Here, at long last, is my series of posts about the decade that just was, the 2000s. They’re about four months too late, and no longer have any relevance (if they ever did), but I wanted to throw them up anyway. I don’t have any commentary to add to them (sorry, Marty), and the reason for that is best left for another day. I do have some random thoughts about the decade itself, however, and will share them with the dedicated few who still occasion this site. To borrow from Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter, let’s look back to the future, all the way to January 1, 2000.
In the Year 2000:
- Justin Timberlake was still in ‘N Sync, and Brittany Spears.
- The Boston Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series in 82 years.
- Most people still watched movies at home using their Video Home System.
- Michael Jordan had retired for a second time, saying he was “99.9% certain” he’d never return to play in the NBA.
- Napster was everywhere, and iPods were nowhere.
- Blackberries were merely delicious tasting fruit.
- There was no Conservative Party of Canada, and Stephen Harper was getting ready to build firewalls around Alberta.
- Bill Clinton was still getting blowjobs in the White House, and no one had ever heard of a hanging chad.
- Everyone had an opinion about Elian Gonzalez, and newspapers still mattered.
- “Google” and “IMDB” were not verbs, and uttering “Wikipedia” would have caused people to respond with “Gesundheit.”
- 911 only had one meaning, and Katrina was just a name.
As for me:
- I had a 1 year-old son.
- I was still in University.
- I’d just become a member of the Kappa Alpha Literary Society.
- I was working at Chapters.
- I could still smoke in a bar or a coffee shop.
- I’d never been to a Folk Festival.
- I’d never blogged, Facebooked or Tweeted.
- I’d just started dating my future wife.
It was a tumultuous decade, one defined by a world-altering event that happened over a year and a half in. The things I mentioned are only snapshots of the decade, but they are the things that came immediately to mind when thinking about the 2000s. What those things say about the decade, and me, I don’t know. Maybe nothing greater than “things change.” I’m fine with that, though, since it’s a metaphysical certainty that we often forget or disregard. Things change. I know my life is drastically different from my life in 1999. Over the past ten years:
- I got engaged.
- I got married.
- I watched my son grow into an extraordinary young man.
- I bought a house.
- I bought a dog.
- I met my best friend, as well as many of my closest friends.
- I graduated from University.
- I held five different jobs.
- I started five or six blogs.
- I co-authored one very successful and well-respected hockey blog.
- I met and was complimented by Ron MacLean.
- I wrote a really bad novel.
- I won my Fantasy Baseball League.
- I visited the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- I watched the Red Sox play on Opening Day.
- I was a speechwriter for a Senator for four years.
- I heard, in person, a Speech from the Throne in Parliament.
- I took trips to Puerto Vallarta, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Philadelphia.
- I visited Walden Pond, and the cabin of Henry David Thoreau.
- I visited Author’s Ridge, and the graves of Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott.
- I saw concerts by, among others, Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, Wilco, Ryan Adams, Alison Krauss, Wilson Pickett, Odetta, Mavis Staples, The Funk Brothers, Solomon Burke, Buddy Guy, Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, David Byrne, Wynton Marsalis, Jay Z and The Roots.
Bad, unpleasant and painful things happened to me over the past ten years, too. It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. I’ve been kicked in the teeth by the usual suspects: death, tragedy, failure, regret, sorrow and loss. But looking back, I can say without a doubt that the past ten years have been the best years of my life. I don’t think I’d fiddle around with much of it, actually. There has been so much good, mixed in with but a tiny, tolerable bit of bad. I don’t know how the next ten years will play out, but I hope they will as be as meaningful and fantastic for me as the last ten years have been. Things change. Ain’t that the fuckin’ truth.
One thing I did find interesting, in looking back at my favourite books, movies and music from the decade, was how close the release dates were for each of my absolute favourites. Heartbreaker, by Ryan Adams, was released on September 5, 2000. Eight days later, Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous hit theatres. Six days after that, on September 19, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon, appeared on bookshelves. Three pretty amazing works of art, released within a two-week span (of the three, only Almost Famous was on my radar that month. It would take me a couple of months to find Kavalier & Clay, and several years to find Heartbreaker. I heard Gold first, and then went backwards). It’s a total coincidence, I know, but one I thought worth mentioning.