Year In Review

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I’ve heard several people say 2015 sounds like a good year. It’s solid sounding. They say TWENTY FIFTEEN confidently. None of this long, drawn-out TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN stuff. I had a chat with a friend at work the other day in which we did a review of how we’ve been saying the years in our lifetimes, and it was quite interesting to discover that we are very fickle folks when it comes to how we name our years.

When we met 2000, we said it was TWO THOUSAND. It was a huge deal. All of the computers were supposed to pitch a fit, bringing a world of hurt to all of our systems that were driven by technology, and it was to be the end of the world as we knew it. But nothing happened. We all woke up on January 1, alive and well, and still able to get cash at the ATM. WHEW! But no one said it was TWENTY HUNDRED, did they?

But if you look back at history, we named the centuries SEVENTEEN HUNDRED, EIGHTEEN HUNDRED, and NINETEEN HUNDRED. It was SEVENTEEN SEVENTY SIX when the Declaration of Independence was written. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in EIGHTEEN SEVENTY-SIX, and it was NINETEEN SIXTY-FOUR when the Beatles arrived in America. You never heard anyone saying ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SIX, did you? But you hear plenty of folks saying TWO THOUSAND FOUR.

NINETEEN O’ FOUR – TWENTY O’ FOUR or TWO THOUSAND FOUR? EIGHTEEN THIRTEEN – TWENTY THIRTEEN or TWO THOUSAND THIRTEEN? Or was it supposed to be ONE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED FOUR and ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED THIRTEEN? And back in the ONE THOUSANDS – TEN HUNDREDS? Did they say ONE THOUSAND THREE or TEN HUNDRED THREE?

When we enter the 22nd century, will we refer to the 21st century as the TWO THOUSANDS, or the TWENTY HUNDRENDS, as we did back in the SEVENTEEN HUNDREDS? Someone’s going to have to make the call.

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2 responses »

  1. That’s a lot of capitalized long numbers–I think I’ve just found the source of math phobia! As Tom Lehrer said, base 8 is just like base 10–if you’re missing two fingers.

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