The Palpable Presence of Picnic Day
Dr. Andy reflects on the favorite holiday of denizens of Davis
Today is Picnic Day in the city of Davis, and the excitement is palpable.
Returning after a two-year Covid hiatus, the boisterous shindig that celebrates UC Davis and the mostly agricultural history of our top public university will bring thousands of people to the campus and to the city of Davis. Most of the activities take place outside, though regular campus denizens will be expected to complete their symptom surveys before entering any buildings. I hope everyone departing this big party at the end of the day, or even right after the parade, will remain healthy and symptom-free for the rest of the springtime.
Speaking of the parade, I’m excited to return to my role as grandstands Picnic Day Parade Announcer, a function I have performed perhaps a dozen times before, starting in 2009 or so. It wasn’t my award-winning UC Davis faculty status that first inclined a long-since graduated group of undergraduates to choose me for this honor, but rather my proven ability to read copy with enthusiasm, a skill I have honed on the radio and behind the Poetry Night microphone for decades. Did you know that Picnic Day is the largest student-run event in the country?
The aforementioned “grandstands” refers to the beginning of the Parade, where leaders in the Associated Students of UC Davis (student government) gather to be recognized, give speeches, introduce the UC Davis Chancellor, and introduce the Parade Marshall Dr. Nam Tran. Dr. Tran and I are very different sorts of doctors. He is the senior director of clinical pathology at UC Davis Health, which means that he has been a key figure in local COVID-19 testing. He said, “I will be there to represent the many UC Davis laboratory professionals who joined the fight against COVID-19.” I look forward to meeting him. I wonder if he will be wearing gloves, as well as two masks. Will he shake hands or want to bump elbows?
The theme for Picnic Day this year is “Rediscovering Tomorrow.” While many people will be happy just to rediscover their way back to campus, as a Buddhist, I would be happy just to see more people rediscover their todays, or their nows. As the Buddha said, “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” C.S. Lewis said something similar more succinctly: “This moment contains all moments.”
Speaking of now, the time has come for me to walk over to campus to be given my commemorative T-shirt, my bottle of water, and my microphone, everything I need to start the Picnic Day Parade at UC Davis’ 108th Picnic Day, being held in person on the Davis campus this morning and all day on Saturday, April 23. Perhaps I will see you there!
This week’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on topics raised above, and on the following: Reality, kings found in America, significant regions, funny nicknames for scandal-ridden scalawags, Black Panthers, football clubs, sub accounts, crayfish, forestry, southeastern Europe, Oscar-winners, Romantic poets and poems, losing streaks, lovely peaks, British colleges, things that are built to stay free, American princes, outdoor dining, people from Toronto who speak Esperanto, binary compounds, draft picks, sweet children, common surnames, friends in Dixon, current events, and Shakespeare.
Thanks to all the supporters on Patreon who make the Pub Quizzes and the newsletters possible, especially the most stalwart supporters: the Outside Agitators, the Original Vincibles, and Quizimodo. I’m always grateful to players who pledge for their entire team. Speaking of the future, let’s look forward to a time when we can all gather again to play with our friends!
Happy Picnic Day!
P.S. Here are three question’s from last week’s quiz (which I will gladly send to you if you request it via email):
Internet Culture. Which one of the Big Five American information technology companies has Andy Jassy as its president and CEO?
Newspaper Headlines. Starting with the letter V, what is the name of the den of voter fraud allegations that calls itself America's premier Active Adult Retirement Community located in sunny central Florida?
Taxes. The U.S. office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue was created during what war in which the United States took part?