It was with some surprise that I learned that today is the International Day of Happiness.
That's all very lovely, of course - what with me being a big fan of happiness and all - but I'm always compelled to wonder how you go about getting a place on the panel that decides these things. I think I might quite like that job.
The fact that it coincides with the spring equinox means that, for me, it was always going to be a better day than usual anyway. Winter is irredeemably rubbish, here in the north west of England, and I live out the colder months in a condition that's not dissimilar to hibernation. However, once the snowdrops and daffodils start to show, once the first leaves start appearing on the hawthorns, then life seems suddenly wonderful again. I love the summer, and anything that signals the advent of warmer, longer days is always going to put a smile on my face.
So today being the International Day of Happiness is either a case of very good planning or it's an utterly redundant exercise - depending, I suppose, on your mood and your natural propensity towards happiness. But in any event, it makes me wonder whether having an International Day of anything is really expected to have any measurable effect upon people's views or behaviours. For example, according to the official United Nations Observances for International Days, the 6th February was "International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation". Now opposing such heinous abuse is obviously a fine and worthy thing but are we to infer from this that the UN is disposed towards any greater lenience on the other days of the year? One would certainly hope not.
Or take another example. The 20th February was the International Day of Social Justice. Again, it seems a shame only to be getting really enthusiastic about such things for one day out of 365. Maybe we could really get our collective act together and have social justice for a whole weekend or, who knows, perhaps even an International Fortnight.
Anyway, I'm not going to get hung up on such matters. Spring is in the air and tomorrow is World Water Day, so I'm going to be enjoying my annual bath. That means I'll be nice and clean for World Meteorology Day on the 23rd.