Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at Opednews.com and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: http://www.mach2.com/williams/. Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email DonWilliams7@charter.net.
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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.