Saturday, January 2, 2010

This Year: Ten Or Oh-Ten?

Happy New Year. Or something.

Isn't New Year's kind of ridiculous? First of all, there are way too many different calendars in use, each with their own New Year's date. There's the Gregorian calendar, the Chinese or Xia calendar, the Swimsuit calendar..

Who was this Gregorian guy, anyway? And why should he dictate the one night that most Americans decide to get wasted?

Actually, that's pretty much every night. What country besides the USA celebrates other countries' independence days simply as another excuse to drink?

Did you know that Cinco de Mayo (which is not even Mexico's official independence day) is only officially celebrated in one Mexican state?

Did you know that Mexico has states?

Back to Gregory: apparently, he was a pope. He was the eighth pope named Gregory. In those days, all you had to do if you wanted your son to become Pope was to name him Gregory. Oh yeah, and make sure he was white, and lived in Rome. And looked good in a mitre.

Letting him die of the Black Plague would probably diminish his chances of ascending to the papacy, as well, so keeping your son in good health was a must.

I digress.

Anyway, Gregory XIII introduced his namesake calendar in 1582 by way of papal bull. This holy cow spread the word regarding the new calendar, goring and trampling those who dared not to adopt it.
Regardless of what Wikipedia says, a papal bull is not another word for a decree. It's a very angry animal that will literally rip your heathen face off.

Gregory's calendar replaced that of Julius Caesar. Rather than feel disenfranchised, Julius quickly realized that his future was in the orange fruit smoothie business, and the rest is history.

With Gregorian New Years come New Year's Resolutions. They suck. What makes otherwise sane individuals think that they'll somehow be imbued with all the self-control that they couldn't muster the year before? I wonder how long the average New Year's resolution lasts. Probably not even as long as Kevin
Federline's career.

Why do we as humans lack self-discipline? I speak for myself here: I'm brimming with good intentions, yet my actions and choices consistently fall short of the mark that my heart and mind have set. A famous author once said: "For what I want to do I do not do."

New Year's seems to be just another quick-fix solution, another South Beach Diet, another HydroxyCut. In reality, it's just another day: according to the Julian calendar, January 1 is actually December 21, so clearly the day itself has no exceeding importance. As P.O.D. put it, "Every day is a new I learn from
my mistakes."

That's the key, I think: not trying to flip a switch. We can't become totally different people overnight; change and growth take time. If we continuously learn from our shortcomings and learn to love just a little bit better, we'll accomplish in time what a thousand different well-intentioned New Year's Resolutions never could.

One last question of utmost importance has been weighing on my mind.

Should we refer to this year as 'Ten' or 'Oh-Ten'?

Obviously, last year was 'Oh-Nine.' So it would seem logical that we would continue to use the last two digits of the year to refer to the year shorthandedly.

'Ten,' though, just doesn't flow. It seems more appropriate when used in reference to my pant size in women's jeans. Don't judge me.

However, although 'Oh-Ten' is still technically equitable, it just doesn't make sense. Nobody says 'Oh-Oh-Nine'. Unless they stutter.

If Gandhi were alive right now, my first, and arguably only, important question to him would be: "How did you abbreviate 1910?" I'm sure that he would non-violently resist the use of any inferior abbreviations.

I guess we'll never know.