January 26, 1 B.C.
Are you still working on the Y zero K problem? This change
from BC to AD is giving us a lot of headaches and we haven't
much time left. I don't know how people will cope with working
the wrong way around. Having been working happily downwards
forever, now we have to start thinking upwards. You would think
that someone would have thought of it earlier and not left it
to us to sort out at the last minute.
I spoke to [Augustus] Caesar the other evening. He was livid that
Julius hadn't foreseen this problem when he was sorting out the
calendar in 46 BC. He said he could see why Brutus turned nasty.
We called in the consulting astrologers, but they simply said
that continuing downwards using minus BC won't work, as any idiot
can see. As usual, the consultants charged a fortune for doing
nothing useful. As for myself, I just can't see the sand in
an hourglass flowing upwards.
Gossip around the forum has it that there are three wise men in the east
working on the problem, but unfortunately they won't arrive till
it's all over. Some say the world will end at the moment of transition,
and they're spending borrowed lira like there was no tomorrow.
Anyway we are continuing to work on this blasted Y zero K problem
and I will send you a parchment if anything further develops.