“Our life is frittered away by detail……Simplify, simplify,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, the Walden Pond isolationist in 1854.We live in a tremendously complex world. With parents trying to balance the schedules of two jobs, school and extra-curricular activities for their children and business executives trying to be profitable while meeting countless government regulations, everyone deals with complexity every day.
But needless complexity punishes us. Whether its excessive decision points in a software program, a VCR with controls labeled in Hebrew, or that child’s toy requiring 42 man-hours to assemble on Christmas morning, needless complexity is taking its toll. In extreme situations such as Three Mile Island, Bhopal, and Flight 800, complexity reached critical mass and major disasters have resulted.
Tradition has saddled us with a needlessly complex calendar, a holdover from the days of Copernicus. Similar to the complexity of Roman Numerals that prevented the Romans from performing detailed mathematical calculations, our present calendar is nothing more than a cryptic collage of day groupings. Let’s look at a new design for a calendar and the needless complexity of our current system will become painfully obvious.
Thirteen Month Calendar – Several aspects of the current solar/lunar calendar are clumsy. Specifically, not all months are the same length. Thus, there is no correlation between the date of the month and the day of the week. People who are paid by the month earn more per hour in February than they do in March. We have holidays at odd times, scattered unevenly throughout the year.
A new calendar should consist of 13 months each with 28 days (13 x 28 = 364). A consistent 28 day month will mean that the first date of each month is the same day of the week (presumably Sunday or Monday). Further, any given day of the month will always land on the same day of the week. So, if the month begins on Sunday, then every 20th will be a Friday. Thus, this calendar makes the names of the days of the week redundant and may eventually eliminate them altogether. With this system, people who are paid by the month earn the same amount all the time.
A change-over to this thirteen-month calendar would require us to reassign holidays. The regrouping of days into 13 months will naturally alter our loyalty to a specific day to represent Christmas or Valentines Day and we would have a great opportunity to assign them more rationally. Since the normal weekly schedule for most people means that the first (Sunday) and the seventh (Saturday) day of each week are non-work days, holidays could be scheduled to make simple three and four day weekends. For example, Independence Day could be the fifth day (i.e. Friday) of the seventh month. Fixed day holidays such as Christmas and Valentines Day would consistently fall on Thursday and Sunday, respectively. Corporate and business schedules would be much simpler to plan this way. One down-side is that we would no longer know when to celebrate our birthday.
Since there are actually 365 days in a year, not 364, the extra day would be inserted between the last day of one year and the first day of the next. It would simply be called New Years Day, with no weekday assignment. The extra days in leap years would be added every fourth year to make New Years Day a two day event.
By Thomas J. Frey