I, Palindrome, I

There was a lot of attention paid to palindromic dates in the aughts. With it being the advent of the 21st century, social media its trailer, every ’10-2-01’, every ‘010-22-010’ had its day.

‘This day will never happen again!’

You could share said mathematical phenomenon on Facebook to astound your friends, at least momentarily, in order to have them eye their calendar sufficiently enough to remark, “Hey, yeah—neat!” They could then resume their scroll on a less than palindromic algorithm involving cat videos, family pictures, and the latest TMZ gossip.

Thing is, last Wednesday, 3:00pm, won’t ever happen again, either. Same way that October 2, 2001 has come and passed.

I always thought Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken” as something specious, or at least in the way it’s generally interpreted. Rugged and individual, individuals off the beaten path, paths grassy and wanting wear. It’s hugely and completely American.

Still—and existentially speaking—taking the road more traveled makes just as much difference as taking the one not.

Ask the cat asleep waiting pensively in Schrodinger’s box. Also ask the untromped grass, which I figured never wanted wear.

This could be an incredibly cynical thing for me to say. Perhaps I’m being a chin-jutted contrarian of Ticonderoga pencils and sparklers on Independence Day, or in the practice of refusing the blinker and, at the last minute, deciding to turn left.

Left or right, makes no difference. But Wednesday happened last week, and so did today. Remarkable or not, they happened; they won’t happen again. Nor will 10-2-01.

My son graduated pre-school this week, which is huge, and that won’t have an encore.

Every day won’t ever happen again. There are ominous sayings like, ‘the past is not done with you’, but the same could be said of the present, with different intonation, the kinder nature of the present tense. That’s a wonderful affirmation, because what’s fleeting yet speared in the present can never exactly be done with you, and therefore never exactly lost.

Let the days happen then, in chronological order, with the sun probably rising in the east. The days may be unremarkable by their astronomical PLU code, but when they’re of remark—say, as your kid is promoted, or says his first words, or actually puts his shoes on correctly—that’s when you hit the time-clock like a speed-chess player in the park. You hit the time-clock to freeze the present and take a breath before the pawns are once again moved, most likely not on a palindromic day, but a day just the same.

 

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