KITCHEN SINK DRAMA
Idon’t know what year it is. I mean, I know now, right this minute, because I’m thinking about it – and if I forget again I can always sneak a peak at the cover of this magazine – but generally, as I’m meandering through life, I am finding it increasingly difficult to remember what year it is. And don’t mean just this, brand, spanking new year – for God’s sake, who amongst us can be honestly expected to remember that? – I’m talking about every year now.
Last year (which was 2014, lest we forget), I frequently paused my pen over the year when I went to write the date. Sometimes I went for 2013, sometimes 2015. But mainly, I found myself writing 1914. I am not losing it, I still know who the Taoiseach is. But, oh man, there’s just too many years out there for me to know in which one I’m currently standing.
It was easier when we wrote cheques for everything (of course, there were fewer years back then, which helped). Being obliged to write the date on an almost daily basis meant that part of our brain got a regular run- out. Plus, if you were in the bank writing a cheque, then there were always lovely staff nearby happy to help out. Admittedly, sometimes you’d come up against a ballbuster type, who’d volunteer that it was the ‘fifth’, but wouldn’t offer assistance as to the month or the year.
But because the date-remembering lobe of everyone’s brain was match-fit back then, that rarely presented a challenge. Now, I am lucky if I can remember what season I’m in (and even that, what with last year’s perfidiously balmy autumn, isn’t always a given).
It’s not just cheques. Because most of us communicate primarily through email now – which dates our correspondence for us – we rarely have to write the date at all.
Also, I am convinced this whole decade of anniversaries palaver isn’t helping. Is it any wonder I kept calling last year 1914 when all around me, people were re-living the First World War? At least this year, there aren’t too many 100-year milestones – though personally, I’ll be pausing for a moment’s silence to honour the fallen from the first 50 years of the Eurovision Song Contest in a couple of months’ time. But with all the talk already about next year’s commemorations, I already know I’ll spend most of this year thinking I’m either in the next one or back in 1916 itself.
In addition to the lack of cheques and balanced letters, the other trouble with the 21st century is that not enough has happened to mark the years as different from each other. Maybe this is a start of century phenomenon – with hindsight, nothing whatsoever hap- pened in the world between 1900 and 1912, when the Titanic did future fans of centenaries a favour by sinking – but we’re already considerably more than a decade into this new century and still, the years have failed to distinguish themselves from each other.
Obviously, nobody wants a world war or another 9/11, but a Saipan (2002! See? I don’t even have to check!) might be useful just to help us all keep the years clear in our minds. Obviously, with neither a World Cup nor an Olympic Games in prospect this summer, another sports-based civil war seems unlikely (and Rory McIlroy’s entertaining off- course life spills across several years, so doesn’t help with calendar-confusion). But surely a homegrown popular entertainment sensation is not beyond either our imagination or execution.
To this end, maybe we could manage to turn up the heat on the imagined radio wars that we’re currently excited about, perhaps arming the reluctant combatants and demanding they fight duels on the rolling lawns of Montrose.
I don’t think any of us would struggle in the future to recall 2015 as the year – for example – in which Ray D’Arcy shot Matt Cooper at dawn. We might even get a country song out of it which we could enter into the 50th Eurovision and end our run of shame at the contest for once and for all. Which, of course, would also help us distinguish 2015 from all the years before. As Johnny Logan, the patron saint of Eurovision, once so aptly posited: what’s another year? Surely now, 35 years after he first asked the question (see? SEE?), it’s time that we gave him an answer. Over to you, Ray D’Arcy. Ireland expects.
I’m not losing it, but is it any wonder I kept calling last year 1914 when all around me people were re-living the First World War?