I don’t know how you feel about it, but I actually like winter. In truth, I like any place that has four distinct seasons a year, even if three of them – autumn, winter and spring – tend to be a bit short in North Texas!

What I don’t like about mid-January through late May, however, is the lack of holidays. We all commemorate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President’s Day, honoring George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in February, plus Easter then falls in March or April (a big holiday, but not recognized by most employers). Still, that’s about it, at least in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

As I was languishing in my office recently – thoughts of only ICD-10 and 2013 Medicare updates dancing in my head – it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, there were some winter holidays of which I simply was unaware. So in the interest of providing a lighthearted interlude to the daily grind on these cold February days, I offer the following incomplete, four-pronged list of “special” days in February. After this, you can go back to reading the serious stuff!

Group 1

Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day! At least I’ve heard of that one: It’s a day to honor sausage, I think…

Feb. 4 is “Create a Vacuum Day,” but for the life of me I don’t know if that means we should suck all the air out of something or go into competition with Hoover, Eureka and Dyson.

Feb. 5 is “World Nutella Day;” I can tell you that Nutella is not the name of a television chef, but rather a chocolate hazelnut goop similar to peanut butter. (OK, show of hands: Who knew that hazelnuts and filberts were the same thing?)

Feb. 6 is “Lame Duck Day,” but this day really ought to be held in January to pay homage to outgoing congressmen. Or it could just be held to honor ducks with anterior cruciate ligament damage…

OK, moving right along…

Group 2

Feb. 9 is (drum roll please) the day Hershey’s Chocolate was founded in 1894. It also is “Toothache Day” (honestly, it is).

Feb. 11 is one holiday that is near and dear to my heart, considering I work in the software industry: “Clean Out Your Computer Day.” I suppose that means to delete all your old files and hide those downloaded pictures that could get you fired.

Feb. 12 is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and we all are better for it.

Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day, but it also is “Ferris Wheel Day.” That makes a lot of sense, considering many a romance has begun when the Ferris Wheel stopped, stranding amorous riders at the top.

See, already we’ve identified eight very important days in February. One can’t help but wonder what March holds in store!

Group 3

Feb. 18 is a really good one. Not only is it President’s Day (which many employers do recognize), but it is also “National Battery Day.” Now, don’t get ahead of me here. This apparently refers to those little (and not-so-little) electrical thingies that start things (or keep things going). It doesn’t seem to refer to “assault and battery,” which just gives you jail time. And finally, this is also the day Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. I only can presume it was his first time seeing a Donald Duck cartoon at his local movie theater. I discovered Pluto in 1956, I think…

Feb. 20 is “Hoodie-Hoo Day,” and the story is that we’re supposed to go outside and yell “Hoodie-Hoo” to drive winter away. Just how drunk or high do you need to be to think this is a good idea?

Feb. 22 is George Washington’s birthday. Did you know he was the eighth person elected by the Continental Congress to the presidency, but (obviously) the first to actually accept the honor?

Feb. 23 is Pinocchio Day. Interesting that it’s the day after Washington’s birthday, since he “cannot tell a lie,” while that particular pastime was Pinocchio’s stock and trade.

And to finish up we have…

Group 4

“No-Brainer Day” (Feb. 27) and “Public Sleeping Day” (Feb. 28). I think these go together well, since sleeping is something of a no-brainer, while sleeping in public suggests “no brain”.

Special Consideration

There is one more special day I’d like to acknowledge, and that’s Yellowstone Park Day. Yellowstone was the first U.S. national park, and it was created by order of Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. Unfortunately, it seems he had just come off “Public Sleeping Day,” as Yellowstone was created on Feb. 29, so technically we only can celebrate this one during leap years, or those years evenly divisible by four but not by 100.

So you see, there are many things to celebrate, even in February. There is joy everywhere around us, but sometimes we must look for it, and I, for one, cannot wait until we annually can celebrate “ICD-10 Day” (Oct. 1)!

I really suspect it will follow “Increase Your Psychiatric Therapy Visits Day” (Sept. 30)…

About the Author

Billy K. Richburg, M.S., FHFMA is HFMA-Certified in Accounting and Finance, Patient Accounting and Managed Care. Bill graduated from the U. of Alaska, Anchorage and earned his M.S. in Health Care Administration from Trinity University, San Antonio, TX. Over a career spanning more than 40 years, Bill has held positions including CEO, COO, CFO, and CIO in hospitals ranging from 75 beds to over 300 beds, and in home health agencies, DME stores, and a home infusion company. Bill is a Board Member of the Lone Star Chapter, HFMA, and is Director of Government Programs for the Revenue Cycle Technologies business segment of MedAssets, Inc. His office is in Plano, Texas.

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