Those Gregorians Should Have Done the Math

Thirty days hath September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31, except for stupid February.

Apparently, February didn’t get the memo, or just doesn’t care. Every four years (or, to be precise, whenever the year’s number can be evenly divided by four), it even changes its mind about how long it wants to be.

And who’s to blame for this boondoggle? Jolly old Pope Gregory XIII and those pesky Gregorians, that’s who. Not content just to chant their days away, they insisted on fiddling with how their Julian forebears had divvied things up.

Among other things, they demoted the delightful month named for the Greek goddess, Maia, a couple of notches from its position as Month #3. They simply slipped two new months (January and February) willy-nilly to the head of the queue.

At least, that’s how some folks explain how May became the fifth month. I can’t say for sure, because I wasn’t around in 1582 when Pope G. and his cronies foisted their new calendar onto an unsuspecting world.

Their motivation, we’re told, was to address the fact that Easter kept bouncing from one end of the year to another, causing major heartache and grief.

What I want to know is, didn’t these birds have a calculator? Or even an abacus?

Where is the logic in having seven long months, four short ones and an itty-bitty one to round

things off? I mean, do the math, guys.

We all more or less agree the year is 365 days long. Except for Sadie Hawkins Year, when it puffs up to 366, give or take the odd millisecond that only earnest young nerds domiciled in their parents’ basements give a fig about.

Had anyone on Team Greg sought my advice, I would have proposed a simple solution.

Take 365 and divide by 13. Presto, 13 months of 28 days each. A dream for calculating when payday falls, or the mortgage is due, since every month would start on the same day of the week.

We could even pay homage to the G-men by naming the new month Gregorius or something.

“But,” you interject, “365 divided by 13 is more than 28. It’s actually 28.076923!”

To which I reply, “Big deal. Those point-somethings only add up to one extra day a year. Just tack that on after December 28, but don’t count it as part of a month. Sort of a year-end bonus for good behaviour. With pay, of course.”

“But what about leap year?” I hear you protest.

“Fiddle-dee-dee,” I rejoin. “Just take a second bonus day whenever the year is divisible by four. Kind of like it is now, except without lengthening the most miserable month of all.”

As for those free-floating milliseconds, let the brainiacs at M.I.T. sort that out.

If all else fails, the National Research Council could quietly add or subtract a smidgeon on the 10-second pause before the beginning of the long dash.

I rest my case, Your Honour.

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