The Awareness of the Week

The week of Nov.12-18 was Elevator Safety Week. Each time I entered into the elevator shaft, I hit every button on the board and jumped up and down with the ferocity and orgasmic furry familiar only to tribal war dances. I hope you all did the same.

Anyone testing their nerves and laziness by stepping into the UA’s notorious elevators surely got a quick chuckle out of the purdy lil’ thing in the posters with that eager smile but it certainly didn’t fool anybody with that slight unspoken fear of knowing someday, somewhere, the cable of your elevator is going to snap and no amount of jumping at the last second will save your broken back and smashed face.

But that’s exactly why the UA Office of Environmental Health and Safety thought it was important to participate in the national event.

“The purpose was simply to increase the information of proper safety procedure,” said Mike Stiles, UA’s Occupational Safety Coordinator, who also noted that neither he nor his office strained too hard to promote the week. This was, however, the first time the UA had “participated” in the awareness week.

Stiles said a lot of it had to do with the fatal elevator accident at Ohio State University Oct. 20, and the UA’s own problem in Yocum earlier this summer.

So perhaps it was good that the UA made elevator safety a focus.

But a week?

There wasn’t any deception by the Safety Office, unlike other organizations on campus, to use cheap food and charades to trick poor students into participating in their events. Even by his own admission, Stiles said his office only sent out a few “news releases” and nothing more. All of it’s commendable.

But armchair journalism – mouse-pad journalism for those of us in the know – provides plenty of fun in researching other seemingly obscure and often absurd awareness weeks.

Some of these awareness weeks seem to make sense like the Hurricane Preparedness Week awareness week (May 21 to 27) which coincides with the beginning of hurricane season.

National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week, which competes nationally with Elevator Safety Week, seems a bit conniving as it falls right before Thanksgiving and just as the Holiday season begins.

Of course, there’s the Pedophilia Awareness Week, a.k.a. “strangers with candy awareness week,” the third week of August to coincide with back to school.

Then there’s those weird awareness weeks that defy all logic and sense. Some are snoozers and some are flat out good times. There’s Ground Water Awareness Week (March 11 to 17) and National Infertility Awareness Week (Oct. 29 to Nov. 4).

There’s Problem Gambling Week, Ulcer Awareness Week, Squirrel Awareness Week, Pandemic Flu Awareness Week, and my favorite, Arson Awareness Week.

Is there any point to all this?

Nahhhhh. It’s just good, cheap American fun – at least for me. I’m not about to draw any grand parallels to our larger cultural consciousness.

If you want those sort of rambling, drug-induced revelations then read the trashy, pop-culture essays in Time magazine.

No, it’s probably best to end on a note of life-affirming goodness. Starting today though next Friday the university is celebrating “Confederacy of Students Awareness Week.” There will be no parades, no posters and no free food.

But, there will be a school-wide opportunity, at midnight tonight, in which everyone involved will pour out a 40 in remembrance of those in the confederacy we’ve lost, those we’ve poked fun at and those wonderful UA leaders who have led us blindly toward a future full of promise.

CSAW is also sponsoring a drive that encourages everyone to send an unmarked envelop with a big, fat, George Washington to Kimpel 119 with the money going toward a worthy cause.

And next week will be Ebola Awareness Week. Make sure to mark your calendars and make your doctor’s appointments.

[Original piece available here.]

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