Popeye Would Approve

For the first time this century, I’m struggling with what to call the New Year.

2010.  Is it two-thousand-ten or twenty-ten?

Personally, I’m leaning towards the former.  Every other year of the past decade has been called two-thousand-fill-in-the-appropriate-number.  So maybe it’s just a force of habit.  When 2000 rolled around, nobody called it twenty-zero-zero or twenty-oh-oh, and that set the precedent.  Why change now?  Maybe twenty-ten rolls off the tongue a little easier, but it just sounds wrong to me.

Apparently, some linguists are up in arms over the whole thing.  They argue that, one hundred years ago, nobody was calling it one-thousand-nine-hundred-and-ten.  Good point, and in another hundred years, I’m sure our descendants won’t be stumbling over two-thousand-one-hundred-and-ten.  But right now, it’s not a big deal to go formal.

Some language experts explain that the way people pronounce years is based more on rhythm rather than logic, and predict that next year, many people will make the switch to twenty-eleven.

Once we come up with a consensus, I’ll have no problem using the common terminology.  I think it’s all pretty silly that there are organizational think tanks having closed-door meetings, trying to figure out how to brand and market the year. 

I’m more concerned with what’s going to happen on the next New Year’s Eve.  There is no way anybody will ever be able to figure out how to make a decent, functional pair of oversized 2011 glasses that the revelers in Times Square are so fond of.  Unless everybody walks around squinting.  Popeye would approve, but the rest of us? 

Not so much.

I’m not sure why we even insist on coming up with a snappy name for every little thing in the first place.  People are still arguing over what to call the first decade of the 21st century.  There have been some ridiculous suggestions – the aughts, the oughties, the noughties.  Ugh.  It’s over and done with, so why does it even matter at this point? 

Things would have been a lot simpler if the world had just ended when Y2K rolled around, as so many doomsayers predicted.  At least then we wouldn’t be worrying ourselves over stupid things like names. 

Then again, if those same doom-and-gloom prognosticators are correct, the world is going to end in 2012, anyway.

We’ll probably still be debating whether it’s two-thousand-twelve or twenty-twelve even as the hot ball of gas we call the sun explodes.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

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