While reading Grant by Ron Chernow, I came across a quote that ended with “&c,” which I assumed was another shorthand way of writing etcetera. Then, I thought, if that was true, “et” must be represented by the ampersand and “cetera” by c, which made a lot of sense because I remembered from middle school Latin classes that “et” meant “and.” I didn’t know what “cetera” meant, but I guessed that the whole phrase translated to something similar to “and so forth.” (That’s wrong, by the way. “Cetera” means “the others.”) Et cetera. Etcetera. &c. Etc.
It’s weird writing this out. In the moment, it felt like my brain lightning bolted through that entire paragraph of thoughts in a second, but putting it into words makes it sound like I pondered on this for a long time.
Over Christmas break, I visited Pearl Harbor. The memorial has four main historical sites, and one of them is the USS Bowlfin. The Bowlfin is a real submarine that you can tour to get a taste of what life as a sailor was like, which looked like a very tough one. It was cramped, stuffy, and awkward to move in. The bunk beds were packed like sardines and there were so many tubes and wires on the walls that for a moment, I mentally accused an imaginary architect for adding useless junk to the submarine just to confuse people. I have no idea how someone could have understand how everything worked.
But that’s besides the point. The point is, as we were making our way slowly through the Bowlfin (the submarine doesn’t look that big when you’re standing on the deck, but when you go under, it seems so much longer), I spotted an analog clock in one the rooms, but instead of having twelve hours like normal clocks, it had twenty-four. It was an army time clock. Then, standing in that submarine room that made you feel like you were underground and miles away from the sun and sky, I finally realized why army time existed.
It was so you could know whether it was day or night without having the sky to help you.
Another thing I learned at Pearl Harbor
When the Japanese signed the Instrument of Surrender (which ended World War II) on the USS Missouri (which you can also tour at Pearl Harbor), they refused to sit in the chair and chose to stand instead because bending your knees toward your enemy is a symbol of submission. However, before the foreign minister of Japan signed his name, he took of his top hat and gloves, which was an act of respect.
Do you like the abbreviation etc. or &c. better? I would choose &c. because ampersands rock. It’s an awesome symbol AND word, so double win. OH MY GOODNESS, this is the definition of ampersand: “the sign & (standing for and, as in Smith & Co., or the Latin et, as in &c.” Thanks for backing me up, Google dictionary. Do museums and memorials wear you out? By the end of the trip to Pearl Harbor, I was physically and mentally drained. Dude, museums and memorials are tiring, especially ones that are on horrible historical events.