THE ADVANTAGES OF A 13-MONTH CALENDAR
By EDWIN D. REILLY, Jr.
For The Sunday Gazette<>
long, long time from May to December, but the days grow short when you
September. But for some reason lost in obscurity, February, not
our shortest month. Sure, I’d make that miserable month even shorter if
weather would follow suit, but it wouldn’t. So I wonder why we don’t
take a day
from January and March and make each of those first three months 30
days long. The
bankers would like that. And Leap Day, when needed, could be February
placed at some other arbitrary place in the calendar.
from the first to want to tinker with the calendar. The website http://personal.ecu.edu/mccartyr/calendar-reform.html
contains many links to calendar reform proposals. The one I like best
proposed by a French philosopher named, very appropriately, Auguste
(1798-1857), an august personage indeed. Compte’s
calendar was based on the observation that our 365-day years contain
day more than a multiple of 13. Thus he proposed that 11 or 12 of his
contain 28 days, with an unnumbered Leap Day, when needed, following
and an unnumbered World Day following December 28 every year. These
have only the names just cited; they would not bear any of our current
names like Tuesday or Friday. The advantage would be that every month
a Sunday and ends on a Saturday. In fact, then, any given date (that
exists) would be on the same day every year. We would save a lot of
because calendars would no longer need to be printed. Those losing a
conventional birthday need only pick a nearby date to celebrate, or
decide not to age any further beyond the date of adoption of the new
calendar would help family planning, too.
Nine of our current months is only an approximation to the
gestation period of 280 days, but ten of the new 28-day months is a
fit. Those conceived on a Tuesday, say (but “Never on Sunday”) would
born on a Tuesday. And couples married on any given day of the week
celebrate every anniversary on that same day, every year into the
downside is that there cannot be a blue moon (a second full moon in the
in a month of fewer than 31 days (because the lunar cycle is 29.53
Going to 13 months means that we have to name the new one. Compte proposed “Sol,” in honor of the Sun. It would come between June and July. I like the idea of a 4-month summer—Sol through September—confining the other three seasons to three months each. But the Argentines won’t like having four months of winter.
This inability to divide the year into 3-month quarters will bother those fixated on stock-market performances, too. Unless, that is, they accept my proposal, the most serious aspect of this piece. Common practice now is that large companies like GE, IBM, Ford, etc. predict what their next quarter earnings will be and then, when the quarter ends, their stock rises or falls by an amount disproportionate to the percentage change by which they exceed or fail to meet expectations. And the practice encourages the likes of Enron and WorldCom to meet their goals by prestidigitation.
this day of fast and inexpensive electronic data collection, there is
why large firms could not compute their profit every day of the week,
(OK, 30 or so) days of the month. What should be published is the
that profit over the prior seven days. This would greatly smooth out
fluctuations, some of which lead to precipitous swings one way or the
(usually down) because some large firm announces a surprising quarterly
Finally, when we adopt the Compte calendar, we will need a new rhyme to replace “Thirty days hast September…” To preserve some tradition, I propose that both World Day and Leap Day, when needed, follow September 28, not December 28 and June 28 respectively as Compte and Cotsworth would have it. Here, then, is my offering under poetic license number 28282828282828282829282828:
Thirty days hast September,
If it’s leap year, do remember,
Else it has but twenty-nine.
All the rest have equal weight,
They have only twenty-eight.
Edwin D. Reilly, Jr. lives in Niskayuna and wrote this while on vacation during the last two weeks of Sol.