Press-Republican

Columns

July 3, 2011

July significant, no joke

There was a chain letter circulating via email claiming that July is special because it has five Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It proclaims that this happens only every 823 years, and we'll never see it again in our lifetimes. It further boasts that it is enmeshed in some ancient Chinese good luck thing. If you send it to your friends, you'll get rich within four days. If you don't, certain body parts will fall off.

OK, I made that last part up. But the whole feng shui "Money Bags" deal is bogus. Unless you plan to keel over in the near future, you'll see more months with all those Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. And if you're guilty of perpetuating these ridiculous chain letters and are clogging up the Internet by "sharing" them with dozens or hundreds of your friends, double shame on you. This chain letter is simply a rehash of one I saw circulating last year about the months of August and October.

I used to simply hit "delete" each time a "friend" sent me one of these things; but every now and again, I respond by pointing out the nature of the hoax or "urban legend" in hopes of convincing them to cease and desist. It rarely works, and I have succeeded only in creating discord among people who seem to have nothing better to do than to send these nefarious attachments.

Some seem to be harmless, while others are downright dangerous. The so-called cures for everything from gout to gangrene can do more harm than good. Nuff said about that.

To set the record straight about this July thing and 823 years: That's just totally wrong. It happened as recently as 2005 and will be coming up again in 2016. Whenever a month with 31 days begins on a Friday, the calendar reveals a whole bunch of Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. When other 31-day months begin on a different day of the week, they're liable to end up with five Mondays and Tuesdays and whatever. I just checked my calendar and noted that anytime a month has 31 days, there are always three consecutive days during the month that occur five times. Simple as that. The more I look into it, the more it is demystified and debunked. No such months are inherently lucky according to Chinese or any other tradition. But, if you must, go buy a lottery ticket or play the slot machines somewhere. I'm not much interested in numerology, so I'll leave the specifics to clearer heads than mine. If I tried to figure it all out, a leap year would be sure to mess me up.

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