For years I marked the end of each day with an X on my calendar. Then for years I didn’t mark it at all, and I sometimes got confused about what day it was. Later I used a diagonal line, from bottom left corner to top right, and sometimes top left corner to bottom right, and then I switched back to Xs during my three years in Germany. Oh, I had a lot fun there, but it wasn’t home. Plus, they are very similar to us—not exotic at all—and they are a lot cleaner, which really annoyed me.
I also had a calendar in my office, a three-year calendar of months that I made, thirty-six squares on typing paper that I drew with ruler and two sizes of markers, and I stuck it to the wall with thumbtacks. On the 15th of the month I drew a diagonal line, and on the COB of the last day of the month I made it an X, both with some ceremony. I still have that; it’s in my scrapbook because a lot people asked if they could draw a line, and after doing do so they added their initials. They, too, were annoyed.
Back in the States, I alternated between Xs and diagonal slashes, but I began to wonder why I was so intent on crossing off the days. What was I counting down to? While being stuck overseas is one thing, but for the rest of my life? I decided I no longer wanted to X the days. For a long time I ignored the calendar, and of course I was occasionally confused.
Then I started working at Exwork. I decided that despite my smart phone, which with a touch of a button I could see the date, I still wanted a physical means of tracking time. So I started Xing the days again. Then two years ago, which seems like two months to me, I found I didn’t like X. Perhaps I never did. There’s something too final about it, like the eyes of dead cartoon characters, and now that I think about it, it’s how many teachers marked wrong answers on my grade school papers.
So I went to my local office store and bought a green bingo dauber. For three weeks I used it, but it was messy and looked too stark with rows of big green dots. I went back and asked for a happy face stamp. They only had one, an odd red version for preschool, a none-copyright version I guess. But I bought it, and I use it, and I like it. All last year, and so far this year, I make every day a happy face on my calendar.
Wife, kids, and grandkids: we should end each day with a smile.