Jun 3, 2020

TGI…T? When Did Thursday Become a Favorite Day?

Highly personal observations about the fifth day of the week

By Ed Goldman
It’s only one day until Thursday, my favorite day of the week. Named for either the Norse god of thunder or a Marvel superhero (no, not Ant-Man), Thursday has been my favorite day for years. Let me tell you why.

The New Yorker and The Economist magazines usually arrive in my mail every Thursday. The New Yorker is something I’ll devour that evening.

The Economist, on the other hand, is a publication I’ll place on my living room coffee table, opened ostentatiously to a page featuring an article on currency concerns in Equatorial Guinea. After a few days, I’ll take it upstairs to bed on a night when, owing to my having drunk a full pot of black coffee since 3 p.m., I anticipate insomnia. 

This doesn’t always work, however. One night I managed to read five or six pages of the magazine before nodding off. I awoke with a keen appreciation of the derivatives market and the role played in them by the Bank for International Settlement. And, just like the geometry class I took in ninth grade and the time I once allowed a neighbor to explain his containerization business in detail, these are moments of my life I’ll never get back.  

I also used to subscribe to Entertainment Weekly, which also got here every Thursday. But I began to wonder about all of the people and shows that the magazine was gushing about. I hated to admit it, but I never: 

  • Streamed “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” “Red Oaks” or “Marvel’s Jessica Jones”; 
  • Binged on anything but the DVDs of ”Columbo” some years ago. Let me recommend these. If the reason you don’t enjoy watching the reruns of mysteries is because you know how they’re going to end, “Columbo” offers an alternative: it shows you in the first 20 minutes or so not only the identity of the murderer but also how he or she pulls it off. The rest of the program is devoted to watching how Peter Falk, as the title character, pretends to be a bumbling police inspector as he takes apart the killer’s carefully assembled alibi (which Falk, in his autobiography, said was the equivalent of being “nibbled to death by ducks” for the killer ). This was always one show that inspired you to plead with someone, ”I haven’t seen that episode yet. Don’t tell me how it begins!”    
  • Watched any Batman movies since Christian Bale passed the cape to Ben Affleck, who apparently contracts laryngitis whenever he switches from his character of Millionaire Bruce Wayne to Dark Knight Batman, his alter ego. To be sure, Bale did a similar vocal trick—the poor guy probably went to bed each night with a bottle of Robitussin® on his nightstand—but since Bale was born in Wales and was speaking with an American accent, I always gave him a pass. It can wear you down to say “caaaan’t” when your DNA wants you to say “cahn’t.”
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To summarize, I’m not Entertainment Weekly’s ideal target. Based on anecdotal evidence, its ideal distribution points are the waiting rooms of dentists, optometrists and smog-check shops. And not just on Thursdays.

Thursday has also become in the past few years the most popular day of the week to put on fundraising events. This is because event planners assume that Friday and Saturday are still the more popular choices and that they’re being devilishly clever by moving their galas to Thursday. In truth, Friday is still a good day because you can catch people on their way home from work: they’re already nicely dressed and probably angling for a cocktail or three, making them much more susceptible to overbidding on silent and “live” auction items. You know the ones I mean: a perpetual motion machine assembled by humanely treated puffins; or a weekend getaway to Fallujah (“Picture it! You and three other couples at large in the colorful Iraqi province of Al Anbar for three days and what may feel like 47 nights as frantic calls are made to your embassy!”). 

Saturday was always iffy for fundraising affairs because once people had been home from work for a night and a day, getting them to climb out of their sweat-suits, dress to the nines and drive back downtown required more motivation than their knowing smoked-salmon-and-cream-cheese puffballs awaited them. 

So, with everyone now overbooking their events for Thursdays, I have a perfect excuse for avoiding all of them: scheduling conflicts: “I’d love to come to your Save The Rainbow Lorikeet Soiree, it’s a very cute bird, but, in fact, there are seven other events on Thursday—including Monte Carlo Night at the city landfill to raise money for the Floral Society’s Roses Need Not Be That Red Initiative, not to mention the Help Us Send Our Privileged Children on a First-Class European Tour dinner-dance at the State Capitol. They’re going to auction off drilling rights to Gavin Newsom’s hair. So, as you can see, there are a lot of things competing for my tax-deductible dollars.”  

-Finally, Thursday is also the day the city picks up my trash. This gives me an opportunity on Wednesday evening to fill the recycling bin with empty soup cans, the three daily newspapers I read all week and, opened to an impressive story on something I couldn’t care less about, The Economist.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).