Things That Confuse Me About the Last Decade

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The Article

I started this year confused about a lot of things. First, I don’t even know what decade we’re in. Did we just start a new one? Or are we in the last year of the old one? Inquiring minds want to know.

But assuming the decade is now over, I’m trying to figure out how I started it with toddlers and ended it with teens, while I haven’t aged at all.

I don’t understand how communication technology has exploded at exactly the same time as spelling and reading comprehension have cratered. “LOL”.

I don’t get Carrot Top.

I’m scared of Lunchables, especially those pizza and sub ones. If it contains meat, it should be refrigerated. If it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, it isn’t meat. So that begs the question: what is it? And why do so many people buy it? I’m actually afraid to know the answer to that one.

Here’s another one that scares me: how can an entire generation be glued to the television to watch people make fools of themselves? The last decade ushered in reality shows, where anyone can claim the spotlight, even—and perhaps especially—total losers. Why do they want to? Why would someone who looks ridiculous want to be a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance? The nineties saw us watching Elaine on Seinfeld dance as if she were having a seizure, but at least we knew it was acting. This is reality. And we can’t get enough of it.

Why can we figure out how to put a computer chip in a phone, how to operate on a baby while it’s still in utero, how to grow new body parts with stem cells, and we can’t figure out how to create an artificial sweetener that does not carry potential health risks for my preferred carbonated drink? Come on, scientists. I need my Diet Pepsi, and aspartame isn’t cutting it.

How can we begin the decade with nineteen jihadist terrorists attacking the United States, and end with a jihadist terrorist attempting to attack the United States, after boarding a plane without proper passport checks, paying for a one way ticket in cash, carrying no luggage, and having been turned in by his own father. I’ve flown frequently throughout these last ten years, being singled out for special treatment on numerous occasions. I’ve seen my knitting needles confiscated, my nail clippers seized, my Diet Pepsi being poured out, and I have learned to leave the belts and big jewelry at home. But what have the powers that be learned? Perhaps this is the decade that should better be termed The Years That We Learned Nothing At All Except How to Take Off Our Shoes At the Airport.

Another thing that really perplexes me: if global warming was the huge, urgent threat of the last decade, and in this decade it threatens to consume us all if we don’t Take Urgent Action Now, why do all the honchos flock to annual environment conferences in private jets? Over the last decade, I’ve figured out how to participate in online conferences so that I don’t have to leave my home. I can even teach seminars in my bunny slippers. But Prince Charles has to lecture us on our carbon footprint after leaving one himself the size of Idaho. If the Al Gores and David Suzukis and Barack Obamas of the world truly want us to take it seriously, perhaps they should stay home next time. Or at least fly coach with everyone else. Although then, of course, they’d have to share in the indignity of taking off their shoes at the airport.

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