So many things to know, learn in ‘21

For those of us who haven’t been paying attention, we recently went through a New Year’s holiday. It used to drive me crazy when the year changed because I could never remember when writing checks.

But nowadays, checks are fairly uncommon so the problem is not as frequent, but can be more pronounced. For example, I recently caught myself dating a check 1997, and no, I have no idea why that particular year.

The new year has been a little different in one regard: the missing calendars for 2021. During normal times we are presented with a variety of opportunities to help us keep track of the upcoming 12 months. Pharmacies, banks, insurance agents, real estate offices, etc. all provide gridded date guidelines for our use. Some hang on walls, some go in the pocket, some serve as a desk blotter and others are simply wallet-sized cards, but there always seem to be a calendar befitting whatever your preference. I say during normal times, I mean, I haven’t seen many this year.

Maybe some places had them and I just didn’t go there or else they have not been as plentiful. Maybe because of technology, we dinosaurs are the only ones worried about such things so businesses haven’t bothered. Whatever the reason, my choices for free date keepers have been few.

But I recently picked up a little checkbook-sized calendar which not only provides me all 365 days of 2021, but also good-to-know knowledge like every area code in the country, a world map the size of a thumbnail and assorted pieces of information sure to give me guidance in the event of emergency. For example, there is a wind-chill chart. Not only does it convert temperature and windspeed into a convenient “feels like” number, it also classifies just how cold it feels. It explains that -18 degrees wind-chill is very cold, while at -22 degrees it is bitter cold. But beware, -56 degrees is extremely cold. I am certainly glad I have my calendar to help keep that straight.

You know how weights and measures can always be a problem: not this year. My handy pocket calendar has it all laid out for me. Did you know that in apothecaries’ weight, there are 20 grains to one scruple and three scruples equals a dram? I kid you not, you can thank me for letting you know later. There is a problem there though as in avoirdupois weight, 27 11/32 grains also equal a dram. Not that I give a dram, but I really wonder who uses avoirdupois weight.

In cloth measure, 2.25 inches equals a nail and four nails equals one quarter. And of course, four quarters equals a whole football game. In dry measure, eight quarters does not equal $2, it equals a peck. Four pecks are in a bushel and 36 bushels equal one chaldron. This is good stuff. You just can’t make this kind of information up.

When measuring liquid, four gills equal one pint, but it takes two barrels to make one hogshead. I think if I had that much, I would say I had two barrels because saying I have one hogshead just doesn’t sound quite right.

Now where you really have to be careful is in distance where 40 rods are a furlong and eight furlongs equal one statute mile. In surveyors’ measures, there are 25 links to a rod and four rods equal one chain.

Now if you have all of this information down, just remember there are metric equivalents for virtually all of these measures, but I don’t care. I am an American and the only time I choose to use any metric numbers is when I weigh myself because my weight sounds so much better in kilos.

My nifty Pocket Pal also has first aid tips as well the proper designation for all anniversaries, such as the first being paper, the seventh being wool and the 14th being elephant. That’s what it says, I kid you not.

What calendar would be complete without dates. Easter is April 4, Mother’s Day is May 9, Father’s Day is June 20 and Christmas this year falls on Dec. 25.

And the final tips my little calendar offers are words of wisdom provided a week at a time. This week’s thought comes from someone named Robert H. Schuller (I don’t know either) who said, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

And finally, while not in the book, but still on my mind: please wear a mask. We are not out of the woods yet.