Two p.m. is an inauspicious time. No — there’s no halfway through, or halfway from. Starting at noon or starting at 1:00, it makes no difference. Two p.m. languishes in the same non-urgent, no-account hour as say, 9 a.m. Not much going on. “Hey, Marvin, can I have that report by 2 p.m.?” It doesn’t sound nearly as pressing as, “Marvin! I need that report by noon!” And so 2 p.m. sits on the clock and looks longingly at 1 p.m. and then at 3 p.m. and wishes it were anything but itself.
One day, a military strategist comes along and says, “Two o’clock is imprecise. Let’s make a twenty-four hour clock.” And so, lowly 2 p.m. became “fourteen hundred hours.” Now, there’s a time that struts. There’s a time that salutes. There’s a time that sergeants can bellow across a room and not sound like a sissy. “I’ll see you at fourteen hundred hours, soldier.” And he means that you should be there fifteen minutes before, or “Soldier, you’re late.”