Going to Church is Hazardous

Today’s Easter Sunday, so I felt somewhat obligated to go to church today. I am a Roman Catholic, but I can’t even remember the last time I went to church. So, feeling somewhat chagrined, I got into my car at 7:20 this morning to drive to church so that I could catch the 8:00 mass.

I arrived at the church about half an hour early, but the parking lot was already full when I got there. Luckily, I was able to hunt down one of the loan spots remaining. Satisfied with the prowess I showed in snaring a spot that wasn’t miles away from the front doors, I sauntered up and into the church. As I strolled up the aisle, I looked around, noting how much things had changed since I last remembered. There were new windows, stained glass murals, some new paint, and a bunch of banners. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “it really has been ages since I was here last.” And then it hit me.

I felt my throat clenching down, making it difficult to breathe. At the same time, my nose started running and my ears started to ring, both feeling like they were going to explode. “This church is trying to kill me!” my panicked brain exclaimed. Something in the church, likely the incense from the Easter Vigil mass the night before, had ticked off both my allergies and asthma. It was making my body turn against itself in a violent way. And I didn’t have any antihistamines, Kleenex, or cough drops. And I could barely breathe. All in all, things looked grim.

But then, a flash of brilliance hit me. I slipped off my coat, tossed onto a vacant space on a pew to save a seat for myself, and then dashed off to the nearby washroom. The doors and lack of good ventilation in the washroom was my saviour. It stunk to high heaven, like usual, but the toxic incense from the rest of the church hadn’t seeped in there yet. The stench was a fair trade-off for being able to breathe. Plus, I was able to arm myself with some makeshift Kleenex, also known as toilet paper. I stood there in the washroom for the rest of the half hour before mass began. Then, I braced myself and headed back to my pew.

All I can say is that I made it. I spent the entire hour-long mass with a head that was on the verge of spontaneously combusting, not to mention my difficulties breathing, but I managed to make it through the entire mass. Then, when the mass was over, I bolted for the doors in the most respectful way possible. Stepping outside, I was finally free of the toxic fumes. In addition, my mad rush to get out of the church resulted in me being one of the first people out, making it easy to get out of the parking lot for once.

My peril at church has taught me a valuable lesson: going to church is hazardous for my health.

Sorry, it’s not the end of the decade

Yes, the new year has begun, but it’s not the new decade yet.  Sorry, but we still have another year to go before this decade is over.  So all of those “Best of the Decade” lists, such as Indigo’s Best [Books] of the Decade, Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums of the Decade, and Destructoid’s The Top 50 Videogames of the Decade (#10-1) are a year early, and therefore moot. And no, this decade is not actually ending with a blue moon.  All of these lists and “end of the decade” events are meaningless, since they are stemming from the exceedingly common misconception.

First of all, a decade can refer any set of ten years, but its main usage is to refer to specific sets of ten years.  The common misconception is that a decade spans from years ‘-0 to ‘-9.  This stems from referring to sets of years, such as the 1980s, as the “’80s decade”.  If a person is talking about the ’80s, they’re talking about the years spanning from 1980 to 1989, inclusively.  However, a decade in this sense actually should span from 1981 to 1990.

This is because there was no “0 AD”.  The calendar starts at 1 AD.  Therefore, the very first decade spanned from years 1-10, the second decade from years 11-20, and so on.  If you refer to a decade as a set of ten years spanning from, say, 1970 to 1979, this leaves the problem of the very first decade spanning from years 1 to 9.  This is only 9 years, and therefore, not a decade.  Whoops, that doesn’t work.  The years 2000 to 2009 isn’t actually a decade in the sense that everybody seems to think it is.

So no, the decade isn’t over, and today isn’t the first day of the new decade.  This New Years wasn’t really any more special than any other.  And all of those “Best of the Decade” lists are pointless, since the decade isn’t over.  But that’s not exactly news, since those lists are basically pointless anyways.  😛