LXXXI – Take a Flying Leap (Year)

Has anyone ever noticed how time feels like a runaway freight train, going downhill with no brakes, like the more we descend and proceed the faster things go? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed that. It seems like just yesterday, I was in elementary school learning math, and one of the questions to practice subtraction was how old will you be in the year 2000? At the time, it seemed like it was ages away, like eons would pass before that day. But yet, here we are 20 years after that year.

We were told how much different the world would be in the 21st century, how much more advanced society would be. Surprise! Joke’s on everyone! We still don’t have flying cars or world peace. The “united world government” touted in Star Trek is still far distant in the future, if ever (and frankly, I wouldn’t want that, anyway). Some things have evolved, but much has stayed the same, or even regressed, since the 1970s-1980s.

One thing that still remains a constant in everyone’s lives is the calendar. Pretty much the same calendar is used globally. Almost every country, in their own language, sees the months of January through December, Sunday – Saturday and the same weird numeration of the number of days per month. Why are do four months only have 30 days, seven contain 31 days, and then there’s February with its meager 28? Who came up with that crap? And then there’s the routine of the “leap year”, adding a day in February, making it a really strange month containing 29 days.

But why do we have “leap years”? It’s actually a fairly simple explanation, but a kinda roundabout way to get there. Normally, we count 365 days in the year. However, the actual year is slightly longer than that, by roughly 6 hours more (I don’t know the precise number, but that’s close enough). So that we don’t get too far off-track, an extra day is added to the calendar every four years. That extra day is what makes certain years “leap years”. This year of 2020 is a leap year. In fact, every year evenly divisible by 4 are leap years (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2032, etc). The only time this doesn’t apply is years such as 1700, 1800, and so on. Then, the year must be divisible by 400. This is why 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 will not be. Yeah, it’s weird and complicated, and probably more than anyone will ever really need to know in our lifetimes. It’s just some interesting trivia.

I guess the ancient Romans originally had the idea for the weird numbering of days to attempt to coincide with lunar cycles, or something along that line. Couldn’t there just be a new way to simplify the calendar? Like, make 12 months of 30 days, and then there’d just be five bonus days for something like a big end-of-year holiday party🤔🎊. Another possibility would be to make every month 28 days. That’d make figuring out the date super simple: every month would use the same calendar! I guess if we did that, there would actually be a 13th month, plus like one bonus day. That wouldn’t fly, because all the damned superstitious people and triskaidekaphobics would shit their pants to deal with a whole thirteenth month. Society seems to have this strange obsession with avoiding the number 13 at all costs. And what would that month 13 be called, anyway? I can’t think of a name that would go well with the others we have.

Let me toss out a possibility to avoid a lot of confusion in the calendar. Just eliminate the whole month and day thing. Instead of diving the month unevenly into 12 blocks, just take the whole year as one long group. Instead of referring to Christmas as the 25th day of December, it would be called day 359. The first day of the year would be 001-2020.

The whole day and month thing is another point of contention in the world. Depending on what part of the world you’re in, there’s a different way to write it. The US writes mostly month-day-year. Much of the world goes day-month-year. Still others use year-month-day.  Even in the US, there’s no agreement on the way dates are written, as some people, when writing numbers under ten, will include a leading zero, to maintain two digit places; others refuse and use simply one digit. Case in point: the first day of March, for most Americans, is written as 3/1/2020. They’ll also expand it to be March 1, 2020. I was never in the military, but I did spend some extended time in another country, so the “American” dating system bothers me. I would write this example date as 03/01/20. I usually omit the century, with certain exceptions (like I’ll put 06/23/90 referring to 1900s dates). Written out long-hand, it’s 01 Mar 20. I even use the 24-hour clock for the time, rather than the lame am/pm bit. It’s much shorter to write 20:00 than 8:00pm. Using the 24-hour clock, there’s no ambiguity to whether or not day or night is being referred to. My watch, phone and laptop all display the time like this.

Speaking of calendar trivia, the Catholic church is responsible for our current calendar. Back in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced a new calendar to replace the old one, often called the Julian calendar. The old calendar was way off in terms of the seasons, so the new, or Gregorian calendar eliminated 11 days of October 1582, so that the day after 04 Oct was 15 Oct, returning the Catholics’ Easter celebration back to when it was intended. At least that’s what I read on Wikipedia. But then, we all know how totally accurate Wikipedia can be sometimes🙄.

What do you think? Is the calendar fine the way it is, since everyone is used to it? Could the calendar stand a change or two? Comment on my social medias. It could make for a lively debate. Perhaps🤷‍♂️?

Okay, so I toned down my normal level of sarcasm this week. But hey, it’s that weird week which includes the aforementioned “leap day”. Tomorrow is Monday, and we all know how lovely Mondays are in the working world. Let’s get back to that grind (except for those of us in food and retail—there is no such thing as a traditional weekend😂🤨😥) and commence a new week. Enjoy this week and may you achieve what you set out to do. Until next Sunday, be safe and be well.

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