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J. A. Hailey

6/10/20233 min read

What Happened to Centigrade?

Many years ago, in the dark ages before the Internet came into everyone’s lives, I walked into my sister’s bedroom and found her watching TV, at that moment on the weather report segment of the evening’s news. She heard it through, and then asked me, “What happened to centigrade?”

It is amazing that no one had ever asked this question, of anyone, in my presence in all the years I had been listening to temperature information being delivered in Celsius.

But she had asked a most pertinent question. Just one year separated us age wise, and in school we had gone through the same education curriculum, in which temperature was in either Fahrenheit or Centigrade. The amazing thing is that Celsius was absolutely unheard of, and utterly unknown.

It is sure that centigrade was not a person, not capitalized, but was the name given to a system of temperature measurement, with 0° for frozen water and 100° for boiling water, adopted as the reference points to measure 1°.

If Celsius, which seems to be the name of a person, invented the centigrade system, why did it not get named Celsius right at the beginning? Why was it called centigrade for all those years?

But the amazing thing is the manner in which the sudden entry took place, of Celsius in place of centigrade – in an absolute coup!

It happened sans discussion, sans debate, sans information, and without chirp or bleat, leave alone uproar.

Suddenly, centigrade was wiped out of history!

Who did this, and why? Why is most important, because absolutely nothing has changed, other than the name. Amazingly, all of us who knew centigrade, and it was everyone, kept our cowardly collaborator mouths shut, avoiding discussion even between ourselves, even in private, when the name change first appeared.

Of all murders in history, nothing can ever surpass what was done with centigrade. Hundreds of millions of us kept our mouths shut, when news reporters first told us that centigrade was now Celsius. Centigrade was just discarded, and Celsius was put into its place. Nobody even explained that it was the same thing. It was merely implied, and we all began talking Celsius, with, perhaps, a trace of the principles creeping in, of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

What is behind this story, that nobody at all had either the courage to ask about the crime leading to banishment of the old guy, or to make a few enquiries about who the new guy was? No information was ever given for out and in, and it is Celsius until today, with centigrade just as completely forgotten as it was, on the very first day that centigrade was forgotten.

Actually, there was some form of shame, but in reverse, in the background, that would rub off onto anyone who admitted to having grown up with centigrade, and to not knowing that it was always Celsius, all the way through life.

My sister had asked a great question. What happened to centigrade? We’ll never know. It has no backers, no supporters, and that is a shame really, because we all grew up with centigrade.

Who knows, but maybe they are plotting to do away with centimeter next? Maybe some unknown person will soon get his name on to our beloved centimeter, which made things so easy, for so many millions of us growing up in inches and feet, converting hard labor into simple multiplication or division by 10, and movement of a decimal point, one step at a time, to left or to right.

It could happen. They have undoubtedly been emboldened after seeing us all, who should have been natural defenders of the beloved guy, just letting centigrade be tossed onto the garbage heap. What a shame. The kids of today don’t even know the name of this pillar of hot and cold.

But the assassins and schemers know us now for the cowards we are, and are surely plotting their next murder.

What if it is our beloved day of rest, Sunday? What if they now call it Bobsday? Will we even ask who this Bob might be, and what might have qualified him to have our most beloved day of the week renamed for him? Will any of us have the courage to ask for details of the crime committed by Sun, a transgression so serious that he actually has his day taken away from him?

Not a chance. I am sure the world will meekly accept anything they do, these agents of change.

I, too, shall accept, because who the hell has the guts to raise their hand and be counted, and to be identified as a target for the mockery they will heap upon the loyal and the faithful? We’ll all have to play along, fifty-two times per year, as if it was always Bobsday, and that we never knew it to be Sunday. The shame.

Let them change what they want, and crown whosoever they want. We’ll immediately begin addressing impostors by their new titles. We have been trained to do so, by the Queen and her knighthoods.

All I ask is that they let us have some information. Even afterwards will do.

I, AI will be next month.

For now, here is the title chapter from my forthcoming book of short reads.

In the meantime, check out great LOW-PRICED thrillers at these multi-author group promos.