently edge over the line from wacky and thrilling to freaky by running every Friday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. (freaky!) and costing $5 per person (freaky!) and allowing for the free use of rental shoes (freaky!) but requiring three bowlers per lane (freakiest of all!) although management reserves the right to put six bowlers on a lane (beyond freaky!).

Alliteration. Can’t we move on?

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