Next week on April 25th we at Penguin Place and penguin lovers all over the world will observe Penguin Day by doing three things:
a) Wear only black and white.
Tradition allows for a red bowtie on a white shirt but this is optional.
b) Sometime during the day, everyone is encouraged to enjoy a repast of strawberries and chocolate (In any combination).
c) Be prepared to share a good Penguin Joke with your friends. Ideally,this joke should be clean, inoffensive, topical, very funny, mercifully short, and about penguins.
Penguin Day began many years ago when someone at NWC (Naval Weapons Center in Ridgecrest, California) became aware of the migration habits of the Antarctic penguin, the harvest cycle of California strawberries, and the shipping data of worldwide chocolate exporters. On April 25th of every year, the formally-clad penguins of the Antarctic continent begin an incredible northward migration. Penguins are unique in that they are the only migratory birds that don’t fly (they swim). They are also unique in that unlike, say, the Crested Egret, apparently penguins don’t take migration all that seriously. In fact, the penguin’s migratory habits are an embarrassment to most instinctively compulsive species. They start their migration in that same wonderfully grand fashion that, say, the Canadian Geese do. On cue, in synchronicity with some mysterious call of Nature, penguins of great number and varied breeds all dive into that “wild blue under” and head North.
Curiously, they only swim about a hundred miles or so from the ice shelf (or whatever) and, after enjoying an extended “krill break”, they all shrug (as only penguins can) and seem to lose interest in migrating. After bobbing about for a while like millions of undecided, leaderless penguins (which they are), they all head back South and are home by suppertime.
Incredibly, on April 25, on that very same day that the penguins are involved in the above-described odyssey, the Great California Strawberry Harvest takes place. More strawberries are picked, washed, and boxed up in the San Joaquin Valley on that day than in all other places worldwide all year long.
Finally, just to round out the symmetrical convergence of these otherwise unrelated events, the world’s biggest chocolate exporter, Nestle, always ships its greatest tonnage of chocolate during the week of April 25th. It all has to do with cocoa bean futures, Swiss bank practices, and international export regulations.
One may be hard-put to imagine another day of the year that cries out for recognition more eloquently than does April 25th. We call it Penguin Day.