Happy Twosday!

Oh, we’re stretching this so far it could snap. But today is “Twosday”, the last time for over a thousand years when we’ll have AW WHO AM I KIDDING THIS IS COMPLETE BUNK!

This is because someone on the internet happened to notice that today has an exceptional number of twos when using numeric dates. Which in of itself is kind of cool. What’s not cool? It’s a PALINDROME! And an AMIBIGRAM!

And it’s 100% bullshit.

Look, date formatting around the world is pretty messed up. Because of colonialism, the International Organization for Standardization, and the rise of computerization (hence the need to accurately determine a consistent date/time format), we’ve got seven order styles combined with three different “ends”. That’s no small task on a regular day to keep straight, especially if you (like me) regularly find yourself having to reprocess date information. And some of that date information really makes one’s head hurt, when you realize that Canada uses two different date formats, mostly because English uses a colonial-derived format, and French uses ISO 8601:

And that’s just Canada! Once we start digging into the world, we start seeing all kinds of variations, some where we start with Year, some starting with Month, and some starting with the Day. (Nevermind that sometimes we also chuck in the name of the day just to make things more verbose.) Mathematically, we have six potential options for our date arrangements, but we only end up with three variations, with the most mobile components being Day and Year; Month is relegated to the first and second positions only, never the third.

Which brings me back to the bullshit. 20222202? Today’s numeric date? It’s never used – anywhere – to denote dates. That format would be Year, Day, Month – one of the variations left off the table. From a numerical stance, it’s kind of a “whatever” result; however, if you think of it as “22 2022 February” or “2022 22 February”, you realize how ridiculous it sounds to put the Year (a very infrequently-changing value) next to the Day (the most frequently-changing value, if you don’t include the time). This is why the ISO 8601 format exists, to eliminate the differences and keep things simple:

YEAR MONTH DAY (and time, which ISO 8601 also covers, but I’m ignoring here)

Which would make today’s date 20220222, which still has a lot of twos, but it doesn’t read the same backwards (that would be on the 20th day of a mythical 22nd month, in the year 2220).

And the ambigram? (Which reads the same when upside down and backwards.) Even if you ignored the date format, you could only get away with this if you used an LCD font, where the 2 and the 5 are mirror images of each other. If you use a regular font, like the one you see here, you’d only hedgingly agree that it’s ambigram.

But hey, it’s for the number nerds, right? The ones who love seeing 11:11 or 4:20 every day? Yeah, sure okay, but this seems like too far a stretch. Just to make an ordinary day special.

Though, hey, it’s been two years of a pandemic. We’re almost into Year 3. And … well … actually, we could use a bit of special. Even if seems forced. Because it gives us something other than the same drudgery, the same feeling of being trapped in the ennui.

So, actually, y’know what, the heck with it – Happy Twosday, everyone! It’ll be the last on a(n English) Tuesday (22 February 2222 will be a Friday, assuming the same calendar is in use by then).

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