Beware. Today is the ides of March , a day once enthusiastically celebrated among the common people with picnics, drinking, and revelry. In the ancient Roman calendar, each of the 12 months had an ides (from the Latin to divide). In March, May, caesarJuly and October, the ides fell on the 15th day. In all other months, the ides fell on the 13th.  There is a reason for this, but the logic declined and fell with Rome, and the ides lost their original intent and purpose and eventually came to mean the day that a bunch of guys are going to stick knives into you.

This was thanks to Shakespeare,  Julius Caesar, and Caesar’s pals Brutus et al.  In Act I, Scene 2, of Shakespeare’s history, the old soothsayer utters these words, dripping with foreboding: “Beware the Ides of March.” Pretty straightforward, but does Caesar pay attention? Of course not. And he quickly buys the forum, so to speak, aided by his friends, exiting stage left halfway through the play even though it bears his name.

Despite an occasional pretentious allusion to the Ides of March and the popular song, today’s calendar is pretty much ideless (as ideless as a painted ship upon a painted ocean, to slip in a quick pretentious allusion).

At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies. ― P.G. Wodehouse


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