Just what will call this new decade?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 2, 2000

Well, unless we’re all dreaming, the world seems to have made it through the whole Y2K scare. Now as the sticklers among us continue to argue that, in fact, the new millennium really doesn’t start until next year, we now face a larger problem than Y2K. The new decade we’re living in doesn’t have a nickname yet.

I’m not talking about a nickname such as &uot;Skip&uot; or &uot;Red&uot; or &uot;Stinky.&uot;

What I’m referring to as the easy-to-roll-off-your-tongue decade names. You know: She grew up in the roaring 20s, or he was in college in the selfish 80s.

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So as we all struggle to get used to writing zeroes instead of nines, maybe we should spend some time to decide on the decade’s nickname before it’s lost in the annals of history.

If you don’t think we need to find a nickname, just think about your history lessons from school. The entire decade from 1900 to 1909 somehow seem less important, less burned into our memories than do other decades with easy-to-remember names.

Lots of important things happened in the first decade of the 1900s.

Two bicycle mechanics who liked to tinker around with things changed the world in 1903.

That’s when Orville and Wilbur Wright’s creation &uot;Kitty Hawk&uot; made the first pilot-controlled, power-driven airplane on a field in North Carolina.

Oklahoma became a state in 1907.

And those are just two examples of dozens of events from that decade. My point is that without a proper nickname a decade of history loses some of its cohesiveness.

So far I haven’t heard of a good nickname for the new decade.

Some have suggested we call them the Os. Sounds a bit wimpish for the first decade of the 2000s.

I thought of the 20-0s, but that sounds a bit too much like a brand of breakfast cereal.

Although I have to admit that the 20-0s does have a good ring to it, it’s probably not the right match.

A coworker told me that she heard someone calling the decade the &uot;naughts.&uot;

But since the word means both zero, which does fit the decade, and nothing, which sort of downplays anything that may occur in it, it doesn’t seem quite right either.

Besides, anytime I hear or read the word &uot;naught&uot; I think of the character Jethro Bodine on the old television show &uot;The Beverly Hillbillies.&uot; Jethro was an oaf of sorts.

And in one episode he imagined himself to be a secret agent and spy like the fictional movie character, James Bond.

Since Bond is often known by his agent code name, 007, Bodine started calling himself a &uot;double-naught&uot; spy. Which to this day makes me smile, but, at least for me, ruins the idea of calling a decade after something that can so easily be associated with a character who ate &uot;vittles&uot; off the pool table with Granny, Ellie Mae and Uncle Jed.

Should we call them the Double 0s? Probably not.

Another idea that isn’t much better than the Jethroesque &uot;naughts&uot; is to capitalize on the whole Y2K scare. I thought about calling the decade the 2K0s.

But even that one is screaming of some kind of cheesy boxing reference. Can’t you see it?

&uot;Introducing Johnny ‘2K0s’ Kelly.&uot;

Even though I don’t have the perfect answer yet, I think we owe it to history to keep working on coming up with a name befitting the new decade … and quickly before the decade is written off as a big zero.

Kevin Cooper is managing editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 446-5172 ext. 241 or at kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.