The Truth about Aught 2/22/99

Dear Mr. Steele

I've noticed an alarming trend as I follow your webpage. I'm noticing that a lot of letters (Particularly ones from that Van Grymm fellow you seem to like so much) have become rather lengthy. In fact I dare say that these letters and this Van Grymm gentlemen in particular seem to be attempting to STEELE (he-hehe) some of your thunder. I mean sure it's a humor page but I do believe that the humor should be provided by trained professionals such as yourself. These ameteurs need to get out of your spotlight. Tell'em for me!

A Concerned Stick-in-the-Mud

This letter just reeks of someone in particular ... a Frequent Submitter ... but the Van Grymm eludes me. Name! I meant 'Name!' (Note to self: Come back and fix this later.)

All righty ... on to the topic of the day: The Year 2000.

I read a fascinating article in USA Today ... er ... today. It was all about just what we're going to call the first decade of the 3rd millenium when we're not calling it the First Decade of the 3rd Millenium. I mean for the past hundred years it's been easy. 70s. 80s. 90s. Zeros? It just doesn't fly.

This is actually something I've been asking the people at work about for some time. (Hey, you kill a twelve-hour day in a fascinating way without Internet access.)

The conclusion we came to is that we'll just revert to Aught. Never heard of Aught before? 19-aught-one? 19-aught-two? Seems Aught -- for those few of you who aren't aware of this -- is an archaic word for 'nothing.' Also seems that whoever wrote this article isn't real keen on going back to Aught because no one knows what it means. They seem to think that we're going to need a cool, catchy, hip name for this decade. One staggering intellectual even suggested D1 for Decade One. He went on to say that whoever came up with this catchy name would be an important person. This, I just don't see. I very much doubt that naming a decade is going to get anyone laid.

Still ... if there's a chance of it, I'll give it a shot. What-the-hey.

Fortunately, they printed an e-mail address for us to respond to. So respond I will ... and I'll put the entire letter I'm sending right in this spot for your perusal, Gentle Reader. Be sure to read it here ... I'm sure this will be completely ignored in Friday's edition.

Oh ... and I'm bound to repeat myself a bit, because readers of this letter won't have seen the page.

Just deal with it.

Dear USA Today:

I knew it. I knew I should have stepped-up and named this decade six months ago when the question first began plaguing me. Fortunately I'm not too late.

Everyone can relax ... Mr. Steele is here.

First of all, let's not give the years between 2000 and 2009 some three-character chat-room-parlance name, shall we? Some of us still have to talk to human beings out there, and I'm sick and tired of the strange looks I get when I throw my head to the right and smile alla :) . Don't get me wrong -- terms like Y2K are great if you can barely type and want to discuss that particular bug with 21 of your closest complete strangers in a chat room somewhere. But the problem with it is that it completely lacks poetry. Something along the lines of 'Lack of Foresight version 2.000' would have been far better.

I say, what's wrong with Aught? Yeah, it's archaic ... but so what? It's poetic. It's pretty. I'd wager it was archaic in 1900 too -- but when you hear 'nineteen-aught-one' in a newsreel that's referring to the past, it's amazing how quickly you can discern what they're talking about.

'Aught-one.' Say it a few times. Don't type it ... you'll never be typing out the words 'Aught-one.' You'll type '01. '00 has exactly the same number of characters as Y2K and you don't even have to mess with the caps-key -- so save that argument for the pinheads at the water-cooler.

'Aught aught aught.' Pretty, ain't it? Almost poetic?

We can even modernize it, if we have to. 'Ot.' It's even quick to type: ot4. ot5. Say this out-loud and see if it sounds natural: 'I sobered up for a brief period in the 90s but I was fairly blotto through most of the Ot.'

Ooo ... it's so poetic I got shivers.

I'll tell ya this much ... there's no way I'm referring to a ten-year chunk of my life -- whether I remember it or not -- as 'D1.'It's just too chat-roomy. I'd sooner swack a stickie-note to my forehead that reads 'I never leave the house.'(Of course I'd have to move the stickie-note that reads 'I don't womanize anymore ... who's the blonde?' to the left a smidge.) ( ;) ) (Ow my neck!)

Did I digress?? Bad-beer! Bad!

Anyway I'll be using Aught no matter what you people decide ... and it'll be up to you to figure out what I'm talking about.

So there.

With all my kindest regards for the human race

Iago Steele

Think they'll publish my letter?