We Have No Palindromes Today

Here it is, February 20th, 2020. AKA 20/02/2020. Also 02/20/2020. And 20/02/20. And 2020/02/20.

Try as I might I can’t find a common date format that offers me a palindrome today, although with only twos and zeros you’d think there’d be some way to do it.

As in many things, the content isn’t all that matters: The order matters too.


This is the order of good dog instructions. First, get the dog’s attention (after all, Rover isn’t always listening); then say what you want. (Note that it’s the same format used for digital assistants — Siri . . . turn on the lights — although there might be more reason to think that Siri and her sisters are always listening. A matter for another day.) (Note also that there is no order at all for cat instructions: Cats don’t take instructions from staff.)

This email/letter requests a
[Background detail]

This is the order of good email/letter communications. First say what you want/need, then give the details that now make sense within that context.

Maybe it’s because the order changes that I keep messing up. In oral communications I still ask my question before securing my partner’s attention; in written communications I still save my question for the end.

Today’s palindromic disappointment is a good reminder that, as brilliant as my content always is, the order matters too.



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8 Responses to We Have No Palindromes Today

  1. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – reminds me of my military writing courses:
    1. get attention (opening salutation)
    2. ask for what you want, e.g. information or action
    3. explain why the information or action is important
    4. conclude by explaining the consequences of not providing the required information or action by the required date.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – That sounds good to me. It might even work with cats . . . Except for that initial “get their attention” step.

    • Jim Taylor says:

      John, your list reminds me of the instructions we got when I got my first job as a copywriter (a writer of copy for radio commercials, not that legal boffin who deals with copyright issues):
      1.Get their attention
      2. Make them realize this is about them, not someone else
      3. Make your case
      4. Tell them to buy
      The last point was the most important. Some of us copywriters (ahem) did a wonderful job of saying why this fridge or car was so good, but forgot to tell the hearers to buy it at Wosks, or Woodwards, or wherever.
      Jim T

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    I can’t resist this:
    Yes, we have no palindromes; semordnilap on evah ew ,seY tooooodaaaaaaay.
    Jim T

  3. 20020202 and 20020222 both feel good. Perhaps honorary palindromes is a category we should establish.

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