Zero Plus Zero Nothing Is

 I  can’t quite figure what’s the big deal about a new year.  Maybe having lived through 62 of them I am jaded or something.  But really one is just adding a number to a number as in 2007 plus 1 equals 2008.  It’s just counting.  Hardly a reason for celebration. I guess people will take any occasion to get drunk and act irresponsibly.  But this number thing seems to me a pretty feeble excuse. 

And hell people don’t need a reason to get drunk and act irresponsibly.  They do it every day for no reason at all, except of course for whatever reasons they might personally have.  I expect just as many people will get drunk and act irresponsibly in this coming so called “year” as did in the last so called “year.”

Come to think of it but “year” is a pretty strange word; it’s “ear” with a “y” stuck in front.

Also this changing of the year number makes it more difficult for me to remember what year it is.  In one of my little bureaucratic chores, I sign petitions, maybe 200 or 300 hundred a so-called y-ear, for students wanting to substitute a class for a class sort of thing, and for the first 50 of these or so I won’t remember what year it is.  I will be sitting there, scratching my head, and I will have to call out to the people in their little offices round about, “Anybody know what year it is?” 

And somebody will yell back, “It’s 2008 or 7 or 99 or whatever year it is.”  Thank goodness somebody usually knows, and after a while it will stick in my head because I will keep hearing on TV that it’s 2008, as if that was something important to know.

I still don’t know what century it is and it’s been a new century for seven so-called years.  In class teaching, I will keep referring to the turn of the century by which I mean 1900, for 1900 will always be the turn of the century for me and I will have to correct myself and say, you know the last century, the twentieth century, not the twenty first century the one we are now in.

I find it odd to be alive in an “ought” year.  When I was a kid, people said things like back in “ought eight” the cotton didn’t grow or something like that. Or do you remember the big flood of “ought seven?”  I don’t hear people speaking these days of “ought years.”  I wonder if the old timers called 1900 “ought ought.”  Do you remember the big wind of “ought ought?”

It would have been cool to say "ought ought."  But I missed the occasion probably because I didn’t know what year it was. 

So now I say goodbye to one ought and hello to another ought. Which metaphysically speaking adds up to nothing.

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