Some folks believe that Super Bowl Sunday ought to be a national holiday. Not only should the day itself be a holiday, they argue, but it should be observed on the day after
the Super Bowl so that those who indulge in too much revelry on Sunday can get Monday off with pay (if they should be so fortunate) and without guilt. Ha! The arguments go back and forth, pro and con; after a while they sound like so much blah-blah-blah-blah, with a yada-yada-yada thrown in for good measure. Boring. It gives me a headache.
Now, if you want to talk about a different national holiday I can get behind, it would be February 2, 2020, but for a different reason. It would be a one-off holiday, celebrated by those of us who appreciate the really good things in life, like words and numbers and quirky, nerdy stuff.
So what’s so special about February 2, 2020? Well, of course, it’s PALINDROME DAY! And what’s a palindrome, you ask? (I’m so glad you asked.) According to my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate (11th edition), palindrome is derived from the Greek palindromos—“running back again” (from palin, back, again, and dramein, to run.) A palindrome is “a word, verse, or sentence (as ‘Able was I ere I saw Elba’) or a number (as 1881) that reads the same backward or forward.” Some of you have palindrome names, like Bob or Hannah, and I salute you.
Well known palindromes include these:
- A man, a plan, a canal: Panama.
- A tin mug for a jar of gum, Nita.
- Cigar? Toss it in a can. It is so tragic.
- Madam, I’m Adam.
And there is this one, the longest palindrome I’ve ever seen, checking in at 47 words:
Do good? I? No! Evil anon I deliver. I maim nine more hero-men in Saginaw, sanitary sword a-tuck, Carol, I — lo! — rack, cut a drowsy rat in Aswan. I gas nine more hero-men in Miami. Reviled, I (Nona) live on. I do, O God!
February 2, 2020 is a palindrome when written thusly: 02-02-2020 (or 02022020). There it is, the same forward and backward. Such eight-digit palindrome dates are exceedingly rare. In the twenty-first century there are only thirteen of them, and today is the fourth. The next one won’t occur until December 2, 2021, and after that, we’ll have an eight-plus-year gap until the next. Here’s the complete list, for your edification:
- October 2, 2001 (10022001)
- January 2, 2010 (01022010)
- November 2, 2011 (11022011)
- February 2, 2020 (02022020)
- December 2, 2021 (12022021)
- March 2, 2030 (03022030)
- April 2, 2040 (04022040)
- April 2, 2040 (04022040)
- May 2, 2050 (05022050)
- June 2, 2060 (06022060)
- July 2, 2070 (07022070)
- August 2, 2080 (08022080)
- September 2, 2090 (09022090)
There. Doesn’t knowing this make life a little more complete? I’m sure it does, and you are welcome.
So if you want to celebrate this day, whether for the so-called big game or for the really big deal, the palindrome, celebrate carefully and watch out for the party boobytrap (whatever that is).
And finally this candid admission: Go hang a salami; I’m a lasagna hog.
Happy Palindrome Day!
© 0 2 0 2 2 0 2 0 by Dean Christensen. All rights reserved.