I was expecting a nice leisurely April—a month of long walks as the trees begin to bloom, front porch cocktails as the temperature warms, and maybe, when the weather was just right, that first up-North road trip of summer. Unfortunately, I underestimated the amount of pressure I’m going to be under. April is the kind of month set aside for awareness raising events, and it will take time, money, and plenty of ribbon if I’m going to participate properly.
I’m sure you already know that April is “Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month.” After all, you’ve had your IBS gifts picked out, purchased, and wrapped for some time now. If you’re planning to leap out and surprise that special IBS sufferer with a present and a hearty cheer of “Happy IBS Awareness month,” well, you may want to think twice. These are not people who deal well with sudden shock. You may want to cross that long, early summer walk off your list too, since they tend to stick close to home. The correct color of an IBS awareness ribbon is periwinkle, and it is worn on the left lapel.
It’s probably a good idea to skip that walk on April 8 as well, since that day’s been designated “One Day Without Shoes.” According to the organizer’s website, the day encourages people to “go the day, part of the day, or even just a few minutes, barefoot, to experience a life without shoes, firsthand.” If, for some reason, you’re unable to go barefoot for a few minutes, the site provides visitors with a list of “Shoes-OK events” and even a way to go “virtually barefoot.” The goal of the day is to raise awareness about the fact that there are people in the world who have no shoes. Please remember, you will not be able to get service at most major fast food restaurants should you decide to participate. The shoeless awareness day ribbon is a shoelace, folded over and pinned, again, to the left lapel.
April, of course, is also known as “Gaypril” on North American college campuses. Yes, it’s spring, and a young person’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. So it’s obviously the perfect time to hold “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Questioning Month.” You read that right, “Queer Questioning.” Even if you’re don’t fit into one of the other categories, but are thinking that you might someday, this month is for you! A rainbow colored ribbon is appropriate throughout the month and is worn – you guessed it – on the left lapel. In addition, the red AIDS awareness ribbon is frequently spotted this month, though this is something of a fashion faux pas, since it’s traditionally worn in December, and again on Oscar night.
If, on the back of your driver’s license, you’ve listed yourself as an organ donor, congratulations! You’re all set to celebrate April as “Donate Life Month.” Go ahead and slap a green ribbon on your increasingly crowded left lapel, to raise awareness about the virtues of donating organs, limbs, and tissues.