Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, short story writer, and the founding editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of literary writings. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Michigan Journalism Fellowship, a Golden Presscard Award, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize, Six Writer of the Month Awards in the Scripps Howard Chain and twice Runner-up for Writer of the Year. He is finishing a novel, "Red State Blues," set in his native Tennessee and Iraq. He is also the author of "Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes, the Best Writings About People by Don Williams" (New Millennium Writings, 2005, sold out) and "100 Columns Strong, the Best Commentary by Don Williams," due out this fall.
Don can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Don Williams comments
Next Jan 1, we'll celebrate the true New Millennium
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved 01/07/2000)
To steal a line from the immortal Yogi Berra, it's going to be "deja vu all
come Dec. 31, 2000. Mark my word.
Fireworks from the Eiffel Tower and Pyramids. Predictions of doom. Round the
coverage of hula dances, drum circles, proclamations, and rock music. The
Pope will say
something sweet, as will every nation's leader.
Who can resist? Call it Global Village Party, Part II. It'll happen again,
time zone by
time zone, and here's why:
- First of all, the millennial purists will keep making a fuss. Don't get mad
folks when they tell you the new decade, new century, New Millennium doesn't
start until the first tick after midnight following Dec. 31. The true
demarcation is 2001,
and the purists won't let us forget it, for one very good reason: They are
Our calendar starts with the Year 1, AD. There was no Year Zero.
If I owe you $200, and pay you back in pennies, the debt isn't settled when I
paying that last dollar, or even after I've paid $199.99. It's settled only
completed paying you that 200th dollar. Same with years. And it doesn't
matter that ours
isn't the only calendar, or that Christ possibly was born three to seven
years earlier than
thought, or that we gained a few extra ticks in the Middle Ages. What we're
here is a date on a calendar, and most of us long ago settled on the
and all. It's what we go by. It's like watching your car's odomoter click
over. And when it
does click over properly, the purists will be ready to party. Again, don't
get mad at these
folks. They serve a very useful function. They give us the excuse we need to
do it again.
Second, the alarmists will be ready to alarm us all over again. There were
disappointed folk following this millennial celebration. Many would-be
the end of time. People are sitting in their basements staring at generators,
water, canned goods and platinum coins. What typically happens when the sky
on schedule? The Chicken Littles of the world regroup and announce that wups!
made a mistake in their calculations, mis-read the signs from God, then they
date in the future, reiterate dire predictions, and make hay while the sun
shines. The most
obvious date for such prophets of doom to seize on is Jan. 1, 2001.
Third, despite predictions of doom, there'll be no "Y2K Bug" to worry about
time. Unlike the period leading up to this past New Millennium party, a sense
will pervade the next one. People will fly to the Pyramids, drive to Times
cruise to New Zealand to welcome in the True New Millennium. I drove to
year, to celebrate with family and friends, and I-40 was eerily empty. It
won't be 51 weeks
Fourth, watch how fast Madison Avenue, Hollywood, and "dot.com" become
purists on this point. Accountants and executives will look back at the
global party just
passed and figure out ways to make the next one happen, so they can all cash
Fifth, those who did celebrate this time around mostly had a good time, if
I went to was any indication. We will be ready to do it all again. I said
years ago that I
intended to celebrate the new millennium twice, because I didn't want to miss
Those of us who celebrated the new millennium this time around will be ready
to do it
again. Unlike the purists who wouldn't acknowledge the new millennium this
have nothing invested in our decision. You don't hear us arguing the
technicalities of time
measurement with Tommy the Trekkie or Uncle Elrod the Rocket Scientist.
attitude this go-round was basically, "Oh, it isn't really the new millennium
yet? So what?
Don't you enjoy a party?" Next year we'll be telling the purists, "Gosh, you
were right. It
really wasn't the new millennium. Guess we'll have to do it all over again."
And so we will.