Farewell to the decade, whatever you call it

It’s hard to believe that a whole decade has passed and we still don’t know what to call it. That’s a bigFarewell problem for music companies, which sold millions of CDs with titles such as “Pop Hits of the ’80s” and “Dance Hits of the ’90s,” but just haven’t sold many copies of “Hip-Hop Hits of the ???”

Should we call it the ‘zeroes’ or the ‘ohs’ or the ‘naughts’? Many people seem to like the term ‘naughties’ or ‘noughties,’ but I think that would be too confusing.

Man: “Did you know that Tiger Woods was voted the athlete of the naughties?”

Woman: “Big surprise! Next you’ll be telling me that Donald Trump was voted the sugar daddy of the beauties.”

Whatever you call it, one thing is certain: it was a decade that changed the world in ways we couldn’t have imagined in the ’80s and ’90s. Perhaps the biggest change came in technology: everything went wireless and digital, allowing a man driving his car in New York City to take a photo of a plane making an emergency landing in the Hudson River and send it instantly to his children in the backseat. It saved him the trouble of shouting, “Hey kids, stop texting for a second and look at this!”

The Internet was a mere infant at the turn of the century, still crawling around and barely connecting with the world.  But just look at it now – it’s an out-of-control teen-ager speeding down the highway in a borrowed car, the backseat full of “friends” from all over the world, including the guy from Azerbaijan who speaks only one word of English: “LOL.”

Thanks to the Internet, we can chat with our “mates” in Australia, play games with our “amigos” in Mexico, and arrange money transfers with our “partners” in Nigeria.

We can date online, find a mate online, and complain about their weight online.

We can read publications from all over the world, share our opinions on scores of websites, and search for vital information, such as “Megan Fox pics” and “Is Freida Pinto single?”

We can blog and tweet and update, letting everyone in the world know what’s on our minds – or even what’s on our behinds. Buying a new pair of jeans is something worth sharing, not just with a tweet and status update, but also a YouTube video.

It was a decade of technology, but also of tragedy: thousands lost their lives on 9/11, and tens of thousands during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Terrorism also claimed innocent lives on 7/11, 11/26 and other days. And who can forget the tragedy of December 2004, when a tsunami wiped out the equivalent of an entire city, causing President George W. Bush to consider, for at least a week, whether to declare a “War on Tsunamis.”

Bush left office on Jan. 20, 2009, which, for many, was ample reason to celebrate. But they had an even bigger reason to celebrate, thanks to the new occupant of the White House. For the first time in its history, America had elected a Kenyan-American as president, giving hope to Tanzanian-Americans and Ugandan-Americans.

African-Americans as a whole were filled with joy, as were many other people all over the world, celebrating an outcome that seemed unimaginable just a couple of years earlier. “I don’t believe it, I just don’t believe it,” an 80-year-old French man shouted, tears streaming down his cheeks. “I never thought America would elect such an intelligent man!”

The economic downturn affected many families, leaving some homeless and others cutting back drastically. Even bank executives were affected, forced to downsize to 50-foot “economy” yachts. Some were even spotted drinking American wine.

Nevertheless, it was a good decade, all things considered, and the next decade will be even better. Especially if we can think of a name for it.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. O – One Man
    B – Born in
    A – Africa to
    M – Manage
    A – America

  2. This is the 10th. year of this decade. The new decade will begin on Jan. 1, 2011.

  3. The 80’s and the 90’s and the naughties..LOL!!
    Who would have thought about this BIG problem, but you 😉
    Wish you and your family a very joyous 2010 ( kinda belated by now, still)

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