“The New Week,” by Arthur White

Jun 19th, 2024 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

Our antiquated names for the days of the week are hopelessly irrelevant and should’ve been replaced sometime during the reign of Charlemagne.  It’s true that we still have a sun and a moon (or Mon) but we only think of the moon when making love en plein air and we only think of the sun when it’s too hot or has gone AWOL because it’s January.  We might vaguely remember Woden and Thor (garbled into Wed and Thur) from Norse mythology, but, have you ever given them a serious thought?  How did a good Roman like Saturn wander in among these horn-hatted Vikings?  Anyway, can you name a classical deity more obscure than Saturn?  As for “Tue” and “Fri,” I neither know nor care who they are.  Perhaps they used to be worshipped in the Seychelles Islands.

So, I’m proposing a new week in which days have names appropriate to our times.  Because the weekend should actually be the week end, the New Week begins on what we used to call Monday, but which is now to be called…

Sisyphus Day

Sisyphus, if your memory for mythology has atrophied a bit, is the guy condemned to roll an enormous rock up a steep mountainside in Tartarus only to see it roll back to the bottom every time he gets it to the top.  If that isn’t what starting the work week feels like then I’m a woolly mammoth!  This is one myth that’s gotten more relevant with time!

Pits Day

You probably thought Sisyphus Day was the Worst Day.  It isn’t.  On Sisyphus Day you possibly have a slight afterglow or momentum left from the weekend or else your weekend was so horrible that it’s a relief to get back to pushing your rock uphill.  But what used to be Tuesday is the Pits because by then the weekend past is a dimly-remembered phantasm from a previous life, while the weekend to come is so far distant that even the Webb telescope can’t see it.

Split Day

You’ve probably already been calling the former Wednesday “Hump Day.”  There’s nothing really wrong with that, but “Split Day” is a bit more specific.  Most of this day is indistinguishable from Pits Day.  But once five o’clock approaches this day takes on some of the nature of the succeeding day, which is…

Glimmer Day

Although this is really just another iteration of Pits Day, it is illumined by the first glimmer of hope that you might, after all, survive to see another weekend.

Mirage Day

T.G. I. M. D.!  On this day your heat-oppressed brain over-cooks hope and turns it into a roiling jumble of unreasonable expectations that the dawning weekend will be filled with MARVELOUS THINGS!  You see yourself sipping mimosas under coconut palms, or you’ll meet your soul-mate who’s been searching the globe for someone just like you, or you’ll finally start writing that novel, or even catch up on your chores.  Get real! All you’ll really get is…

Fat Chance Day

There is really a chance that something nice might happen on this day if there’s any time left after you attend the exercise class that you regret signing up for but don’t want to forfeit your deposit, or you take your kids to their piano, violin, guitar, dancing, sky-diving, deportment, Japanese, wood-working, horse-riding, chess, or Mahjong lessons, or their soccer, baseball, football, basketball, rugby, swimming, polo, skiing, pole-vaulting, or paint-ball game at which one of them will be injured and have to go to the doctor and be in a surly mood for six months, or (just as bad) you actually do catch up on your chores.  In whatever time you have left, you may get to do something on your MARVELOUS THINGS list, but it will be disappointing. Which leads us to…

Disappointment Day

You have only yourself to blame if you spend the morning in church.  If you’re religious but not Christian you’ve already blasted a hole in the weekend on Mirage day or Fat Chance Day — also your own fault.  Otherwise, everything on Fat Chance Day applies again on this day except that it is all sicklied o’re by the pale cast of the approaching Sisyphus Day which has you so depressed by the evening that you take to drink (if you haven’t already), which, if overdone, can actually make Sisyphus Day into Worst Day after all.


Arthur White is an old codger who grew up in Orlando before it was infested with that darn mouse, reveled in the decadence of New Orleans for a while, then sought refuge in the nearby swamps.  Because he was addicted to teaching, he never made money and is now retired and living on fumes.

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