The End of a Decade?

It may be the most innocuous of all arguments within the last two centuries. That is if you forget the argument I had with my brother as a child when he told me to name one thing in life that didn’t have political implications. My answer: lint. It was the one and only argument where my opponent admitted defeat…sort of. This is why I have this compulsion to join this fray. New Year’s Eve is about being carefree. We look at regrets, disappointments, and short fallings from last year. We look toward our unattainable goals next year. We ignore the definition of crazy that says doing the same thing but expecting different results. All for a day we can be merry and free. Uh-huh.

When does the decade end? Does it end tonight or does it end on December 31, 2010? It is like asking about my first sentence: Are you referring to the last two hundred years that run consecutively or are you referring to the whole of the 20th century and the portion of the 21st century elapsed? Hmmm….I won’t tell.

Here are the arguments:

2000-2009: If the decade ends tonight, (that is December 31, 2009 for all of us who just woke from a self-inflicted coma in order to get through the year) then you would argue that the decade to which we are referring runs from 2000-2009. Ten Years. Just like 1985-1994 was a decade (and a great one for TV shows). Or just like 1898-1907 was a decade, but not one any of us remember (Dad?).

If the decade ends tonight, then the argument to the 2010ers is to get of your high horse of ordinal records and let the cardinals rule. So what if the calendar begins in 1 AD or is it CE or CFE or what ever ridiculous abbreviations we want to satisfy our euphemistic hearts. I have an idea for this camp – stick to AD and you win the argument.

Strength: Any ten years stringed together is technically a decade. Additionally, no one says that the sixties ran from 1961-1970. When we refer to them we say they ran from 1960-1969. Actually, if accurate history reports the 60’s were too incoherent to do any running at all. Have you tried to run when inebriated? Make sure it’s towards the emergency room.

Weakness: 2000 as a year goes with the last century. Umm or supposedly it does. If this is true it is a little awkward to be celebrating one year from last century with nine from this century. Of course, peeps in this camp can’t be brought down by such technically absurd things. Then again, how do we know if 2000 goes with the last century? Isn’t that up for debate too?  

2001-2010: Starting out, I find it surprising where the two camps stand. Engineers and NASA scientists categorically are the make-up of this camp. Everyone else who breaths goes in the last camp. Survival packs for this camp come with a compasses (not the navigational type), pocket protectors and star maps. Their hero is a combination of Lt. Spock and Lt. Data – and yes they need both. If you don’t know – never mind. But that’s just the point. These are number nerds. Maybe we should call it the Number Nerd Herd.  You would think they want as many numbers in their corner as possible. How many do they get if they are of this camp? Three (0,1,2). But how many would they get if they were of the prior camp? Three (0,2,9). Uh….That didn’t work. But consider this 0+2+9 = 011, which is way more that 0+1+2 = 03. See my point? Unless you then add the 0+1+1 = 2, which is less than 0+3= 3. Well, that settles it folks – the engineers have it. I should have known. Never mess with an engineer and her calendar…or calculator…or brain.

The Time Crunchers argue that since decades are ordinal there is no point for a discussion. Actually they are just miming. I’m guessing that is what they mean. They keep pointing  to the calendar with deep sighs of exasperation more than actually stooping to our level. Yes, it is beneath them. They tried to tell me that but it took a while to figure out since they only speak in binary language (I’m still having trouble with the last sentence if any one can help me – 0111010001001011110100010101000 100101010111111111010010001001 00000000101010  010010001110100010110110101110010101000101110010).

Their point is that if you had to choose when the calendar begins it is either with a 1 or 0. Of course, it had to be between those two options. They are always trying to force feed their “way of reality” down all our throats. We can determine the order of numbers ourselves thank you very much. If we believe that the order of numbers is 9,4,7,5,8,6,2,1,3,0 what business is it of yours? What is true for us is reality. Please! These peeps think they are so intellectually superior. Psssfft!

Okay, if we admit (with this camp) that the calendar started in 1 AD then perhaps technically they are correct. Of course, technicalities are all they care about. Everyone knows engineers have love affairs with their computers. They don’t know how to relate to non-binary language speaking folks. This makes you wonder how they ever procreate. I for one am of the opinion that survival of the fittest would have bashed (too violent?) their heads in long ago.

Technically (I’m reading one of their textbooks as they all have stop talking to me now) a decade consists of 1-10. So I’m inferring (since they won’t even look at me) that they would argue 2001-2010 based off that model. Can’t be sure I’m right here since my math professor is now sending me hate mail. I think that is what he is doing anyway.

Strength: No one is going to be giving anyone in this camp a colonoscopy without their permission.

Weakness: You can still beat up the engineer. Just think if you mob them at the right time they will even be paying for your celebration tonight! And next year! And the year after.

My answer: If you multiply instead of add then both sides equal 0, (0 x 2 x 9 = 0; 0 x 1 x 2 = 0; keep up) so in the end they are both right. Oh, wait….some IRS agents showed up. Their mad I didn’t list them with the second group since they like numbers too. They are taking out pens…now they are taking out calculators…they have my tax returns!!! Quick, call 911! They’re doing something with my earnings! Okay, okay, okay!! Okay. (Sigh) The second group is right, the second group wins. Well, at least this explains survival of the fittest. Secret weapon: tax collectors.

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