I think I know what the next big debate is going to be about. Right now, we're stuck in a debate about when the new millenium starts, one between those who know calenders and assert it starts Jan 1, 2001 and those who know people and asserts it starts Jan 1, 2000 and Jan 1, 2001 - that way we get two parties. But I'm looking beyond that debate and anticipating the one over what we call the decade that followies. Right now we are in the nineties, and before that the eighties, and so on. But what do we call the decade that starts with zero? Here are my choices, in order:
WHAT SHOULD WE CALL THE 00's?
|The Aughties||The Zero's|
|The Naughties||The Nothing's|
|Da Nadas||The Zippies's|
For some reason hospital conglomerates (they prefer to call themselves alliances) send me newsletters that detail the cutting edge of medicine and medicinal treatments. The articles come in two forms - one is if you have these symptoms, come in and see your friendly doctor and she can cure you with a new medicine, and the other is if you have these symptoms, there is no cure but you're much less likely to get the illness if you sleep right, eat right, drink right, and get moderate excercise, no matter what the illness is. They had an article of the former variety in the most recent one, that is to say they were announcing that Restless Leg Symdrome -- a disease of middle age -- can be treated now. The symptoms are if you feel a tingling or similar in your leg as you fall asleep, or if your partner (can't leave anyone out by saying spouse) reports that you kick them in the night. They didn't say anything about Restless Arm Syndrome, where your arms tingle or you hit your partner during the night, or Roving Eye Syndrome, where you're in somebody else's bed altogether. I guess we'll just have to wait for a cure.
I watched the Academy Awards the other night, and I was not amused. For people who make a lot of money for playing make believe, they are awfully self-congratulatory. As great a film maker as Steven Speilberg is, the true greatness of Schindler's list lies in the greatness of Schindler himself; the true greatness of Saving Private Ryan lies in the men who fought D-Day and conquered Germany and Japan. As witnessed by their reception of Elia Kazan, the people who make movies about such greats are actually rather petty. They dress up in fancy gowns and indulge in over three hours in a paeon to their own greatness that to the outsider is as boring as watching the grass grow. There was more life on Jerry Springer's Spring Break Fantasy show over on MTV (I am sad to say old enough to remember when MTV actually played music videos). The only sign of life on the show was a nutcase from Italy who did more with emotion and 100 words of english than everyone else combined.
The show prompted two observations that I will share with you. One is that we have celebrities because many of us have not fully progressed from high school. The other is that grown-up jobs don't pay well, while childish ones pay too well. Coal miner - very grown up, lousy pay. Movie star (playing make believe) and athelete (playing children's games) great pay. That and 25 cents will get you a cup of coffee.
The Senate race in Missouri has really heated up. You can tell because of the charges that candidates Carnahan and Ashcroft are leveling at each other. First, a while back Ashcroft's people notified the press that Carnahan's web site took you to pornographic sites. That's right, it had links to other sites, and if you clicked through seven different sites (or so) and their links, you could get to pornography. Not to be outdone, Carnahan's people just pointed out the same thing about two of Ashcroft's sites, although I think it took them nine intermediaries before you got to the pornography (and months to track down all the permutations). It kind of reminded me of the Kevin Bacon game.
I guess these guys figure this cuts some mustard with Internet illiterate Missourians, since any internet literate person will realize how stupid such a claim is (news flash, the World Wide Web is all interconnected with hyperlinks!). I can see the headline about this site, where I provide handy search forms for a few popular search engines on my links page: The Murphy Nexus connected to thousands of porno sites just two mouseclicks away! I like to think that this way I'm only two mouseclick's away from any site. But hey, it's not my fault, since Al Gore is the guy who invented the internet after all, it's his fault.
I have now reached that stage in life where maintenance becomes important. Once you went to the doctor and he said you have a belly ache, it will go away on its own; now after running a bunch of test he says we've ruled out kidney stones, gall stones, hepatitis, ulcer, cancer, and what you have is an irritable bowel, and you have to cut down on caffeine and alcohol, eat more fiber, get more exercise, and then it might go away - and be glad it's only this. Once you went to the dentist and he said you need to floss or you might have trouble later in life; now he tells you unless you start flossing immediately he will perform a series of very painful procedures after which your teeth might or might not die and fall out and then another series of painful procedures would be required either way. Once I used to bound out of bed before the alarm went off; now I carefully warm up my ankles after hitting the snooze button a couple of times, say a prayer, and then ease out of bed and stagger stiffly into the bathroom and hope the shower again works it's magic and transforms me into a functioning human being.
And the only thing that gets better as I grow older is that I now have more body hair. You would think the way my body hair has exploded into life, colonizing new areas with abandon and growing to heretofore unimaginable lengths in its old stomping grounds, that a surge of testosterone cruises through my body in a wave larger than the tsunami that came forth during the teenage years. Sadly, no other body system is responding to this surge -- perhaps medical science will make the same discovery about testosterone that it made about cholesterol, namely that there's a good kind and a bad kind, and that as men age the bad testosterone supplants the good leaving us with wasted muscles and hair everywhere but where it belongs. Maybe in my twilight years I will look back and mourn even the loss of my body hair, but right now I can only look forward to the day when it all falls out and I'm left with nothing but wrinkles to hide my nakedness. I have entered the era of diminished expectations.
Thank you sir, and could I have another please?
Take me back to The Murphy NexusTM, please. I've had enough of this.
This page last updated 22 March 1999.
© Contents copyright Kevin Murphy 1999. All rights reserved.