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A special day for everything, even gun safety

So today, April 4, according to the National Day Calendar, is National Hug a Newsperson Day.

Though I have yet to collect a hug on this respected day in journalism — journalists want to be loved almost as much as they want to win a Pulitzer — I suspect it’s only because people are too busy celebrating other April 4 national days, including National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day and National Walk Around Things Day.

Besides, my ribs haven’t completely healed after I broke them falling out of bed — no, it had nothing to do with National Hangover Day on Jan. 1 — so I’d have to decline the hug this year.

Given that April is also National County Government Month — imagine the applause potential at the county building when property tax bill calculations are discussed — Las Vegans may have trouble deciding what to celebrate. They might have so much difficulty they’ll have to see a shrink by National Mental Health Month in May.

If you want someone to thank, or blame, for the mounting list of special days, look no further than Marlo Anderson.

Though Anderson is often in Las Vegas — he was here last year for National Beer Day (April 7) and National Safe Day (June 4) and this year for National Technology Day (Jan. 6) — you’ll generally find him at his videocassette digitizing company in Mando, North Dakota. Although that city is small, it has stoplights, which he says his hometown, then 100-person-strong Des Lacs, North Dakota, did not.

“We made mud pies for entertainment there,” he says.

Before writing off Anderson off as a rube, consider his National Calendar Day website often approaches 1 million views a day and his national days trended more than 300 times on Twitter last year.

Those numbers make marketers — and advertisers — swoon.

Anderson began his site after trying to research the origins of National Popcorn Day. Surprised there wasn’t history available, he researched some — and founded his website Jan. 19, 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.

Soon his site celebrating hundreds of day designations with murky pasts became a hot spot for people wanting to honor their favorite drink, food, pastime, animal or cause.

The site charges people up to $4,000 to add a day to the National Day Calendar. Anderson said he gets 18,000 requests a year for days but he and his four-person staff approve only a small fraction.

Jacob and Darchel Mohler of Henderson knew the tenor of Anderson’s site last year when they got a June 4 National Safe Day designation to honor their 13-year-old daughter, Brooklyn. She was accidentally shot to death by a friend in 2013.

National Safe Day comes with a strong message of securing firearms, questioning parents about firearms in homes children visit and talking to children about the dangers of guns.

“We want to get our message out to a lot of people,” Darcel Mohler says. “Marlo Anderson’s website does that. People are thanking us. They know there’s a time to be serious.”

Paul Harasim’s column runs Sunday and Tuesday in the Nevada section and Monday in the Health section. Contact him at pharasim@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @paulharasim on Twitter

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