Unite in Awkward, um, Unity (No Touching)

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January 11, 2013 by T. Gregory Argall

Today is St. >Ahem<‘s Day. For those of you not versed in third tier saints, St. >Ahem< is the patron saint of awkward situations.
And he’s a busy son of bitch, too.
The story goes that in the mid-twelfth century, a young novice monk (who was named either Bartholomew, Mitch, or Scooter; reports vary and he was never addressed by his proper name anyway), was eagerly fascinated by the vows of silence taken by the senior monks. He would often ask them about the conditions of the vow, what inspired their commitment, what dinner was like without conversation, and so on. Eventually, the senior monks developed a method of warning each other when the young novice was approaching, so that they could make themselves scarce. Apparently, according to the Vow of Silence Handbook, clearing one’s throat is permitted, since it is not actually considered to be speech. But these guys blatantly used it to communicate. As the rookie monk made his merry way through the monastery, a chorus of >ahem<s would herald his approach, like a Gregorian chant with phlegm.
Young Brother >Ahem< was also known for his dedication to the well being of small animals. He claimed to have an appreciation for all of Gods creatures, but seemed to focus mainly on the cute ones. Often with disastrous results.
On one memorable occasion his efforts to rescue a stray cat in the local village inadvertently caused the destruction of five shacks, seven market stalls, three ox-drawn carts, and a mandolin belonging to the blind minstrel. With a shrug and a sheepish grin, he muttered, “Ululatus, me paenitet.,” (which is Latin for “Whoops, sorry.”) and ran back to the monastery.
Tales of similar encounters with the local village are frequent through the tales of his life; good intentions with bad results. In the early sixteenth century, Pope Random instituted a whimsical but short-lived canonization process through which he named several third and forth tier saints, including St. >Ahem<. In the late seventeenth century the Vatican Committee for Deciding Pointless Things determined that St. >Ahem<‘s Day should be on a different date each year. The purpose, they claimed, was to create instances of people missing the day entirely and having to explain themselves to others, all in order to pay tribute to awkward situations. Many notable historians point out that the decision was made on the third day of a traditional Vatican keg party, while other historians counter with “Screw them, it’s a valid point.” So, yeah, that can be awkward.
For example, some of you may recall that last year St. >Ahem<‘s day was March 27th, while this year it is January 11th, to which we reply, “Yeah. So…?”
The question that we’re sure you all are asking is, “What can I do to celebrate St. >Ahem<‘s Day?” The answer, of course, is “Oh, lots. Really.” It’s hard enough to get through a normal day without any awkward situations. On St. >Ahem<‘s Day, sometimes you just need to show up. But if you want to make that extra effort to make St. >Ahem<‘s Day 2013 extra memorable, and possibly litigious, here are a few examples of things you can do…
Hire a mime with Tourette’s Syndrome for your kid’s birthday party.
Try not to fart on your mother-in-law.
Shaking a hand and copping a feel are almost identical movements. Don’t mix them up.
If you get stuck in an elevator today, it’ll be with a priest and a drunken stripper who recognizes you from that one time at that place. You know.
At the Feast of St. >Ahem< your wife and your girlfriend will both meet the children you didn’t know you had.
You mistakenly think the St. >Ahem<‘s Day party was open-bar so you left your wallet at home. Good luck covering the tab.
YOU: “When’s the baby due?”  YOUR NEW BOSS: “I’m not pregnant.”  YOU: “…oh.”

Share your St. >Ahem<‘s Day stories of awkwardness on Twitter. Use the hashtag #StAhemsDay.

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