Monday, November 24, 2008

suddenly, it's last summer

Today I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR, and while host Terry Gross was talking with actor James Franco (being a baseball nut and a Reds fan, I almost typed it "John Franco"), she mentioned Pineapple Express as a movie from "last summer." My immediate reaction was "no, that wasn't 2007! That was this past summer!"

Then I realized that she also meant 2008. But I have always found this specific "last" formulation misleading. To me, the summer of 2008 won't be "last summer" until at least January 1st, 2009, and maybe not even until June 21st, 2009. Until then, it's "this past summer."

I hear this most often in sports, where a number of talking heads and writers start talking about "last season" a minute after the regular season ends. For the sports calendar to turn over to "last" for me, we need to be in the next season. So for me, the 2008 baseball season won't be "last season" until pitchers and catchers show up for Spring Training in February 2009.

However, this will be my "last" blog entry until my next one goes up.

1 comment:

2fs said...

Relatedly: every once in a while, I'll hear someone, on a Monday, refer to "next Friday" when they mean the very next Friday. Uh, that would be "this Friday"; "next Friday" is the Friday after that (although earlier in the week, it's easier to say "a week after this Friday" or "Friday the Xth," using the date).

A similar issue concerns year names. If someone says "the 1700s," usually it's fairly clear they mean the entirety of the 18th century...but how to refer only to the first decade of that century? (Actually, that phrase does just fine...)