“What We Learned From Honesty Day,” by Todd Mercer

Jul 4th, 2018 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

The First Annual Honesty Day was a complete bust. Yes, even I acknowledge that. We all lived through the turmoil, so we all know of what I speak. No one foresaw the tsunami of crushed dreams and ruined marriages and prosecutions.

Those who refer to that day as Bridge-jumpers’ Day don’t help society with their negativity. Please use the original name I came up with, if you must discuss it. Yes, I know how many died that day. Thank you for keeping me informed, fellow Americans. I am not accepting more voicemail.

The three month suspension (with pay) my supervisor placed me on after the Honesty Dayrelated media attention died down gave me a valuable opportunity for soul-searching. This is healthy. Between soul-searching and terms of my probationary contract, I can promise that the next holiday declared by the Office of New Holidays will be:

  • Fun
  • Carefully thought through, repercussion-wise
  • Free of tearful confessions, bad news or rapid emotional down-spiraling
  • Patriotic (if possible)

One new safeguard we’re excited to introduce: citizen feedback during the potential holiday development process. You asked for transparency, we deliver. Now the average citizen will know about holiday ideas early enough to help troubleshoot. I’m not sure what Beta testing is, but this paper in front of me says we’ll do that too. That must be a good thing.

We’re tripling our market research budget. We’re learning daily from focus groups. We would like very much to get off of probation and regain our dental benefits, since our middle kid needs braces. We’ll be periodically sharing promising potential holiday options with you. Your input is very important to us.

A snapshot of what’s earning buzz in early testing:

  • Selfie Photo Day
  • Watching Television Day
  • You Only Live Once (YOLO) Day
  • Butt-cheek-fest
  • Purim

Hopefully the point of each potential holiday is self-evident. Among the main criticisms we fielded regarding Honesty Day: there were as many different, incongruent understandings of how to celebrate it as “celebrants.” In every way, Honesty Day was Complicated, yet people prefer Simple.

Roger that. You the people speak, we the Office of New Holidays listen. That’s what you can expect. We’re here for you.

On a personal note, and not speaking for this office, thanks to the District of Columbia’s metropolitan police for keeping my family relatively unharmed, and for weeding out harmless cranks from credible death threats over the last three months. Special appreciation also to the Silver Spring, Maryland fire department, who assisted when D.C. fire-fighters were overwhelmed by the second pipe bomb disaster.

To confirm, there will be no Second Annual Honesty Day. Please stop sending letters. We hear you, we understand you’re unhappy. Even a government office can grow and evolve.

Many of you will love what’s bouncing around in the Ideas Hopper. Will the next special occasion be:

  • Compliment Day?
  • National Buffet Day?
  • Too Well to Go to Work Day?

We welcome your input, honestly.


Todd Mercer won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Prize for Poetry (2016), the National Writers Series Poetry Prize (2016) and the Grand Rapids Festival Flash Fiction Award (2015). His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s recent poetry and fiction appear in Eunoia Review, The Lake, Literary Orphans, Michigana, Plum Tree Tavern, Red Eft Review, Split Lip Magazine and Vending Machine Press. Mercer and his wife Michaeleen Kelly recently made their motion picture acting debuts in Return of the Scarecrow.


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