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