I don’t really understand all the consternation over what to call the last decade. I agree that there doesn’t seem to be much consensus on the right name, but I fail to see why this is much of a problem. Whether you say “the zeros” or “the aughts” or some other name, people pretty much know what you’re talking about.
For the record, I think we’ll eventually call the decade “the oh’s,” because we’re likely to refer to the years in that decade as “twenty-oh-eight” rather than “two thousand and five” or whatever. My hunch is based on the fact that we refer to every other year by saying the first two digits as if they were one number, like “nineteen-oh-six” and “eighteen-oh-four.” “Twenty-oh-X” seems easier to me, hence the number of people who catch themselves saying “twenty-oh-ten” for this year.
Still, we could do away with all the confusion by just giving the naming rights for each decade to the highest bidder. I’m not sure how the payment system would work — maybe they could make donations to the U.S. Treasury — but it’s not like it wouldn’t be worth a lot to the bidders.
In this spirit, I propose naming the decade that just ended “the googles.” It works well because those “o’s” in “google” look like the zeros in the years. And, of course, the provenance of the company name is a math term with a lot of zeros in it. Plus, it’s hard to dispute that this wasn’t Google’s decade. We could even give the decade’s naming rights to Google for a reduced fee, both in gratitude for how much easier it’s made things, and also because the decade is over.
The real bidding war can start with the current decade. Why do we have to call it “the teens”? Ugh — moody, awkward teenagers are not the kind of brand association we want with our calendars. Someone else should step up. What about “the AT&T’s”? As in, “Will Sarah Palin run in AT&Twelve?” I’m sure that a certain Japanese car company would be all over the following decade, “the toyotas.” Future history books will talk about how “in twenty-toyota-five, a Chinese rocket landed on the moon.” Oh, I’m sorry, I meant “a Chinese rocket landed on the big M&M in the sky.”
I know what you’re saying: How are we going to write these numbers? I’m way ahead of you. Part of the naming-rights deal would include a license to use the company’s logo as part of the year name. So the “1” in “2012” would be replaced by the little blue AT&T globe icon. And the second “2” in “2025” would be replaced by Toyota’s circle-t thing logo.
I think this is a win-win for everybody, and I want to see it happen. I just hope I live until “the Gatoradeys.” I think 20G4 (that’s “twenty-gatoradey-four”) will be a pretty good year.