The oldest and most impressive calendar (photo by Ankit Sood,-q0ZLK D7ngl- unsplash.jpg)

     Four hundred thirty-nine days after Julius Caesar introduced his calendar, replacing the old Roman Calendar, he was murdered on the Ides of March 44BC (E). Ironically the Ides was the traditional date on which all debts needed to be settled. 
     The Roman Calendar had advanced three months out of sync with the Solar Calendar and was really out of date, so to speak. Caesar hired a Greek astronomer/mathematician, Sosigenes of Alexandria, said by Pliny the Elder to be the smartest mathematician of the time.  His job was to create a new, more accurate way to keep track of the days, naming the 7th month after his boss (July) and the 8th month for the first and greatest Roman emperor, also related to Julius, Augustus Caesar. But even the smartest mathematicians make mistakes, and he, too, had overestimated the length of the year by 11 minutes and 14 seconds. By the mid-1500s, the seasons were about ten days ahead. Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian Calendar. It became the Gregorian Calendar which now is the standard throughout the world except for the Greek Orthodox church, which still uses the Julian version. Because the earth’s path around the sun is precisely 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45.25 seconds, an error of an extra day per century needs to be corrected. The Gregorian Calendar takes care of this and other minor errors by adding an extra day in February every 4th year unless the year is divisible by 400 (the leap year).
     Time is like a river. It flows past us. Time is, however, relative. It can speed up or slow down. It was Albert Einstein who calculated the faster we travel, the slower time passes. Theoretically, if you board a spaceship that travels near the speed of light, you will not age as fast as your twin who stays on earth. This has actually been proven experimentally. A super accurate atomic clock placed on a jet traveling as fast as a jet can, when brought back, was slower than the clock that remained on earth. Gravity also affects the speed time passes. The more gravity there is, the slower time passes. If you would wear an ankle watch and compare it to your wristwatch, it will consistently be slower because it is closer to earth and, therefore, more affected by it. Time even stops when exposed to the strongest gravitational field there is, a black hole. If we carry this to its (il)logical conclusion, time could actually reverse if exposed to more gravity or travel faster than the speed of light. Time travel? I would, however, not hold my breath for that to happen. We do not have the technology (yet) to achieve that!
     Since my retirement, time does not affect me nearly as much. Saturday or Sunday does not matter. All I know is that there is no mail on Sunday.
     The day I was born was a day like all days. The earth was at a certain place in its travels around the sun. So every revolution of the earth since then, when the earth passes that point, it is my birthday. That marks a year for most of us, regardless if you use the Roman, Julian, or Gregorian Calendar. It is the same place in earth’s orbit. Why is that important? I used to be excited because of the presents I received. Now I am not nearly as delighted to receive presents. After nearly 80 years, you have probably gotten all the gifts you need and a few you don’t, and see birthdays just like any other day except it marks one year closer to our demise! Why on earth would I celebrate that? As Shakespeare said, “To be or not to be, that is the question!” It is only a matter of time!
     That reminds me of my favorite joke. A salesman wanders along a country road and comes across a farmer feeding his pigs. The farmer has an apple tree and lifts each pig up to the tree so they can grab an apple and eat it. After watching this for a while, the salesman asks the farmer a question. Why don’t you shake the tree, the apples will fall, and the pigs can eat their fill of apples? It would save so much time! The farmer shakes his head and says, “Yes, I know it saves time, but what’s  time to a pig?”