The Month of Remember: From '33' By Richard Saul Wurman

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The following is an excerpt from the recent book '33: Understanding Change and the Change in Understanding' by Richard Saul Wurman, published by Greenway Communications.

The Remember the Month of Remember Episode

As the Commissioner of Curiosity and Imagination made the long journey back to What-If from the Pacific atoll of Kapingamarangi, he was amazed by the power of his new iBoysenBerry device, which oddly was coordinated with his new rather self-centered MePhone, and how it allowed him to keep abreast of what was happening far, far away in the land of Could-Be.

For instance, he learned of a new Commander-in-Chief, a young man with great hope for Could-Be. The Commissioner liked the new leader's enthusiasm and revolutionary ideas for change and, using his new iBoysenBerry device, sent a message to him right away with a revolutionary idea: Change the year!

The year as it stands, the Commissioner tapped away on his little iBoysenBerry keypad, delighting in the immediacy of communication, has too many months and not enough days.

Most months that exist now have meaning and carry names lyrical and numerical -- save for July and August, the former named for Julius Caesar, the month of his birth and 44 years later, his death, the latter for Augustus, a month originally called Sextilis (from sextus for six). The original Roman calendar had 10 months, and around 700 BC January and February were added -- January for Janus, the Roman god of beginnings who had two faces to look backward at the old year, forward at the new, and February for either the Italian god Februs or from februa, signifying the festivals of purification celebrated in Rome during this month.

The Commissioner continued, clearly delighted in explaining his new year.

March carries the name of the Roman god of war, Mars. April was called Aprilis, from aperire, or to open because it is a month when buds open, he said. May stems from Maiesta, the Roman goddess of honor and reverence. June is named in honor of Juno, queen of the gods.

And then came the numerical, the Commissioner said. September from septem, seven; October from octo, eight; November from novem, nine. And December from decem, ten.

His idea was simple: Change the year to 10 months of 33 days each, eliminating July and August (named for not the Commissioner's favorite people), which he labeled insert months anyway, and add another month of 33 days at the very end with a very special name and a very special purpose.

I call this new month Remember! The Commissioner said. The 33 days in the new month of this new year is for public service, and would be followed by a two-day holiday in a new month all by itself called Bender (a special two-day month most years, except leap years when it becomes a three-day month), in acceptance of indulgence and to celebrate the upcoming year!

Remember would be devoted to recognition of learning, recognition of helping and sharing with what you can with others, he said.

It will be a wonderful month, remembering family, remembering friends, remembering people who have passed away, remembering those who haven't been as fortunate, remembering to give to others! he said. It is a month of compassion! It is a month, a whole month, devoted to humanity, and everyone has the whole month off to put more time into this in that month!


There are 33 days in January and all the rest except Bender, which has 2, and on a leap year 3 days.

The new Commander in Chief shared the Commissioner's enthusiasm, and also the Commissioner's idea that in January, the inauguration of new leaders should be on January 33!

And this is fitting that the new month of Remember is at year's end, poised at another year's beginning, serving as a reminder of past things done, remembrance of those things to come because, the Commissioner said, it is somewhat Dickensian in that looking back has everything to do with yesterday, but also today and tomorrow!

But in the most pleasing connection of all -- and the Commissioner was, is and shall always be about connection -- remembering connects with learning.

The month of Remember ties into learning because, the Commissioner said with much delight, learning is remembering what you're interested in!

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