Confusion or Consistency?

by Curt Kovener Curt line

A new decade has begun and the question is will it lead to consistency or more confusion.
Just ten years—seemingly short but seemingly a lifetime ago—we worried and fretted what would happen when we left the previous century for Y2K. Computer gurus made a windfall making us afraid of what would happen at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, 1999. And we found out…pretty much nothing.
In a historical perspective, I guess we should have worried less about Y2K and more about September 11, 2001.
But the new millennium ushered in ten years of confusion: what do we call the year? The first year was easy: two thousand. And the second year was easy thanks to a 1970’s Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
But then our confusion and inconsistency gelled.
Some called the ensuring years two thousand two, two thousand three. Some called them twenty oh 2, twenty oh 3.
Last year was two thousand nine. It was more easily said than twenty oh nine and more precise than twenty nine which could be confused with 29.
So here we are at 2010 and what do we call it? My preference and best guess is that from here on out the remainder of this century (and gratefully I only have to worry about the first half of it) will be twenty-something. Saying two thousand ten is a whole syllable longer than twenty ten.
And by calling the new year twenty ten, we are returning to our earlier habit of the previous 900 years or so. Ask anyone who attended school in the previous century when they graduated and you will hear (as would be in my case) nineteen seventy, not one thousand nine hundred seventy.
Ask someone when they were born and you might be told nineteen forty two because one thousand nine hundred forty two just makes you sound so old.
So for conciseness, clarity and consistency, for the next 900 years we will be in our twenties.
And doesn’t that make us all feel much younger?