Thursday, November 05, 2009

56 Days to Get Used To It

With just under two months left in the decade, we are all getting ready to make a minor change in our daily routine. From year to year we all have to get used to writing the new year on our checks and such by changing the last digit. Once every ten years we have to change the third digit, and of course, ten years ago at this time, we were all thinking about changing all 4 digits.

When the calender turned to 2000 we all not only had to change what we wrote on checks, but also what we said. For our whole lives to that point the year always began with nineteen, and was nearly always spoken aloud as such. It was nineteen-eighty four, nineteen-thirty nine or nineteen-seventy six. Sure you had occasional fancy person who may put on a wedding invitation "the year of our lord: one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine" but that was really only for finery. In the lingua franca it was always a two number system. Other than that or church or a graduation it was always 19 followed by 98.

Then the millennium hit and we were all confronted with 2000. No one was going to say twenty oh-oh, and unlike 1900 which could be said nineteen-hundred, no one was going to say twenty-hundred either. So we all said two-thousand, or the year two-thousand. We could have broken the cycle after just one year by reverting to twenty-oh-one rather than two thousand and one, but as I have blogged about before pop culture stood in the way.

When Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick put out the book and movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" it was always spoken aloud as two thousand and one: a space odyssey, and so we were preconditioned to say it that way. Add to that fact that no one wanted to sound like grampa Simpson by saying 20 ought two, or something like 20 01 (twenty oh one) and we ended up with two thousand and one, two, three etc.

When the new decade starts in 56 days we all have the opportunity to take it back. We can reserve the two thousand and ten for church, weddings, funerals and graduation and go back to twenty-ten like civilized people. I know it's a small thing but if it enters your consciousness at some point it will be like second nature. After all, most of us converted from the two number system to the one number system rater quickly ten years ago. So why can't we change back? Plus, it's faster to say twenty-ten, which is three syllables, than two thousand and ten which is five. I'm just trying to save you time and revert the world back to one of it's time honored customs. I'm here to help.
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