May 31

One more day till tomorrow which, if I have my math right, means it’s today. Today in 1854 civil death was abolished in France. What is civil death, you ask? It’s when a convicted criminal isn’t given jail time but has their civil rights completely taken away, meaning that if someone stole something from the civil dead, the police would do nothing or if someone beat up the civil dead, they would be unable to prosecute, or if someone went up to the civil dead, in front of a judge or the person’s parents or anybody, and murdered the civil dead, the murderer would face absolutely no legal consequence. This was happening in France up to 1854. Today in 1964 the New York Mets played the first extra inning game at Shea Stadium. It was against the San Francisco Giants and it lasted 23 innings and took seven and a half hours. It was the second game of a double-header as well and, at eight minutes shy of ten hours between the two games, it was the longest day of baseball in history (in 1993, Philadelphia and San Diego played a double-header that took more than 12 hours to complete but that was largely due to rain delays, the Mets-Giants doubleheader is the longest day in terms of playing time only). I have a friend whose mother went to her first baseball game and saw a no-hitter. Because of her lack of context, she thought baseball was the most boring, uneventful thing she’d ever witnessed. Something extraordinary killed a potential baseball fan that day. I imagine the same thing happened around hour eight or nine of the double-header from hell.

Today is World No Tobacco Day, which is an anti-smoking holiday but sounds like a great opportunity for someone to start a cigarette brand named “World No.”

 Walt Whitman was born today as was Alida Valli, the great Italian actress and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the great German director. Clint Eastwood was born today as was Joe Namath, whose still waiting on that kiss. 

Edith Hamilton, who wrote the definitive mythology book, and Jack Dempsey, who punched people real hard, died today.

Leave a Reply