How Are You Celebrating 12/12/12?

Probably not the way they celebrated back on December 12, 1912.

In what is calling a “calendrical quirk,” but we like to call “the natural progression of numbers,” today is December 12, 2012, otherwise known as 12/12/12. We’ve had a similar day occur once a year (11/11/11, 10/10/10, etc.) since the year 2001, but with the coming of 2013, we’ll be leaving this kind of annual occasion behind us until January 1, 2101.

Perhaps the most amusing way to celebrate is to observe just how little our society’s inclination to note the strange tricks of the calendar changes over the course of 100 years. Check out this short article from the New York Times on December 12, 1912.

The article focuses on just how fun it will be to write out and send letters. “When again a person takes pen in hand to indite a letter with the figures 12-12-12 an entire century will have passed, and the earth will be peopled by quite another generation,” the story notes. They got that right. The Tacoma Times was similarly concerned with writing out the date.

Let’s just assume that this time around, the pleasure of dating letters won’t rank high among the joys of today’s date — not with e-mails, Tweets, and Facebook posts that are automatically dated for us.*

In that sense, today feels a bit like a time capsule. Sure 100 years ago we were celebrating the same calendrical occurence. And 100 years from now, God willing, we’ll be doing the same. But the way we celebrate will likely never be the same.

So how does our generation mark the moment? Well, if you’re not getting married or popping out of your mother’s womb at 12:12 p.m., as one Indian baby did, you’re probably not going big enough. Here in Boston, there’s some popular sentiment that we ought to celebrate our Quarterback Tom Brady. (#12 is already having a pretty solid month even without the cosmos honoring him.) Wisconsin has outdone us, here. The state legislature actually named 12/12/12 “Aaron Rodgers Day” after the Packers star quarterback who also wears the number 12.

If you need an excuse to spend money, the Boston Globe is suggesting ways we can spend $12 or buy 12 items. (Buy a dozen cupcakes! Take a $12 tour of Fenway park!)

One of the cooler celebration appears to be a concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden raising money for Superstorm Sandy, and featuring Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Paul McCartney.

So take note, ye citizens of the futuristic world known as 2112. Here in 2012, we don’t date our hand-written letters anymore. But we do worship NFL quarterbacks, we’re having a bit of a cupcake trend, and we’re still listening to the Beatles.

*We suppose one still has to date some things by hand, like checks. So get crazy and write out as many checks as you can today! (Payable to Eric Randall, thanks.)