December 1999
s m u g
by Joe Procopio

Ones and Zeroes

The 21st century bores me to tears. Or at least that's the plan.

The buildup to the dawn of the new millennium has already been hyped into the most tragically dull non-event of this or any other year. I'm exhausted by the constant reminders, especially the countdown clocks, the inescapable presence of which I have encountered in such inexplicable locations as Home Depot (and never mind the fact that I can be spotted walking around a Home Depot and mumbling to myself about the stupid millennium countdown clock).

Has one of the colas declared themselves the drink of the new millennium yet? If not, I want first North American and twenty percent.

As with any function of such vapid existence, my stance will be to look nonplussed when not looking for the bar, because the whole 01-01-00 thing has been gnawing its devious way under my skin since roughly 01-01-97.

By the way, what I really need is for one more Star-Trek-addled sap to remind me that the millenium doesn't end until next year. I can never get enough of that kind of nitpicking. I imagine that 12/31/99 will find this legion of the temporally advanced bathed in an eerie trinitron-monitor glow, each miserably yet expectedly alone, all interconnected via DSL and cable modem, and simply giddy with the irony that billions of idiots are celebrating the end of the millenium on the wrong day. Of course I also imagine them on 12/31/00, partying their asses off on the correct day, bathed in an eerie trinitron-monitor glow...

We're hurtling ever closer to this rather arbitrary flipping of the calendar, and I've realized that nothing short of a self-fulfilled prophecy or a devastating bender is going to make the moment worthwhile. I don't think the official 01-01-00 paper plates and ball caps are going to cut it for me. I'm pretty sure that there will be no cataclysmic sign from God or otherwise, and it even looks like the computers are going to hold up. Note: In an ironic twist, if the computers don't hold up, you'll no longer to be able to read this, and my prophecy will have been erased from the books by the very event I'm prophesizing against having happened. So either way I win.

Sure, I'm going to get drunk, but weren't we all going to get drunk anyway? Isn't that what we do every year at about the same time? Why do we need this extracurricular puke and circumstance to thrust us into a higher state of consciousness for this particular New Year's Eve?

The reason I'm going to be reveling into 01-01-00 is because I'm alive, happy, healthy, and my life is going all right if not amazingly well. The fact that I'm going to be crossing out "99" on my checks for the next few months is enough of a crutch for me to get off my ass and get drunk somewhere away from my house and with other people. I didn't need the overkill.

Speaking of overkill, do you think Prince is cursing the day he was born yet?

Allow me a theory. The backlash from millennial madness can be best explained by examining the inherent differences between two other historical events, namely, Band Aid and USA for Africa. Stay with me. Remember that "Feed the World" song that started all of the inane Saint-Rock-Star posturing? It was innocent enough, catchy, and even had Bono doing that accidentally ultracampy line, "Well tonaaaaht, thank gawd it's theyum, instayyyed of yeeeeew." Rock! When I first heard that record, it brought out all the right emotions. It made me think about starving kids in Africa and how lucky I was and sure, I could do a little more to help. On the other hand, "We Are the World" just made me want to punch Dionne Warwick. And I know that's wrong. But you see what happens when you go that far over the top? No good comes of it at all.

My question remains. Why are we constantly looking for other reasons to celebrate?

Why do we substitute the peripheral trappings of our consumer society for the very real and just as shallow inner arrogance of just wanting to have a good time?

Allow me another theory. I have this nagging fear that we as the same said consumer society have lost any and all passion for the moments that we actually make happen. Instead, we've been trained to wait for and accept the moment as it comes to us, all the while settling for an inner next-to-best or anyone's guess. It makes perfect, creepy sense. Furthermore, this is where we get the phrase, the concept, and the content of "Must See TV."

People, it has to stop.

My wish for the new year? That each and every one of us makes a conscious effort to eliminate this tepid, plastic concept of a new millennium from our collective palette. That we all turn a blind eye to the countdown clocks and 01-01-00 gear. That we all start using turn signals (I just think that would be nice). That we don't fall for the Millennial Motel 6 Extravaganza or the 2K Kruise. That we don't say "See you next millennium." (For that matter, try to refrain from "See you next year" as well. It's really annoying).

Finally, when we do reach 01-01-00, it is my wish that we don't reflect upon what this moment in time means to us. Rather, we might figure out what we mean to the moment. I implore you to think about where you are, where you've come from, and where you're going. And sure, you can do a little more to help.

Yeah. That's my wish. That plus the turn signals.

what part of the hype bugs you the most?

in the junk drawer:

feature car
ac/dc gun
compulsion vise
posedown cheese
and such
and such
blab fan

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