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By Jim Rhodes
So, it’s March. The month in which Alice takes tea with the March Hare and Mad Hatter.
(In case you’re wondering, folklore has it that hares go crazy when the Spring rutting season begins. Hence the phrase “madder than a March Hare.”)
The month of March derives its name from Mars, the Roman God of War, as does the fourth planet in our solar system. In early Roman times, March was the first month of the year. January and February were later added during a reorganization of the calendar.
March is the month that brings us the Spring Equinox (20th) marking the point in the astronomical calendar that daylight starts to win out over the long dark nights of Winter – at least for those of us who dwell in the Northern Hemisphere.
An annual event worth celebrating in my book.
Speaking of celebrations, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day, about which it bears remembering the old saying that “On the Eighth Day the Almighty created whiskey, to keep the Irish from conquering the world.”
You may be interested to know that March begins with National Peanut Butter Lovers Day and Self-Injury Awareness Day on the 1st and ends with Cesar Chavez Day and World Backup Day on the 31st.
Employee Appreciation Day falls – perhaps not coincidentally – on a Friday (5th) – followed by the National Day of Unplugging on Saturday the 6th.
And International Women’s Day is the 8th.
National Napping Day occurs on Monday the 15th, and I’m already making plans to observe the day in an appropriate manner in the horizontal position.
And don’t forget that National Goof Off Day is Monday the 22nd, followed by National Puppy Day on Tuesday the 23rd.
Finally, one of my personal favorites is Pi Day. Yes, Pi. The mathematical constant that we memorized in school when learning how to measure the circumference of a circle. Why March 14th? It’s because the numbers 3 and 14 are the first three digits of Pi, which as you will no doubt also remember from your arithmetic teacher is an irrational number, meaning it cannot be divided by any whole number. Computer projections have run the value of Pi out into billions and trillions of digits with no end in sight.
To that end, I’m inclined to join voices with the March Hare and Mad Hatter in proclaiming the Irrationality of Everything. And that includes numbers.
I have been told that at certain institutions of higher learning scholarly mathematicians doff their lab coats and dignity and celebrate Pi Day by throwing circular pies at one another, although it would seem more logical to me that the pies should not be round at all, since as we learned as children: “pie are square (πR²).”
As for me, as a mark of solidarity with the mathematics community, I’ll sit in a sunny spot in my garden where the first daffodils and crocuses of Spring are popping up and honor the 14th of March by pouring an appropriate libation from a round bottle into a round glass over some spherical ice cubes.
Perhaps I’ll be joined by a nutty bunny and a totally crazed hatmaker. Who knows?