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Are for ready for November? Who is, right?
Depending on when you're reading this, November is either almost here or right in your face.
I have to admit I've never had much use for the eleventh month of the year. For one thing I'm never ready for it and wouldn't know how to prepare for it anyway. It's one of the months that sneaks up on you and is just there. How do we all of a sudden end up in something as unpleasant as November?
Every year it's the same. Around this time of year I start counting on my fingers to date a check and am shocked, SHOCKED to realize that summer and trips to the beach are long gone, another October is down the tubes, and we're now in the eleventh month of another twelve-month trip around the sun. It's pointless to say where has the time gone? But where HAS it gone?
(This is how the month affects me while just writing a check. Imagine what must happen if I'm doing something serious.)
You look out on the November landscape and the trees that were once lush and green and then bright red or yellow are now bare. You go outside in November and get hit with strong winds out of the north that are tuning up for the seriously cold winter storms just offstage. By November - the dreaded eleventh month - we know there's no turning back.
Another annoying thing about November is its name. Coming from the Latin “novem” meaning “nine,” November has no business being the eleventh month in the first place. But what can you do? I know all about how it actually was the ninth month in the old Roman calendar; it was probably fine in that rotation. But what good does that do us?
Because July was named for Julius Caesar and August for Augustus Caesar, the Roman Senate wanted to name the eleventh month for Tiberius Caesar. But I'll bet that ol' Tiberius felt the same way about the eleventh month as most of us, because it seems when they offered to name it after him he modestly refused the honor saying something like: “I wouldn't take the gift of that month!” Of course he said it in Latin and that's a loose translation.
And that reminds me. While we're complaining about stuff, I might as well bring up some other annoying things. How come 11 and 12 aren't oneteen and twoteen, to go along with the numbers 13 and 14, huh? OK, deep breath.
To be fair, November has a few things going for it. For example, it's the first month in the helpful ditty, “Thirty days hath November …”
Old hippies will probably e-mail to tell me that the eleventh month begins with the sun in the sign of Scorpio and ends in the sign of Sagittarius. Astronomically, they will say, the sun begins November in the constellation of Libra and ends in the constellation of Ophiuchus, which is the only zodiacal constellation that is not counted as an astrological sign. Thank you, in advance for sharing that. I guess I feel better.
And speaking of numbers, summer will be back in 10 months or so.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly
throughout New England. John’s e-mail address is
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