The Day Of Days

I had a friend in college who had this recurring bit.

Any time something came up that was eventful, notable, or some other moderately-large magnitude, he would put on this wonder-struck nature documentary voice and say:

  • “It is truly the day of days!
  • “This really is the soup of soups!
  • “This is, by far, the game of games!
  • etc.

The funnier part of it is he would only really use it for thing that were maybe competent or slightly-above-average, but were originally anticipated to be absolutely awful. Usually things that pleasantly surprised him, or were unexpected gems in the rough.

Just had these memories come up, and felt they were worth sharing. I had a lot of awful times in college, but it was nice remember this.

They are—truly, and without a doubt—the memories of all memories.

Long linguistic tangent

Linguistic fun fact: this is an expression that might go back to the Proto-Afro-Asiatic language, spoken somewhere around 10,000 BCE!

In the Indo-European languages, there’s generally some special marker you stick on an adjective to make it “superlative”: the most (whatever) of all. In English, we’ve got “-est”, which is cognate to Ancient Greek -istos, Classical Persian -ist, and various others. (We also have “most”, which is cognate to the second half of Latin -issimus.)

In the Afro-Asiatic languages (including the Semitic languages), on the other hand, there’s generally no such marker. Instead, you use a construction like this, from Egyptian:

jmy-r pr wr, nb=j, wr n(y) wrw
High overseer, my lord, great [man] of the great [men]

Because, of course, the “greatest” person is the one who’s great compared to other great people. Similarly, Akkadian-speaking Mesopotamian emperors called themselves “king of kings and lord of lords”: the emperor is the king who rules over other kings, the “most king” one.

Via Biblical Hebrew this phrasing has spread into plenty of other languages, even ones which do have a special adjective marker for this purpose—which is why “king of kings and lord of lords” probably sounds familiar. (And I’m guessing is where your friend got it from, if he doesn’t speak a Semitic language himself.) Similarly, “vanity of vanities”, and the Latin expression saecula saeculorum, usually translated “for ever and ever” but literally “eternities of eternities”.


You have no idea how excited I was to see this title on a collapsible text section.


Would that make it the tangent of tangents?


If there isn’t, I daresay we need a forum for linguistic an literary concerns.

For a fiction (interactive or otherwise) oriented community, discussions such as these are certainly on-topic.

That is, of course, unless someone would like to propose that interactive fiction may be created without any language at all; say, like graphic adventures and same such.


A “purely” graphic adventure might lack language in the sense that it doesn’t have any written language, but I don’t think you could design anything even remotely game-like without it being isomorphic to a language.

Generally speaking games in the abstract involve selecting between multiple options using some formal selection mechanism (like clicking on a hotspot) and there’s your vocabulary (multiple options) and grammar (interface interactions) and that gives you something that’s isomorphic to language even if you don’t want to call it a language outright.


An Army general I used to work for frequently said, “It is what it is.” Whenever he was talking about just about anything. But generally (no pun intended) he used the phrase when he didn’t have control over something.


I was referring to actual words but indeed without a somehow emerging language communication and game mechanics are quite impossible.