How I Lost $100 and Blamed It On cal(1)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011.

True story. Back in September 2008, I decided that this year, I would not wait until the last minute to book my Thanksgiving flight home.

What's the rule for Thanksgiving again? Oh right, fourth Thursday in November. So I busted out cal(1):

$ cal
   September 2008
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
    1  2  3  4  5  6
 7  8  9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30

Whoops, it only shows the current month. So I passed it the year:

$ cal 08
                               8

      January               February               March
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7            1  2  3  4               1  2  3
 8  9 10 11 12 13 14   5  6  7  8  9 10 11   4  5  6  7  8  9 10
15 16 17 18 19 20 21  12 13 14 15 16 17 18  11 12 13 14 15 16 17
22 23 24 25 26 27 28  19 20 21 22 23 24 25  18 19 20 21 22 23 24
29 30 31              26 27 28 29           25 26 27 28 29 30 31

       April                  May                   June
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7         1  2  3  4  5                  1  2
 8  9 10 11 12 13 14   6  7  8  9 10 11 12   3  4  5  6  7  8  9
15 16 17 18 19 20 21  13 14 15 16 17 18 19  10 11 12 13 14 15 16
22 23 24 25 26 27 28  20 21 22 23 24 25 26  17 18 19 20 21 22 23
29 30                 27 28 29 30 31        24 25 26 27 28 29 30

        July                 August              September
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7            1  2  3  4                     1
 8  9 10 11 12 13 14   5  6  7  8  9 10 11   2  3  4  5  6  7  8
15 16 17 18 19 20 21  12 13 14 15 16 17 18   9 10 11 12 13 14 15
22 23 24 25 26 27 28  19 20 21 22 23 24 25  16 17 18 19 20 21 22
29 30 31              26 27 28 29 30 31     23 24 25 26 27 28 29
                                            30
      October               November              December
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
    1  2  3  4  5  6               1  2  3                     1
 7  8  9 10 11 12 13   4  5  6  7  8  9 10   2  3  4  5  6  7  8
14 15 16 17 18 19 20  11 12 13 14 15 16 17   9 10 11 12 13 14 15
21 22 23 24 25 26 27  18 19 20 21 22 23 24  16 17 18 19 20 21 22
28 29 30 31           25 26 27 28 29 30     23 24 25 26 27 28 29
                                            30 31

I booked my flight for Tuesday, November 20th, and forgot about it.

The day approached. I called home just to make sure someone could pick me up from the airport. That's when I discovered that Thanksgiving was actually the following week. I had booked my flight based on the calendar for the year 8 A.D.

What I should have done was this:

$ cal 2008
                             2008

      January               February               March
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
       1  2  3  4  5                  1  2                     1
 6  7  8  9 10 11 12   3  4  5  6  7  8  9   2  3  4  5  6  7  8
13 14 15 16 17 18 19  10 11 12 13 14 15 16   9 10 11 12 13 14 15
20 21 22 23 24 25 26  17 18 19 20 21 22 23  16 17 18 19 20 21 22
27 28 29 30 31        24 25 26 27 28 29     23 24 25 26 27 28 29
                                            30 31
       April                  May                   June
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
       1  2  3  4  5               1  2  3   1  2  3  4  5  6  7
 6  7  8  9 10 11 12   4  5  6  7  8  9 10   8  9 10 11 12 13 14
13 14 15 16 17 18 19  11 12 13 14 15 16 17  15 16 17 18 19 20 21
20 21 22 23 24 25 26  18 19 20 21 22 23 24  22 23 24 25 26 27 28
27 28 29 30           25 26 27 28 29 30 31  29 30

        July                 August              September
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
       1  2  3  4  5                  1  2      1  2  3  4  5  6
 6  7  8  9 10 11 12   3  4  5  6  7  8  9   7  8  9 10 11 12 13
13 14 15 16 17 18 19  10 11 12 13 14 15 16  14 15 16 17 18 19 20
20 21 22 23 24 25 26  17 18 19 20 21 22 23  21 22 23 24 25 26 27
27 28 29 30 31        24 25 26 27 28 29 30  28 29 30
                      31
      October               November              December
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
          1  2  3  4                     1      1  2  3  4  5  6
 5  6  7  8  9 10 11   2  3  4  5  6  7  8   7  8  9 10 11 12 13
12 13 14 15 16 17 18   9 10 11 12 13 14 15  14 15 16 17 18 19 20
19 20 21 22 23 24 25  16 17 18 19 20 21 22  21 22 23 24 25 26 27
26 27 28 29 30 31     23 24 25 26 27 28 29  28 29 30 31
                      30

When all was said and done -- with the change fee and the fare difference -- the mistake cost me $100. But it "inspired" me to actually learn a thing or two about cal(1).

TL;DR: RTFM, or you will pay.

CAL(1)
...
A single parameter specifies the year (1 - 5875706) to be displayed; note the year must be fully specified: “cal 89” will not display a calendar
for 1989.
Posted by Alan on Tuesday, March 22, 2011. (Discuss)

blog comments powered by Disqus
maelstrom

"After a little while I became possessed with the keenest curiosity about the whirl itself. I positively felt a wish to explore its depths, even at the sacrifice I was going to make; and my principal grief was that I should never be able to tell my old companions on shore about the mysteries I should see."

Illustration for Edgar Allan Poe's story "Descent into the Maelstrom" by Harry Clarke, published in 1919.