Press "Enter" to skip to content

Intellectual Recycling

During the slow news week between Christmas and the New Year, every news organization digs up the news events from the previous year and splashes them across the front page one last time.

Never mind that most of the year’s events are best forgotten. You pick up the paper and say, gosh, why is this poor drunken sap who tried to rob a convenience store dressed in a formal gown back in the news?

Then you realize that it is the last week of the year and the news folks are just digging up bones. And gowns.

This year has an added twist. It is the end of a decade.

We won’t be able to remember the past decade with a snappy name like the Sixties, Seventies or Eighties — because it was the Zeroes. Or the Naughts. Nobody really knows what to call it.

“Remember back in the Zeroes?” sure doesn’t have a ring to it like “remember back in the Fifties?”

Because the decade lacks a snappy name, I expect that this most recent ten year span will be forgotten. Its fashions will languish in obscurity, its music will never be replayed and its politicians will be omitted from the history books.

The powers that be in the media have already decided that the Zeroes were an era to forget, and not just because the decade doesn’t have a catchy name.

Their evidence? The stock market performed more poorly in the Zeroes than during any decade since they started keeping records in 1640.

If you put $100 in a mutual fund in the year 2000 to teach your ten-year-old a lesson in investing, it is probably worth $9.67 or less today — and you’re stuck with one confused 20-year-old living in your basement.

In politics, depending upon whom you listen to, we started the decade with an election stolen by a spoiled frat boy and ended it with an illegal immigrant Muslim Communist in office. Can’t get much worse than that.

Michael Jackson died, which threw the nation into mourning. Hard to know when we’ll recover.

Oprah quit. So did Jay Leno. Tiger fell off his pedestal. We found out that McGwire, Sosa and Bonds were juiced up when they ripped through baseball’s record books.

I can’t think of a single song from the Zeroes that is going to stick in my head. Every time I hear a good song that sounds sort of recent, somebody tells me it is from the 80s or 90s.

Fashion? Jeans and t-shirts are still in. Same as 2000. Nothing has changed, at least in the bargain bins at Walmart.

Cars? My 1999 Ranger can never be beat. This new thing I have from the late Zeroes runs, but every time I see a Ranger on the road, I mist up, longing for the old days.

On a local level, the Minnesota Twins won several division titles during the Zeroes — but division titles mean nothing if you can’t beat the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. The Vikings just kept being the Vikings, but more so. Glimmers of hope, but zero Super Bowls during the Zeroes.

So, it was a bad decade — at least if you spent your days glued to the television, the computer screen, the newspaper or the radio dial.

Funny thing, though. I can’t remember a ten-year-span where I had more fun.

Suffice it to say, the good memories have nothing to do with Oprah, Michael, stocks and bonds, the Twins, the Vikes, or even a new car.

No, the last decade was fun due to silly little stuff I used to think didn’t matter.

Big meals that didn’t have to be made. Parties that didn’t have to be thrown. Trips that I didn’t really want to take. People that I wasn’t in the mood to meet but did anyway. Drives taken for no other reason than to get out of the house. Good times with loved ones and friends who aren’t going to be around forever, and in some cases weren’t. Groups I hesitated to join, but did anyway. Watching birds. Singing old, corny songs real loud.

The key to having a good decade, it seems, is not watching others do their big stuff. It is keeping busy with your own little stuff.

Visit Eric's weblog at

One Comment

  1. osisbs January 19, 2010

    I love this newspaper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *