COLUMN: The best day to be blue – you do the math

There’s an official day for everything but, it turns out, ‘Blue Monday’ is a bit of a sham

I’d never heard of Blue Monday until it was upon us earlier this week.

The day – coined in 2005 by a travel company, of all things, and allegedly determined by mathematical formula to be the “most depressing day of the year” – just passed, on, well, Monday. But it wasn’t until I opened social media apps on my phone and saw people talking about it that I knew it was a thing.

The most depressing day of the entire year? Really? Quite a declaration, yet I still felt the same. Not great. Not bad. Certainly far from depressed.

There’s certainly a case to be made that, at least for the nine-to-five crowd, Monday is the worst day of the week. And Mondays in January are probably even worse.

And, if I were to be depressed on this most depressing of days, the fact I learned of it on social media – not always the most pleasant place to spend time – wouldn’t help.

But still, the claim seemed a little rich.

However, it did get me thinking about the number of non-statutory “holidays” that now exist in the public sphere and are acknowledged, if not exactly celebrated. (I trust we’ve all bought our lawn decorations for International Talk Like a Pirate Day, right? It’s Sept. 19, for those wondering.)

I had a lot of questions.

Who decides these things? Why did Blue Monday coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. day in the United States this year? Can a day be two things at once?

And why are we listening to a travel company – now defunct, by the way – in the first place? Would that fly today? Are there people out there who look to the Trivago guy for words of wisdom?

And another thing – who the hell are they to tell me when I can be depressed? If I want to have a bad day in the middle of July, what’s it to them?

In an attempt to answer at least a few of these questions, I took to the internet – Wikipedia, specifically, which is only slightly more reliable than social media.

That’s where I learned, for example, that this whole sham was created by the aforementioned travel company. It’s also where I discovered that this depressing day only affects those of us in the northern hemisphere, apparently.

It’s also where I found out that, soon after Blue Monday was created, the formula used to determine it was quickly debunked as pseudo-science – that’s ‘fake news’ for those of you still getting your information from Facebook.

But like so much that gets posted on the internet, it caught on, nonetheless.

Further research – and I really put my investigative journalism hat on for this one – also uncovered that inventors of Blue Monday never intended it to sound negative, but instead wanted “to inspire people to take action and make bold life decisions.”

And hey, if some of those bold decisions involve booking an all-inclusive vacation, then great. But as I read to the bottom of the Wikipedia entry, I discovered something else: apparently a ‘Happiest Day of the Year’ also exists as something of a counterweight.

This date is, as you might’ve guessed, also mathematically calculated, but ‘experts’ differ on when it falls. Some say late June, while others insist it’s July 14.

Good news – that’s only 172 days away.

I feel better already.

Nick Greenizan is a reporter at the Peace Arch News.



editorial@peacearchnews.com

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