31 December 2009

20-10, 2K-ten, 2000-ten?

I remember being a little kid and figuring out how old I would be in the year 2000. It was so far away, and at times too surreal, to actually believe that it would one day become reality.

Even though the year 2000 was a rather science-fiction notion to a youngster, throughout my years growing up I often thought about how we would refer to the year once we finally got there. In the English language we all seem to say years as two numbers; nineteen-sixty-eight, for example, while many countries used the long form; one thousand nine hundred and sixty-eight. If nineteen hundred was the accepted form a century before, would twenty hundred be used? It sounded awfully odd.

So I entered the new millennium and listened to the news, friends, store clerks, et al, and heard everyone say “the year two thousand.”

OK, so two thousand it was. But what about the following years? Would we go back to the nineteen-o-one model and say twenty-o-one? Or shorten it to naught-one? Again, it seemed that everyone decided to go the European, long-form route, and say two thousand and one. And it’s been that way for nine years now.

So why, all of a sudden, have we again switched and this New Year is being called twenty ten? And more importantly, why do I seem to be the only one in the whole word who has even given this any thought? It has honestly bothered me since I was that little kid thinking about all of this, that no one else seemed to think it was worthy of contemplation. I kept waiting to see a short essay on the subject, but after ten years of not coming across any mention of the whole situation, I suppose I should give up.

Is there really no one else out there who has thought about this?

May the New Year bring Peace, Health, Happiness, & Love to us all.

22 December 2009

'Twas the Night Before.....

While listening to NPR’s Talk of the Nation last year, just happened to catch a story about updated versions of The Night Before Christmas. It reminded me that I had my own version. They had asked for submissions of other versions, but I never sent mine in.

In 1977 I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bahia, Brazil. I wrote this for my father the night before Thanksgiving. My Dad had always been a limerick writer, among other things, so I thought he would enjoy it. He never commented on it. Because of that, I probably threw away my only other copy. My dad passed away last year and as I was going through even more of his papers right before the holidays, I found my little story. It was still carefully folded in the original envelope I sent it in from Brazil. Guess he may have approved after all.

The Night Before Thanksgiving………in Brazil

It’s the night before Thanksgiving and all through the house
The bugs are hiding ’cause they know I’m about.
The pans are waiting in the rack by the sink
In hopes they’d be filled with food and with drink.
And I in my overalls, with no other beast
Have just retired the thought of making a feast.

Then from out on the street a few yells and a shout
So I ran to the window to see what it’s about
I looked in disbelief as I viewed a motorcade
Could it really be the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade?
I ran to the television and turned on the sound
In hopes that Anita Bryant would still around.

But the picture was blurred and the volume not load
Though I swore I could hear the sound of a crowd.
I thought to myself, a parade this is not
Then out of nowhere came a shot of a clock.
Ah-ha! I screamed as the reality hit me
It’s not flowered floats but 4th down and 50!

Oh joy! Oh wonder! Can this really be true?
Not only 5th avenue but Shea Stadium too?
My prays have been answered and I don’t know by who
But I am seeing football in Brazil – a miracle come true!

But wait – the TV’s beginning to clear
And it’s not Shea Stadium; that’s Brazilian beer!
And it’s not 4th down with 50 to go
That’s ‘hands ball’ and yellow cards and they’re kicking the ump low.

Back to the window; where’s Micky and Minnie?
The bands? The balloons? There just aren’t any!
The street is now filled with noises and rings
But it’s just the local samba school doing their thing.

Oh well, it was nice, for just a short while
To hear Howard’s voice and see Namath’s smile.
And to think I was there with Lorne Green and friends
Watching the commotion from beginning to end.
But this is Brazil where the pilgrims didn’t land
And the football they play here is without hands.

So I can’t cook my turkey or make pumpkin pie
Or mess up the jello or get gravy on my thigh.
Can’t cheer for my team while drinking a brew
Or bet on the spread with a sibling or two.

Shoot! I forgot! That’s Vitória playing!
And oooh- a penalty kick is now in the staging!
Oh! I can’t believe it! That’s three goals he’s made!
Either pull that damn goalie or give him Gatorade.

Well, it’s the night before thanksgiving but I’m not feeling low
‘Cause O Brasil vai ganhar o Copo do Mundo!

(translation: Brazil is going to win the World Cup)