A Day to Celebrate All That Is Dorky

The Aladdin, via Associated Press The “Dork Diaries” series of books has sold over 10 million copies in less than four years.

 

Even before the celebration at the Great Kills branch of the New York Public Library on Staten Island on Monday, someone had thought up a word to describe it: Adorkable.

What was being celebrated, according to Paula Amore, the information assistant at the library, was National Dork Day.

It was not a legal holiday like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July — banks and post offices (not to mention public libraries like Ms. Amore’s) were open as usual on Monday. And unlike, say, Christmas Day or New Year’s Day — two holidays with consistent, solid, seemingly indisputable names — it may not be National Dork Day but “Be a Dork Day.”

Whatever, as Nikki Maxwell might say in “Dork Diaries,” the series for tweens that has sold more than 10 million copies in less than four years. Ms. Amore said dork day was about self-confidence and self-esteem, about celebrating one’s shortcomings, about not being ashamed of one’s imperfections. The message of dork day, she said, is: “It’s cool to be yourself, no matter what anyone thinks.”

She said she had discovered National Dork Day online and had written to Simon & Schuster, which published the “Dork Diaries,” saying she was considering scheduling a dork day event. Simon & Schuster “sent a kit filled with giveaways for the readers and T-shirts for our staff to wear to celebrate being a dork,” she said, adding, “I consider myself one, too, because I’m 38 and I love Taylor Swift.”

As if the package from the publishing house was not enough, there was more available on the Internet. Zazzle.com, a Web site that sells mugs and T-shirts, had bumper stickers and magnets for “Be a Dork Day” ($4.45 for a bumper sticker, $4.40 for a magnet).

There is a market for such things because dorkiness “is cool now,” Ms. Amore said, thanks to television programs like the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” about four guys who are long on graduate degrees in science but short on social skills. “Kids, they can laugh now and not wait until they’re 38,” she said.

So maybe Monday was a day for plastic pocket protectors, polyester shirts or shorts worn with dark socks and dress shoes. Then again, maybe not. Chase’s Calendar of Events, a compendium of dates, celebrations and observances, does not list either National Dork Day or “Be a Dork Day.”

“We try to keep aware of what people are celebrating out there, but there’s a lot,” said the editor, Holly McGuire. “Web portals smack something out there with no documentation of where it came from. We try to find the documentation.”

The CBS sitcom Michael Yarish/Warner Brothers Television The CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” features characters with big brains but poor social skills.

 

That may be difficult, at least for National Dork Day. Jonathan Pace, a spokesman for the New York Public Library, sent a link to a Web site with a section headed “How Did Dork Day Start?” The answer did nothing to solve the mystery: “There hasn’t been any known or documented beginning of dork day.” (The Web site holidayinsights.com said more or less the same thing about Tapioca Pudding Day, also listed for July 15, but not by Chase’s.)

Then there is “Be a Dork Day,” started by Thomas and Ruth Roy of Lebanon, Pa.

They are veterans in the holiday business, having invented dozens, including “Humbug Day,” “Panic Day,” “Blah Blah Blah Day” and “Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day.”

As for “Be a Dork Day,” the Roys’ Web site explained, “This is the day to be a dork and be proud,” their Web site said. “Wear goofy clothing, don’t brush your teeth, eat yucky food and fall off a swing set.” They also celebrate geeks with “Embrace Your Geekness Day,” two days before “Be a Dork Day.”

So what is Ms. McGuire’s reaction to dork day? “We’re neutral,” she said. “We just want to put things in the book that people are celebrating.”

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A Missing Life Preserver, Last Seen on the Brooklyn Bridge

In what could be a clue in the case of the life preserver that went missing from Montero Bar and Grill last month, a pedestrian who regularly walks the Brooklyn Bridge said he was certain that he saw a man carrying it to Manhattan.

Crime Scene Extra

Michael Wilson writes on crimes in the city.

“It’s not the most typical object,” said the pedestrian, Michael Napolitano, 52, an assistant administrator at New York University’s journalism department.

Mr. Napolitano walks home from work to South Park Slope every evening, he said. He said he believed he saw the man in question on July 2 or 3, but after reading a column describing the theft and how the preserver was first noticed missing June 25, he said he may have seen it that same week, earlier than his first estimate.

“I saw a guy coming out of the staircase, coming out of the Cadman Plaza area,” Mr. Napolitano said. He was in his early 20s, and struck Mr. Napolitano as a tourist.

“Only because of the location, for one thing,” he said. “He was too casually dressed to be coming from work. You kind of get a read for who’s who up there. I’m up there all the time. I knew who else the regulars would be coming from that direction.”

He has no doubt about what the man was carrying under his arm: a life preserver that read “S.S. Montero.” It was a gift to the bar from a nephew of the owner in the 1990s, and had been hanging on the wall, alongside genuine preservers from old ships, ever since. A bartender noticed on June 25 that the preserver had disappeared. The bar wants it back.

Mr. Napolitano has never been inside Montero’s, but he lived nearby for several years and knew the name. “Why would a guy have that?” he asked. “Seeing anything in broad daylight coming out of Montero’s is sort of unusual.”

The bar’s owner, Pepe Montero, found hope in the sighting. If someone cared enough to carry the preserver over the Brooklyn Bridge, maybe it’s being kept somewhere and has not been thrown out with the garbage.

“Any news is good news,” he said.

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New York Today: Heat Wave

Updated, 6:24 a.m. | There is no pleasant way to spin this.

It will be brutally hot on Monday.

And Tuesday. The rest of the week, too.

The forecast high for Monday in Central Park is 97 degrees – the highest temperature since last July 18, when it hit 100. The heat index today will be over 100.

Tuesday may be even hotter. The forecast is for 98.

Unsurprisingly, a heat advisory is in effect for Monday and Tuesday.

Nights will provide little relief, with lows barely getting below 80 all week.

We are sorry. Bring a parasol.

Here’s what else you need to know to start your Monday

TRANSIT & TRAFFIC

Mass Transit [6:22] Delays on G trains northbound. Click for the latest status.

Roads [6:21] Delays of 30 minutes at the lincoln Tunnel inbound, 1010 WINS reports.

Alternate-side parking rules: in effect.

COMING UP TODAY

• Outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan, three New York City Congressmen will call on the Justice Department to investigate the George Zimmerman verdict for possible civil rights violations.

• In the lead up to Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Citi Field, you can root root root in air conditioned bliss as the “T-Mobile All-Star FanFest” continues as the Javits Center. Baseball lovers can try batting practice and meet the sport’s stars, as well as mascots like Mr. Met.

• Tonight at Citi Field, there’s a Home Run Derby featuring David Wright, Robinson Cano and other sluggers.

• On the campaign trail: William C. Thompson Jr. picks up endorsements from Brooklyn leaders. Joseph J. Lhota greets voters at the Staten Island ferry terminal. Bill de Blasio attends a rally to save hospitals in Brooklyn. Eliot Spitzer is on PIX11 morning news at 8 a.m., Geraldo Rivera’s 770WABC radio show at 11:06 a.m. and MSNBC at 8 p.m.

• Attention city candidates: today is filing day for campaign expenditures for the past 60 days.

• The Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series at Wingate Park in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, gets underway with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, the producer behind slews of smooth-crooning 90’s R&B hits. [Free]

• Monday may be the best day of your life. Twinkies. Are. Back.

• For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.

Michaelle Bond and Sarah Maslin Nir contributed reporting.

We’re testing New York Today, which we put together just before dawn and update until noon.

What information would you like to see here when you wake up to help you plan your day? Tell us in the comments, send suggestions to [email protected] or tweet them at @nytmetro using #NYToday. Thanks!

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A Precious Feather

Dear Diary:

Me: Waiting for the bus at Ninth Avenue and 39th Street on a hot June afternoon.

He: Talking to himself as he wanders slowly down the sidewalk. Teeth missing. Dirty, torn clothes too heavy and too many layers for the heat of the day. Pants sag, coat too large, an old baseball cap covering tangled bits of hair. Turquoise and silver rings on his grimy hands.

Leans three plastic shopping bags against the bus sign, each one bulging with possessions, the handles tied with string.

A small white feather, probably from a pigeon roosting on a tenement windowsill overhead, floats down from above, caught in the eddies of passing traffic. Surprised, he sees it in the corner of his eye as it passes close to his cheek and alights on his sleeve.

He picks it up gently, turns it over, holds it between finger and thumb for close inspection. Reaches deep into his bulky coat and extracts an old wallet. Opens the wallet, unzips the change pocket and carefully tucks the feather into the opening. Zips and closes the wallet and returns it to the folds of his stained coat.

Picks up his three bags and continues down the street, still talking.


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