Octa (or Octo) is a prefix that comes from the Greek language and it means “eight.” Sometimes people refer to “eight” as “8,” but for the purposes of this article I’m going to use the “eight” option because it will make this post look longer. That’s one of the tricks I used in the fourth grade when Sister Mary Rosemond would assign a three-page paper. Along with writing my words in very large cursive and using as many beautiful, wonderful, magically descriptive adverbs and adjectives as possible, I would never use numerals instead of written-out numbers and I would never use abbreviations. Those techniques, then as now, could easily turn two pages of material into a three-page paper.
Now that I’ve shared that little secret to all my young readers who are still in elementary school through college, I am now ready to provide a little advice on how to remember that OCTA means “eight” — not nine, or seven, or six, or five, or four, or three, or two, or one, or even ninety-nine or ninety-eight . . .
(Oh man, I could have continued on and turned this into something that would absolutely amaze Sister Mary Rosemond. But you had to be careful with her. Had she caught on to my schemes, there is a good possibility she might have whacked me on the top of the head with a five-pound text book. I saw her do that to one of my classmates once. Of course, his transgression wasn’t so innocent as finding ways to turn a short report into a long report. He called her a “snake in the grass” right to her face.)
I got side-tracked there, as I often do. I’m sorry I didn’t get right down to how you can remember that OCTO means “eight.” I remembered it when I was a kid because I’d always think of an octopus, which has eight legs. With that knowledge you’ll always be able to figure out that an octopod has eight feet, and an octogenarian is in his or her eighties, and an octogon has eight sides, and October is the eighth month of the year.
HEY, WAIT A MINUTE! What happened there? My research on that contradiction tells me that the Germans wanted October to coincide with their annual Oktoberfest, which is so-named because it’s customary to drink eight big steins of beer per day to celebrate the autumnal season. That’s why they placed October into the tenth position on the calendar and August into the eighth position. Quite the switcheroo. Now you know THE REST OF THE STORY. [See footnote]
WOW! I never intended for that introduction to be so long. Sometimes I start typing and I can’t stop myself.
Let’s move on to my polygonist activities today. I was no longer satisfied with polygons that only had three or four or five sides. I wanted MORE sides. I wanted to find EIGHT sides, and I didn’t want to have to do it by resorting to one of the thousands of STOP signs in MY Town.
[Footnote: That information was obtained from the historical archives of The Journal of Nutty Conspiracy Theorists.]