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Did anyone catch the name of this ride?
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It seems only a few short weeks ago that I watched bombs bursting in air from a beach. Brilliant streaks of color that splashed across the winter sky, hailing in a new year. “Happy New Year,!” was the cry from the cheering crowd.
After the smoke settled, I came away a little saddened with some thoughts about this new century we find ourselves in.
So, where the heck is it anyway?!
When was the last time you heard, “Hey, y’know what? What a crazy ride, huh!? This 21st Century is really something, ain’t it!?”
Or turn on your local news and hear, “This just in... a special update on the 21st Century!”
I mean, where are we right now? Who or what is the 21st century? No one is even talking about it! No one!
Okay, we’re seven years into this thing and I must say — I’m not really impressed. C’mon! This is a whole new century for Pete’s sake and I’m still looking around saying — “Yeah, so?”
Let me put it in context. My grandma, Constance, was born at the very end of the 19th century — a reasonably good century when you look back on it. She lived to be 101. The interesting thing about Grandma was that she didn’t really die. She just stopped. “Okay, kids, that’s it. This is where I get off,” sort of thing.
But this past year, I kept thinking about what a wonderful life she must have experienced with lots of cool things happening in two different centuries — the 19th century with things like the manifest destiny, the birth of photography and the great Civil War, (she had strong opinions on each).
But even that century was nowhere even close to the one she entered into as a little girl. The century of all modern centuries — the 20th century!
Heck, even a motion picture studio named itself after it. Think about it. They didn’t rename themselves 21st Century Fox, did they? It’s just called “Fox” now. Could anyone get into trouble calling themselves 21st Century Fox? I don’t think so. It’s up for grabs. No one would care.
Anyway, as a child and then a woman, Grandma was there to witness great 20th century things like; two brothers up the beach from here at Kittyhawk attaching canvas wings and a propeller to a Schwin in their family bike shop; A German refugee named Einstein who postulated about the universe in relative terms; or Henry before he renamed this place Richmond Hill, mass producing “horseless” carriages for the common folk in any color they liked so long as it was black; an Italian immigrant named Anthony Miuci who invented, but failed to patent, a talking machine known as a telephone — poor Tony; then there was Marconi with a wireless model — the radio, two World Wars, Billy Holiday, television, Elvis, Dr. Salk, then Pong, then a six iron on the moon, Super Mario and MAC’s! Oh, my.
Grandma Constance saw it all before she left us. Who could breath after the 20th century?
Okay, I’ll give you that there are some minor exceptions about the number “21.”
Century 21, the real estate group for instance. But they were Century 21 in the LAST century. Shouldn’t they be Century 22 by now?
And Kroger still cards people from the nursing home in walkers to make sure they’re at least 21 when they buy a little Madera.
However, this has nothing to do with the main issue. The 21st century is here. But where is it!?
So, you can understand my uneasiness about the lack of magnitude of this new century - a century that suddenly crept up on us like long lost cousins after we won the lotto.
So, did anyone catch the name of this ride we’re on?
I guess I’m still a little jealous of the fun and exciting things my grandma got to live through and witness in her long and wonderful life.
The 20th Century. Now that was a Century. No mistaking that ride.
A few weeks ago, I walked away from the New Year’s Eve fireworks display thinking, “Hell. Barry Manilow is retiring.”
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