Calendar; The

Standard

I used to be annoyed by the calendar. It could have been designed so much better, you see. It’s all over the place. A year of 365 days is divided into twelve, which doesn’t go into 365. We also have smaller units called weeks, of seven days each. Seven doesn’t go into 365 either, nor does it go into the number of days in a month. Apart from the second month, which is two days shorter than any other, three out of every four years. Why did we not organise things in such a way as to make it easier to work out what day if the week a given date would be, apart from to give a small proportion of autistic people something to think about?

Obviously there should be five days in a week, and 73 weeks in a year. You get twelve regular 30-day months of six weeks each and a special single week at the end of the year that’s conveniently around the same time as Christmas. In a leap year you can extend this festive week by a day. Simple.

I was about to build a giant weapon with which to hold the planet to ransom so as to force everyone to accept my calendar when I realised something terrible: with my calendar, everyone’s birthday would fall on the same day every year. Some people would always have a weekend birthday, while others would be stuck with a permanent Wednesday.

That was when I realised that the problem wasn’t with the irregularity of our systems but the irregularity of reality. I mean, why isn’t a year exactly 360 days long, and why isn’t everyone born at the weekend? Why isn’t a year even an exact number of days? What kind of idiot designed this system anyway?
And that’s how I came to terms with the calendar. By seeing it as a reminder that we weren’t given a perfect universe by an all-knowing benevolent designer. What actually happened is that we found ourselves one day in the middle of a load of stuff that we had to deal with without ever getting a chance to step back and have a think about it all. Our calendar is like everything else. It’s evolved. It’s a bodge job. It’s made of whatever was lying around that worked at the time. If you want any more evidence of its imperfection, consider the fact that its ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth months are named after the numbers seven, eight, nine and ten respectively. You know how cleft palates are the result of the fact that our upper jaws are evolved from a set of sideways insect-style mandibles that a distant ancestor of ours possessed? Well, that. Evolution. That’s why the calendar is OK even though it’s shit.

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