Dear Dr. Down-Down,
The uproar about going into the new millennium amazes me. There is nothing mysterious about passing a certain point on the Julian or Gregorian calendar, a point which may be arbitrary at best. In the time the West accepts as 46 B.C., Julius Caesar of Rome reworked the existing lunar calendar of the Roman republic. He didn’t start at year zero. Neither did the Christians, who did not label dates as before or after the birth of Christ until several centuries later when Christianity became a world religion and political entity. The calendar that most of us use, that of Pope Gregory XIII, which was ten days off from the Julian calendar, did not come into official existence until October 15, 1582. Some countries didn’t accept it until much later. For example, Greece did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1923. Also, assuming for the sake of argument that the Julian calendar was chiseled inalterably in stone and the Gregorian calendar was infallible, both being the gospel of time and space, the new millennium will not start until January 1, 2001. Everyone feeling worried or insecure needs to step back and get some perspective. If they think about it, they will realize that every day all of us head into a new millennium, and have been doing so since we were born. All we have to do is count back one thousand years and a day from today, at 365.2425 days for the Gregorian year, with adjustments for a leap year every four years and centennial years if they are multiples of 400 (the Julian calendar counts all centennial years as leap years). We’re not going someplace we have never been.
On and On to the New Millennium,
Teats de Swamp
Dear Ms. Swamp,
A lot of us are worried about the direction hashing is taking as we approach the new millennium. We got trouble, Teats, right here in Hash City, with a capital T, and that rhymes with B, and that stands for Big! The hash is gettin’ too damn big, and it’s pulling us away from what matters.
You letter not only gave me a headache, it disturbed me so much I had a nightmare last night, right after Nurse W. spiked my bedtime toddy, tried to make me kiss her thing, then decked me with a left hook. It started with a vision of Ian Cumming, surrounded by hundreds of rowdy hashers and four untapped kegs of beer . . .
. . . and I saw Ian tap one of the kegs, and I heard as it were the noise of thunder, and from the keg a beastly voice said Come and see. And I looked at the keg and saw, and beheld a white horse and he that sat upon him was named Religious Adviser, and a book of rules was given unto him and he went forth among the hashers ruling, and to rule. And when Ian tapped the next keg I heard a second beast say Come and see. And from the keg there went out another horse that was red and power was given to the FRB that sat thereon to take peace from the hashers, that they should compete with one another and there was given unto him a great stopwatch. And when Ian tapped the third keg, I heard the third beast say Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse and Hash Cash sat upon him with a pair of New Balances in his hand. And I heard Hash Cash say, A weekend’s worth of hashing for a bloated price, and less lager than your groat’s worth; and seest thou pocketeth the profits therefrom. And when Ian tapped the fourth keg, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and beheld a pale horse and his name that sat upon him was Newspaper Reporter, and Death followed with him. And power was given unto them, the four horsemen, over the fourth part of Hashdom, to kill hashing with rules, and with striving, and with money, and with publicity. And when the horsemen had slayeth their fill, only thirteen hashmen were left in the circle with Ian, those that were pure, that hath no rules, that striveth not, that scorned Mammon, and that hid their hashing under a bushel and Ian tapped a fifth keg, and no beastly voice spake, and the hashers drank thereof and were happy . . .
When I woke my jaw was sore and the room smelled of Beast (Nurse W’s favorite perfume), but the revelation was still clear before my eyes, and I started a small hash with no rules, no competition, no money, and so far, no publicity. Right now it’s just we three from the clinic – me, Flying Booger, and Nurse W. When hashing becomes indistinguishable from Spring Break in Daytona and Rumson rises from the ashes to host InterAm 2003, we may take on a few recruits. But our selection criteria will be strict. You, my dear Teats, will always be welcome . . . whether you shave your privates or not!