I Vote For Leaving It Blank

The Aughties? The Naughties? The Blanks? Let's just leave this decade nameless and move on with our collective lives.

It was mid-December when I saw a 'best of the decade list' that I realized that this nameless decade was over. Of course I knew that the year was coming to an end, but the last time a decade ended I was anxious about the clocks turning over, caught up in the general unease about Y2K. Ten years ago I was in a park, in the middle of Japan, watching fireworks with the woman who would become my wife, waiting for the world to end. And it almost did at midnight: everyone flipped on their cellphones, causing the system to overload, so all you heard were long beeps.

This is how the world ends - not with a bang, but with a busy tone.

We took all that anxiety from Y2K and spread it out over the last ten years, from terrorist attacks to weapons of mass destruction to airport security to seeing Janet Jackson's nipple to bird and swine flu to a financial crisis to having a black President of the U.S. to cyborg monkeys overthrowing the current order and taking their rightful place as the master's of humanity. (OK, that last one is only mine.) We might have been better off if something had happened on Dec 31, 1999 - an elevator that traps people in a high rise building, a server meltdown in the basement that had everyone's credit card info and precious, precious porn. At least we might have moved past this pervasive fear that has dominated the last ten years.

The experts were wrong about Y2K, just as they were wrong a few years later about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the levels of fame Paris Hilton would achieve and the sustainability of the housing market in the U.S. If we learn anything from the past ten years, it should be that the experts are always wrong.

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