A heartwarming look at a debacle of a decade

The last word about dads on Father's Day

Remember when the world went bonkers with the hoopla and
hysteria of Y2K? Poised at the threshold of a new century, rampant
rumors alleged this was the end of life as we knew it.
Remember when the world went bonkers with the hoopla and hysteria of Y2K? Poised at the threshold of a new century, rampant rumors alleged this was the end of life as we knew it.

Deadline for doom by means of computer collapse: Midnight, Dec. 31, 1999. Forecasts of misfortune: banks crippled, unable to disperse cash. Power companies immobilized (causing real-life shortages of power generators). Service stations flummoxed, essential fuel held hostage by computerized mechanisms known as gas pumps.

Folks scrambled to stockpile food, water, ammunition, board games (OK, kidding about the board games). But, honestly, even those who believed the system couldn’t fail were just the teeny-tiniest bit apprehensive.

With the end of the world looming, my spouse and I threw caution to the winds and traveled to Tahoe, greeting the New Year with a Willie Nelson concert. Hey – if you’re going to get stuck someplace with neither gas nor money, where better to be than with Willie and the boys?

And although the country slid through Y2K unscathed, I’m not so sure about the rest of the decade. Chaos ensued.

It began in the decade’s infancy, the year 2000, when the weirdest presidential election ever became such a hot mess that Florida’s recount and “hanging chads” resulted in Bush v. Gore with the presidency being decided by the Supreme Court.

“Osama bin Laden” became a household word when the country’s most despised felon went underground and stayed there, apparently hiding in a for-real “man cave” where he evaded capture for the rest of the decade. Perhaps he’s expired from breathing toxic fumes emitted in his personal man cave. We can only hope.

Meanwhile, greed became synonymous with banks and Wall Street. Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. Bernie Madoff set off mayhem in the investment world, becoming almost as loathed as bin Laden. Deep recession swamped the country, foreclosures and unemployment figures soared, and the national debt was so massively high most people couldn’t even fathom its totality.

And while the country did elect its first Black president, the young leader who promised hope and change arrived at the White House so deeply entrenched in the quagmire that it was hard to envision how he’d ever find an effective way out of the chasm.

But the times were a-changing, and it wasn’t all about financial despair. With the world seemingly spinning out of control, love was in the air. The first gay marriage in the U.S. was performed, leading to endless debates about whether marriage should be legal between same-sex couples. Some states said yes; some states said no. Some states said yes and then said no. Then said yes again. So, what now: Maybe?

Perplexing as the matter of same-sex marriage turned out to be, a few politicians played fast and loose with their own marriage vows. The biggest mess may have been South Carolina Governor Mark “I’m Hiking the Appalachian Trail” Sanford. Finding his “soulmate” in an Argentinean mistress, Sanford wins the prize for drippiest rationalization about his brainless behavior. And two-time (and two-timing) presidential candidate John Edwards won “Sleaze Ball of the Decade” when he and his expensive hairdo went looking for love in all the wrong places, bringing down his marriage and a distraught army of followers.

But enough “Debbie Downer” news! Because young, er … everlasting, er … well, SOMETHING is on the horizon for 2011. Yep, that old hottie Hugh Hefner became engaged the day after Christmas to Playmate Crystal Harris who is (not that anyone noticed) 60-plus years his junior. Well. Here we thought the wedding we were awaiting was the royal one in England.

Such minor doings as royal weddings will surely be eclipsed by Hefner’s nuptials. Hopefully the groom lives long enough to actually tie the knot because I just get all misty-eyed thinking of the wedding … the groom dapper in his Armani bathrobe, the bride beaming in her party dress by Gymboree. And a menu to die for! Jell-O and rice pudding served alongside the bride’s request: Cheerios and chocolate milk. Yum. And the pièce de resistance? A towering Croque-en-Bouche comprised of Hostess Ding-Dongs. In fact, my friend Linda has already picked the perfect present for the happy couple: a lovely gift basket of Noxzema and Geritol.

And if all this romance doesn’t pluck at your heartstrings, consider this: a mere six decades in age difference can’t stand in the way of true love. Ah … what possibilities! Why, even I might someday find happiness in the form of a way-younger man, providing I win big in the lottery. Hey – I’m not betting on just looks and personality here, people!

Yep; you heard it here first. Somewhere out there is a toddler in training pants. Just waiting to grow up and walk me down the aisle. Now, is that heartwarming or what?

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