Last time I counted there were only 12 months in a year. January, February, March…yep, all the way to December, no matter how you add it up, it comes to 12 – a perfect, though limited, dozen.

Last time I counted there were only 12 months in a year. January, February, March…yep, all the way to December, no matter how you add it up, it comes to 12 – a perfect, though limited, dozen.


And that limit now seems to pose a significant problem for all those agencies, organizations (and yahoos) determined to claim one of them as their own.


Based on some admittedly shallow and less than scientific research, there are at least 65 different causes claiming to own the month of October.


Some of them are highly deserving and worthy of our attention during these 31 days each year. Most of us know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And any of our readers who hadn’t heard must have gotten that message loud and clear last week when they picked up their newspaper and discovered it had turned pink!


October is also, apparently, Diversity Awareness Month, Hunger Awareness Month, AIDS Awareness Month and Depression Education and Awareness Month.


All are certainly worthy of our attention and consideration. And given that we’ve already determined there are only 12 to go around, it’s not surprising there’s a little month sharing going on.


There are also other groups that espouse meaningful causes that have laid claim to October. While it may be tough for Family History Month, Mental Illness Awareness Month, and Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual History Month to compete for our attention with cancer, AIDS, depression and hunger, you can’t really argue with their desire to try.


And there are more: German-American Heritage Month; Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Month; Disability Employment Awareness Month; Polish-American Heritage Month; and Italian-American Heritage Month – certainly all worthy of some level of interest from at least some segments of the public.   


Yet, while the attention on each is undoubtedly compromised by the density of the crowd vying for ownership of October, there’s an even longer list of “October is …” contenders that are simply, well, ridiculous.


If it is actually necessary for every type of food to have a month, you’d think at least they’d spread ‘em around the calendar.


Apparently, October is National Apple Month, National Applejack Month, Caramel Month, Cookie Month, Country Ham Month, Dessert Month, Pasta Month, Pizza Month, Popcorn Poppin’ Month, Pretzel Month, Pork Month, Seafood Month, Biscuit Month, Chicken Month, Honey Month, Papaya Month, Mushroom Month and even Spinach-Lovers Month.


Choosing October just seems suicidal for some. How does either prosper when National Potato Month and National Rice Month fall at the same time. Aren’t those two natural opponents? Potato or rice? Not both!


This may explain, however, why it’s also National Restaurant Hospitality Month, Cholesterol Awareness Month, All American Breakfast Month, Cookbook Month, Gourmet Adventures Month, Healthcare Food Service Month, National Organic Harvest Month and Vegetarian Awareness Month.


After reading this culinary portion of the list, I’ve decided the holiday season has been taking a bad rap for years. It’s not Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s that packs all those extra pounds on Americans each year – it’s all October’s fault!


As ridiculous as all this sounds, at least it makes some sense from a business point of view. If pretzels are going to get a month, the popcorn people can’t let themselves fall behind.


But beyond the ridiculous lies the absolutely absurd.


Do pickled peppers really need a whole month of our attention?


And October or not, I have no intention of going out of my way to celebrate Hug a Texas Chef Month.


And forgive me if this sounds rude during National Courtesy Month, but I absolutely refuse to recognize National Toilet Tank Repair Month.


Something for everyone, I suppose, but I think I’ll stick with the cause adopted by this paper and all the GateHouse Media newspapers and Web sites across Eastern Massachusetts – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last week, we introduced our month-long commitment quite colorfully – by delivering your wicked local news on pink paper. While the rest of the October editions will be back to regular newsprint, we hope it grabbed your attention. We also hope you’ll take time to read and think about the “pink” stories we’ll be sharing in print and online through the month. And remember that a portion of our advertising revenue and paper sales this month will benefit the American Cancer Society in its fight to put an end to this deadly and devastating disease that will impact one in seven women.


None of us on our own can save the world. And even working together we can’t take on every challenge. But hand-in-hand, one cause at a time, we can make a difference. Read, learn, be proactive, take care of your own health, then volunteer or donate.


It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pickled peppers and Texas chefs are on their own.


Tamson W. Burgess is the editor of the Old Colony Memorial and wickedlocalplymouth.com, and the senior editor in GateHouse Media’s Plymouth newsroom.