Today it’s March 31st. Why? I’d like to avoid being an April fool, and the expected computer virus, though I plan not to use the computer beyond the 30 minutes I already risked using it. We got through Y2K – January Fool’s Day 2000?
On April Fool’s Day, April 1st, it is often the custom to fool someone – say that a worm is crawling up their back, shout “Watch it!” as if warning of a lurking danger. Among friends or foes it can all be in fun, or nasty – the type of joke intended. I could tell you all in the group that I have a book being published, that I won several million dollars. Would you believe me? Why not? But I’d have to say “April Fools.”
So today is April 1st. Depending on where you are in the world no, it’s still March 31 or could be starting to be April 2. This applies to the whole world. Yet it seems to me, half the world at this time should be October 1st – fooling around here. You see I always thought, April being a spring month, the first begin the twelfth day. In South Africa, Most of South America, Australia and Antarctica, it’s fall. No whether it’s the twelfth day in those places is doubtful, but it’s definitely fall, since the sun has crossed the equator northward. The earth’s orbit not being exactly circular, a little farther out from the sun, the summer-side arc for us in the northern hemisphere is a little longer that that of the winter-side for those in the summer hemisphere – conversely, our winter side their summer side. This amounts to a few days difference. But I like to go by six months: April 1st/ October 1st. I think since it’s all going to winter in the southern hemisphere, it is not April 1st there but October 1st. That would mean they celebrate Christmas on June 25th. I guess New Year’s might be complicated, except it would be celebrated July 1st – that date starting the new year. But we would celebrate it in the summertime.
So who decided our calendar, calendars before ours – how we keep time, based on what? England decided 0 degrees longitude was to go over Greenwich; the equator being obvious once scientifically determined. Today, wherever we are on the Earth, east-west wise is based on Greenwich, England.
New York City is at longitude 74 degrees west, about 40 degrees, 71 minutes north. I wanted to know what point on earth is its exact opposite. I figured it had to be 40 degrees 71 minutes south but the longitude was not 74 degrees east. You need to subtract 74 degrees from 180 degrees, getting 106 degrees east. So, the point I wanted to know opposite ourselves from New York City lies southwest or the southwest corner of Australia, somewhere in the South Pacific, the nearest land other than Australia, maybe a little island. It should not be April 1st there but October 1st – October Fools’ Day?
Of course having exactly six month’s difference between the northern and southern hemispheres would be impossible, or nearly so. February might have 30 days, one or two other months affected. I guess it might be little complicated, but I can’t think of our having two meanings for summer and winter as far as the names of the month are concerned. December is fall to winter not spring to summer.
But I guess people living in the southern hemisphere consider April 1st the beginning of fall. Who are the fools here? Believing what they believe, who gave the northern hemisphere the right to impose it’s way on the whole world? I guess it’s because most civilization was there – certainly the more advanced.
Now I ask the question: what really defines what’s north or south in regard to the Earth? We humans did, from the more dominating and advanced, more populated northern hemisphere. Theoretically, north could be south, south could be north. From space, aliens coming here wouldn’t necessarily be flying their spacecraft seeing our world as we see it in atlases and maps. There’s no gravity to determine that. They’d notice earth rotating on its axis though, whether west to east, east to west. We say west to east. What would they say about Uranus?
So, am I the fool, or whoever – here on Earth or in space?
Is there and April 1st in space? We’d only observe it because of custom. But why not October 1st? Or, by other definitions, whatever?
Maybe we, like Paul Newman in the movie Nobody’s Fool, seen through a window on a snowy day, my photographing him on my TV, as if I’m outside his and Jessica Tandy’s house. Am I a fool to suggest I could have been him inside this movie myself? It would seem so.
by Toby Van Buren