Friday, November 11, 2011

1/1/01, 2/2/02... 11/11/11: The eleventh day is the eleventh hour...

As far as I'm concerned today was Veterans Day. It was payday. It was Friday (although I'll have to work from home over the weekend so it isn't really the end of the work week, but that's neither here nor there). However, by the (arbitrary) means by which we identify our years, it was also the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th-numbered year in this century (but if you started the century—and millennium—on January 1, 2000, it's the twelfth year, but let's not digress about that), and by the way we truncate the first two digits off of years when thinking about dates, that made it "11/11/11" as well.

And there was no shortage of people who placed some level of importance on that. It may have been nothing more than noticing the symmetry of all the 11's and it may have been of great numerological significance, but one thing is certain: There was no avoiding hearing someone mention it. (I heard it on the morning news, and then noticed it trending on Twitter, and that was all before I even got in the shower.)

The same thing has been happening for over a decade in the first part of the 21st century. January 1, 2001. February 2, 2002. March 3, 2003. And so on up through today. Each year since that first of January in 2001 has had the one day where the way we date our checks* (well, with the month as its numeric equivalent, and the year narrowed to only the non-zero part of the last two digits) has had such a day where all three numbers were the same, and every time it's been something considered at least noteworthy for the reason the numbers were all the same.

After 11 of these now, I have to say: The novelty has worn off. And thus now I am filled with a certain anticipation of next year's December 12, which will be touted as "12/12/12" by most but for me will be touted as the last time this century anyone can blather on about the numerical symmetry.

That's not suggesting some won't still find reasons to talk about dates by their numbers, but they will have to try harder. I can imagine in 2013 someone will make a big deal out of November 12. (Think about it for a second.) But there will be no more all-three-the-same days until we get to 2101—which, not to be maudlin, but I don't expect I'll still be around to see.

So there you go, people. You have given me cause to be happy the average human lifespan doesn't extend to 132 years.

(* Not that I write that many checks anymore, with online bill pay, but I long ago adopted the habit of dating checks in what I'm led to believe is the style of the military. For example, the rent check I wrote back at the beginning of this month was dated "1 Nov 2011," so for me, any check I wrote today would not have "11/11/11" up on the line for the date. But that's just me.)

1 comment:

  1. When you figure that Pope Gregory the 13th was really just making up the calendar in the 16th century, all of the date numbers that seem significant to us are really just meaningless. ;-)


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