The Pun Also Rises: Beware the Ides of March!


This past Saturday was March 15, a date that would be remembered by Julius Caesar if he were still alive, which he isn’t, because he was stabbed to death on that day, although if he weren’t stabbed to death the date might have been less important to him, so maybe he was doomed to forget it either way, especially because he’s dead.

And that’s a great loss. Julius was possibly the second-greatest Caesar the world has ever known. Greater than Augustus Caesar, which is why August will always come second to July. Greater than Cardini Caesar, who invented the Caesar salad, and even greater than Little Caesar, who invented the Little Caesar’s Pizza for people who were still hungry after having salad. The only Caesar greater than Julius was Sid; who cleaned his last schmutzig just last month, and will be missed.

Still, while Sid spoke a wonderful gibberish Roman, Julius was the one who was assassinated on the Ides of March. In Shakespeare’s play, a soothsayer even said some sooth to him, warning Caesar, "Beware the Ides of March!" Caesar didn’t listen, the same way he ignored his advise that said, "You should consider wearing your armor even off the battlefield," ignored the fortune cookie that said "Watch for betrayal in your ranks. Your unlucky numbers are 3 and 15," and ignored Brutus when he said, "I am going to help murder you to death in a stabbity manner."

So, the Ides of March were a bad time for Caesar. But Ides don’t have to be bad. Ides just means the 15th day of any month, from a time when certain days got their own names. The first day of each month was called the "Kalends," which is where we get the word calendar. And the seventh day of each month was called the "Nones," which stands for "None of the other days have special names, as far as I know." There’s no special word for the 17th of each month, so nobody’s going to refer to March 17 as "The Noneteens" or "The Ides Plus Two of March."

Conveniently, we refer to March 17 as St. Patrick’s Day, or more frequently St. Patty’s Day. Although you’d think the traditional food might be hamburger patty (with patty cakes for dessert), more often people eat corned beef and cabbage, or anything colored green. Irish, I knew why. Also, people frequently use St. Patty’s Day as an occasion to get completely inebriated until they have to be driven off in a police van, or "Patty Wagon."

Still, while the trouble brewing may be Dublin around the 17th, it’s safe to say that in modern times, March 15th no longer poses a threat. No, these days we don’t need to worry about the Ides of March. Caesar already got what was coming to him. Although we still do have a day every year where we have to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. This taxing tribulation takes place on the same day that Lincoln died and the Titanic sunk, and unlike Caesar’s death day, continues to be a day that deserves to be feared.

Beware the Ides of April!

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse," and wishes Sid Caesar was still on the air. His website is


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