How I Celebrated “Josh Kornbluth Day” in Berkeley
A few months ago I got an email from a very nice woman asking me whether I would like for a day to be proclaimed “Josh Kornbluth Day” in Berkeley. I was pretty sure she was kidding, but I wrote back and said, “Sure.”
A week or so later I got another email from her, asking whether April 29 would be a good day for me. I wrote back, saying, “Sure.”
Then she send me a third email, asking me to draft the proclamation for Josh Kornbluth Day in Berkeley. This threw me for a loop, as I have spent about a quarter-century writing in a style that leans heavily on self-deprecation. So I did what comes naturally to me: I procrastinated.
Eventually the woman wrote back to me, asking (nicely) how my proclamation draft was coming along. I read that email, clenched internally, and moved on.
Then, about a week ago, she wrote back — this time with more urgency. Was I having a problem coming up with a draft? Might I want someone to help me with it? After all, Josh Kornbluth Day was rapidly approaching, and Mayor Tom Bates’s staff would need something to work with as they crafted the final proclamation wording. I replied, somewhat testily, that it seemed weird to me that a city that was offering me the high honor of a day would not already know stuff about me; but of course, this was just some more procrastination on my part.
Later that evening, I finally wrote a draft of the proclamation. I wrote about my love for the city of Berkeley, and about my pride in Berkeley’s progressive heritage. I resisted the impulse to add a passage about the sense of entitlement that we in Berkeley often seem to fall prey to. I also chose not to mention the feelings of dread and self-loathing that have, of late, frequently spiked my waking hours. It just seemed to me that a “Josh Kornbluth Day” Proclamation should be more, you know, upbeat.
And then I sent in my draft proclamation to the nice woman, and she said it was great — and that now all I needed to do was show up at the City Council chambers by 7 p.m. on April 29.
So yesterday, April 29, my wife and son and I showed up at the Berkeley City Council chambers at 7 p.m. And it turns out that, aside from that nice woman (who was there), no one else was aware that it was Josh Kornbluth Day. Apparently, the task of finalizing the “Josh Kornbluth Day” declaration had been the task of an aide to Mayor Tom Bates, and that aide had spaced it out, and in any case had left the building for the day. Mayor Bates and the nice woman told me that Josh Kornbluth Day would be rescheduled — and possibly even be extended into a Josh Kornbluth Week.
And so my wife and son and I walked home. And I have to tell you, I felt great! It was a beautiful evening, and as far as I knew all my loved ones were safe. Plus, there was an overall vibe of disorganization, of fucked-up-ness, that — come to think of it — felt perfect for Josh Kornbluth Day.
So, okay, maybe in a week or so there will be another, official Josh Kornbluth Day event — but what I’m telling you is, it really was yesterday, April 29, 2014. And it went off without a hitch.