Can someone please help me with a question? How did it get to be 2020?
It just dawned on me a few days ago that 2020 is here. Yes, we all knew it was coming but some of us tried not to look ahead too far. Now that it is actually here, I still have some problems with the whole concept.
I have had some random thoughts about a new year and decade. Although I know there will be some sticklers out there who will pedantically reply that 2020 will actually finish the decade and that we won’t really start a new one until 2021. So I guess there is still some time left for those of us who were supposed to have accomplished things in what you thought was the decade we just finished.
For openers, I suppose we should be ready for a year of bad puns about eyesight. If I make a prediction will it be a 2020 vision? No few of them will probably come from me. I probably need some new glasses so that I can be sure of a 20-20 2020.
And how did we get here already? How did 1990 get to be thirty years ago? Don’t laugh, this is serious. That makes 1970 fifty years ago? 1970 wasn’t important enough to have been fifty years ago. That was something special reserved for years like 1930 or 1940 when men were men and there were big things to do.
And this makes 1920 a hundred years ago? Yikes. 1880 is a hundred years ago in my book. For crying out loud, a century ago is supposed to be about cowboys and the lawless west where grizzled gunfighters walk through swinging doors and demand whiskey, not about flappers and prohibition. Although they also demanded whiskey, so maybe we can make this work. But the idea that there were refrigerators and electric toasters in the kitchen of a century ago? What is the world coming to?
And what about the veterans? Look folks, here is how it is supposed to work: The really old men are WWI vets while the WWII vets are in their 60s. The guys who served in Korea still have kids at home and those Vietnam vets, well, aren’t they all still smoking joints and saying “man” at the end of every sentence? But now this has all been upended. Can the Vietnam vet of the present day really be as old as the WWI vet of my youth? Holy Moley!
Yes, we are only a few days into it, but wasn’t 2020 supposed to be so much more, well, futuristic than this? We were supposed to eat meals in the form of little pills and live in pods on other planets. Even the flying cars that were supposed to have been here twenty years ago should have been replaced by teleportation by now. But no. Here it is 2020 and I am still dumping my weekly trash into a big can and taking it to the curb. At least it has wheels. The can, not the trash. Trash with its own wheels would be a modern convenience I could get behind. But then, just how many millennia ago was the wheel invented? C’mon people, tick tock!
If a guy in the Midwest wants to go to, say, Philadelphia for some scrapple, is it really still necessary to either drive on the Pennsy Turnpike ( the original superhighway from 1940, which is now 80 years old, thank you very much) or get himself onto an aer-o-plane which flies just like the jets of, what, 60 years ago? Those little bottles of scotch they serve you have not changed much either, so far as I can tell.
Perhaps I am still reeling from crossing that somber threshold of sixty this year. I can’t be sixty because I just bought and ate a box of Sugar Pops. Wait, they are not Sugar Pops anymore, but Corn Pops. Did the regulators knock on the door of the Kellogg company and demand that truth-in-advertising laws require them to disclose that the cereal is really more corn than sugar (if only by a little)? Who says government is wasteful?
Shouldn’t a real legit sixty year old be able to tell stories of shoveling coal into the furnace or about listening to The Shadow and The Lone Ranger on the radio because there was no such thing as television which has spoiled the hell out of you damned kids?All I’ve got is tales of sitting in an air conditioned house watching game shows in the summer until my mother would force us to go outside and find something to do. Yes, we really roughed it in the old days.
And there is really no need to remind me that I am now in my seventh decade. That would just be mean.
But here we are. Most of “the old folks” have passed on, leaving a precious few stragglers. In my own family there are a couple of them who hang on, blissfully unaware of the tremendous service they provide – still filling that crucial role of still being one of “the old folks” so that my siblings, cousins and I can continue to shirk responsibility as part of the group known as “you kids.” Pay no attention to those dark-haired adults milling around drinking craft beer – they are “the little kids”.
I suppose it is time to finally acknowledge that time has a funny way of moving along, like a particular drop of water in a river, with more following along all the time. All too soon I will be one of “the old folks” and my children will be rolling their eyes at the clueless things I say. More than they do now, I mean.
So it is time to buckle up and take it like a man. Unless you would prefer to face it like a lady because that is a perfectly good option as well. There is some good news in all of this – we won’t have to face this issue again for another ten years. We should have more time available then, with the meal pills and teleportation, and all.
Cropped cover of the (possibly foreign language) book “The Jetsons” by Giornalino, as offered for sale by Libraria Peterpan on Biblio.com and based on the Hanna-Barbara animated television show which was originally broadcast in 1962-63 on the ABC Television Network.