"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Give Your Boss a Goose Today

Happy Michaelmas Day. Today is the 29th day of September. I hope you remembered to buy a nice fat goose over the weekend. Michaelmas Day (the correct way to pronounce it sounds like "Mickelmas") is traditionally the day on which a landowner's tenants would present him with a goose - and pay their rent.

Legend has it that if you eat goose on Michaelmas Day you will never lack money all year. I suppose if your tenants all line up to pay their rents and each one presents you with a goose then you will definitely be sitting pretty.

Michaelmas Day is named after the Archangel Michael, one of whose tasks is to protect us from the evils of darkness. Since Michaelmas Day comes just a week after the Autumn Equinox, the shorter nights are becoming more noticeable now and Michael is probably tightening his bootstraps for another long season of hard work.

Today is one of the four "Quarter Days" in the old British calendar year on which contracts would begin and end and on which servants would be hired. The others are Lady Day (March 25th), Midsummer Day (June 24th) and Christmas Day (December 25th).

Although now less important there are still some notable key events occuring on Quarter Days. Perhaps the most significant is the start of the British tax year on April 6th. April 6th is a Quarter Day under the old Julian calendar and is often referred to as "Old Lady Day". I am sure that some confused senior citizens would be less than flattered to be associated with the collection of taxes.

Perhaps the Canada Revenue Service would look kindly upon you if you drive down to your local tax office and present them with a goose along with your tax return next April. Just tell them it's an old British Quarter Day tradition, but better omit to tell them the bit about never lacking money all year - plead poverty.

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