Friday, January 11, 2008

What's in a Year?

As I was on the road for work yesterday, I found myself listening to the all news radio station in Philadelphia. During a report the anchor said something to the effect of "Target's total sales were down 5.4 percent for the same period in twenty-oh-six." Aside from not feeling bad that Target only sold 20 bigillion dollars worth of crap rather than 22, I was surprised by how strange it sounded when she said Twenty-oh-six rather than Two-Thousand-Six.

I know I'm splitting hairs here, but isn't it strange? We spent two thousand years breaking the year into two numbers Fourteen-Ninety Two, Seventeen-Seventy Six, Nineteen-Sixty Nine. No one ever says "I was born in One thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventy Six" because if they did you would slap them and tell them go go back to playing D&D or reading the Hobbit.

And yet, we say Two Thousand-Eight, not Twenty-oh-eight. Maybe that will change in two years when it's Twenty-Ten, and we'll all get back to our consistent way of naming the year. In the end I think Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke are to blame for this oddity in human speech. Clarke's novel "2001: A Space Odyssey" was always said aloud as Two Thousand and One... and so when the year came, that was kind of the default. I blame Kubrick for making a movie that you can only enjoy if you are on acid, but that's another topic for another day.

This it the strange shit that bounces around in my head all day long, and I don't know what I would do if I didn't have a blog to use as my outlet to spout this shit out. I do know that Inky would be ready to divorce me by now if only she had to bear the brunt of my inane babble. Have a great weekend, and make the most out of your Twenty-oh-eight!


1 comment:

XL said...

If you start saying 20 08 I'm going to slap you. When you are counting money you don't say it that way so the year shouldn't be any different. If anything you should be saying 20 ot 8 or someting like Grandpa Simpson.