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02/03/2003

What year is this?

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Now that it is 2003, I think that all the good marketing names involving numbers are gone for awhile. Leading up to the turn of the century (which was 2001 - don't get me started, thank you very much) anything that had a 2000 in it sounded pretty cool. That number added a little bit futuristic mojo to the product. And don't doubt for a minute that some ad exec on Madison Avenues didn't use the phrase "futuristic mojo" back in 1989.

What prompted this revelation (and - honestly, it isn't much of a revelation) is that I had one of those annoying little slivers of soap left in the shower this morning. The little slivers are particularly annoying to me because when I pick up the soap, I always say to myself "better not forget to get a new bar of soap after this shower". And then of course, I don't. And so I say the same thing to myself day after day until I'm showering with a few molecules of soap that are held together by a hair. A hair from somewhere on someone. Could be mine, might not be. I don't want to know. Anyway, today was the day I had to get a new bar of soap. I peeked into the closet and brought out a box of Lever 2000.

I wasn't especially thrilled with the prospect of washing myself with three year old soap. I mean, 2000? Haven't there been huge advances in B.O.-eradicating technology in the three years? That name might have been fine in 1994. It sounded like someone might have gone ahead and brought back some soap that the Eloi used. Although I guess it would be called Lever 800,000.

Now Gateway did the smart thing. Gateway 2000 was founded in 1985. In 1985, the year 2000 was about a hundred years away and still sounded really cool and futuristic. And what says "really cool" and "futuristic" better than computer? A computer that comes in a box that looks like a cow. But in April of 1998, Gateway quitely dropped the 2000 from their name. In 1998, having 2000 as part of the name just looked like the computer was going to be obsolete in two years. That's smart marketing. Too bad they can't do something about that cow thing.

Remember the T.V. show Space: 1999? That started production in 1973. It was about a base on the moon. You know, the moon. The place we haven't been since, um 1972. My brother really liked this show. I though it stunk. But I was 12 when it first aired and my brother was 15 so that may explain much of that. There's a big difference between 12 and 15. Paradoxically, there's not as much difference between 1975 and 1999 as the creators of that show thought. We didn't have a base on the moon in 1999 and we didn't (and still don't, damnit!) have cool lasers pistols that could fry people.