2 August 1999

ceci n'est pas un post

When I started this Web site two months ago I was writing and uploading the daily post in the early evening. As I've aged, posting time has inched ahead through evening to night and now, inevitably, into the dawn. Technically, every post is a day late. It has been discipline lite around here, and something must be done.

This kind of deadline creep has some precedence in the history of the calendar. At one point earlier in the millennium, some pope convened a summit on the subject of calendric creep. They realized that Spring wasn't what it used to be, which was because Spring wasn't when it used to be. Three-hundred-and-sixty-five is a nice round number; but as days go it's a hair shorter than our actual year, and each year the seasons were getting a little further ahead. This kind of sloppiness starts to add up after a few centuries and before you know it you're celebrating Christmas on Fire Island in your bikini.

To ward off such a scenario, these Vatican types figured out that they had to strike a dozen or so days from the calendar. So October 2 to October 17, 1374 were aborted (I am making up the dates). To prevent future creep they decided to add a day to February every four years but not add it once every few hundred years, and that way Christmas stayed cold and daffodils kept blooming in February. According to their calculations it should stay that way until the Year 43,986, when another day will have to be obliterated. So far, this cockamamie scheme has worked. For all its supposed anti-intellectualism, the Vatican appears to have had a bunch of brainiacs working for it back then. Too bad they weren't programming computers in the 1980s.

So it was tempting, being Pope of this Web site, to strike a day from its calendar. Poof! No more 2 August 1999, and suddenly D&P doesn't always look like it's a day behind. But that would violate the premise of the site, which is to write every day, and "every day" cannot mean very much if it does not include 2 August 1999, dismal and undistinguished day though it may turn out to be. Another option would be to write twice in one day, but that too would violate the spirit if not the letter of the daily writing code. Stocking up beforehand is cheating.

A third option was to reverse the creep, writing a little earlier every day, by an hour or so, and so in less than a month get things back on schedule. But discipline has its limits.

Which leaves us with this non-post that will hurtle us back on top of the day and out from under the wheels of its hearse. Be assured that no writerly effort, editing, or other human or animal testing went into this non-post. It is filler, padding. Like those missing days in the Middle Ages, or Duchamp's pipe, it does not exist.

So what the hell are you looking at?