by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
January 10, 2004
TODAY IS OPPOSITE DAY, NYAH NYAH NYAH!
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Every kid has their favorite day of the year. And being greedy little capitalists, they're usually Christmas and birthdays. Kids also have their least favorite days, like the days after Christmas and their birthdays.
When I was a kid, my least favorite day was Opposite Day.
You remember Opposite Day. That was the day the class jerk declared so he or she could be nasty to another kid, usually me.
The class jerk would say to a kid, "You know, Bobby, you're one of the smartest kids in school. You know what else? It's Opposite Day." Then he would burst into gales of laughter at his own wit.
Basically, whatever you said on Opposite Day, the opposite was true. If you complimented a kid, you actually insulted him. And, if you insulted him, you actually complimented him.
I thought Opposite Day was stupid, and the people who observed it were jerks. After all, it was a paradox. But since I was only nine, I didn't know what a paradox was, so I couldn't explain it. I just knew it was stupid and they were jerks.
The Paradox of Opposite Day goes like this: If you say it's Opposite Day, and the opposite is true, then it's not Opposite Day.This means that any compliment you received was a real compliment, and not an insult, like those jerks meant it to be.
I actually tried to explain it one time to a couple of my classmates, but they had made themselves stupid by eating too much paste and probing too hard when they picked their noses. At least that's how I remember it, not that I'm bitter or anything.
The Opposite Day master of my third grade class was a girl named Stephanie, who knew how to take the fun out of any accomplishment. If you got back a math test with an A and a smiley face, she would say, "Wow, that's really good. You're pretty smart in math." Then, as you beamed with pride, she would walk away and sing out, "Opposite Day!"
Eventually some of the kids started taking Opposite Day way too seriously. They formed an Opposite Day committee, held secret high-level meetings, and decided when their holiday of insults would be observed. However, in order to be jerks, they didn't tell anyone else.
I finally realized that Opposite Day was not held on days when someone else "OD-ed" them first. But if they managed to zing another kid first, then the committee declared they had called Opposite Day at their last meeting.
Fortunately, we grew out of Opposite Day. But there are some days when it could be useful. Imagine what life would be like now if you could call Opposite Day whenever you wanted. I think the last week's Democratic presidential debates would have been pretty interesting.
Howard Dean: "I think my opponent is very competent, would make a great president, and would not lead this country into financial and moral ruin. Oh yeah, today is Opposite Day."
Joe Lieberman: "Oh yeah? You're not a poopyhead! And it's still Opposite Day."
Dick Gephardt: Mr. Conan, they're calling each other names!
Opposite Day could also be used at work. Imagine you have to fire one of your worst employees. Opposite Day would make this much more enjoyable, because you can make the poor sucker feel good about himself/herself, before deflating their ego like a balloon hit by a lawn dart.
You: Pat, I called you in here to say I think you're one of our most valuable employees. You're always on time, you have great ideas, and your work ethic is beyond reproach.
Pat: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
You: By the way, did you see this memo that said today is Opposite Day? You're not fired!
Overall, I still think Opposite Day is pretty stupid. And I have a few bad memories about the kids who played it. However, as an adult, I've grown up and moved on. I don't have to be bitter or call anyone names. After all, they were just kids who didn't know any better.
Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reaching w-a-a-a-y back into the files and reprinting a column from November 1997, after he upgraded and improved it, of course.