Not a special day
by Professor Whyse
by Professor Whyse
Fron has informed me that that today is a special day in the outside world called “leap day.” In every country besides ours, February has 28 days, except when it has 29 days, which happens every 4th year except every 100th year except every 400th year.
“29 days?” Un asks, surprised and indignant, when I pass on the information to him. “Even when February earns an extra day, she still has fewer days than any other month?”
Un finds such a custom symptomatic of the capitalistic and despotic tendencies of the outside world. A philosophy of inequality permeates their society so deeply that it manifests itself in their basic conception of time.
“Like February, the poor stay poor,” Un says, “Once in a while they are given money or opportunity. And then? ‘Just kidding!’ as the Americans would say. Back to another 3 years of being even shorter than everyone else!”
I of course challenge Un to demonstrate a link between foreign calendars and capitalism. After some well-spent hours on hemerological research, Un explains to me that the rulers of old, such as Augustus Caesar, had the habit of naming months after themselves, and stealing days from other months until their own namesake had 31 days. (They are quite foolish to believe that mortal humans can alter the flow of time in any way, for calendars are only artificial constructs. Time is a continuum, infinitely divisible and infinitely long, as beautiful, God-given, and untouchable by humans as the real numbers.1) February, formerly the last month of the year, was the natural target of temporal theft.
But, foreign reader, you must be wondering about our own calendary practices! In our calendary, all months have either 30 or 31 days, as is reasonable. This year, February has 30 days, as does its brother March. The intercalary (leap) day is shared among months as in a cooperative society; this year, May has the good fortune of having 31 days.
Visitors often gripe about our system, staring dumbfoundedly at the discrepancy between the complimentary “Seasons of Philosophocle” calendars we offer them and their cell-phone clocks. Their frowns betray their thoughts: How dare a backwards society like ours inconvenience them with a date change! I beg to differ. It is us who are leading the way in egalitarianism, and the rest of the world refuses to follow.
Some of our banks have caved to the pressure of the outside world. It seems that the date discrepancy has caused many glitches, including the loss of thousands of dollars, and investors going berserk on the phone while the bank tellers try unsuccessfully to give them a practical course in anger management. Here at Philosophocle, however, we are thankfully under no such financial pressure, and are free to pursue the higher fruits of intellectual endeavors.
Dave informs me that many physicists disagree. In particular, it may be possible for humans to be immortal by falling into “black holes”. This, however, does not sound like a pleasant experience.↩