Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
It occurs to me that we may be past the golden age of novelty eyeglasses with lenses made from the digits in the year. It was a flame that burned so hot throughout the 90s but, like other hits of the time (jellies sandals, slap bracelets, crash-landing in the Canadian woods with your high school teammates and slowly devolving into some sort of Lord of the Flies/Heathers situation) that era is done. I haven't researched what years come after this one, but ever since seeing the designs for 2022 NYE glasses I've been shaken. I've been scared. I've been flying backwards around the globe trying to turn back the clock like Superman because we have to solve time.
Apocalypse quiz: what would you do if you saw this coming toward you?
What is this choice, honey? What is happening here, my darling? How do I erase this design from my memory, beloved?
They took a hole puncher to the 22 and said "LET GOD SORT IT OUT!"
We, as a society, are not talking about this enough. ("This" being "where the eyeholes go in the year numbers". Every Senator on this mailing list should be ashamed because you have been silent about this and I want to know why?) We are coming up on a harrowing series of years, digit-wise. Three... four... FIVE. I just don't think our graphic design scientists are prepared.
The 1990s and 2000s were a mixed bag culturally, politically, and in terms of the quality of Batman movies we got. But the glasses situation was unimpeachable.
Look at that graceful design! This is the Tesla of things you wear on your face for 15 minutes and then promptly lose.
Me, in 2022, thinking about how easy it was to figure out where the eyeholes went in glasses of years past:
I think 2030 will be fine (for glasses I mean. Elsewise? Best not to think on it, beloved!) The eyes go in the zeros. But then you've got a huge three in the middle like a very literal third eye. Got you out in Times Square with a piece of plastic blocking the bridge of your nose like you're wearing on of those medieval helmets. Help!
The years ahead are Impractical! But not unavoidable! Why don't we either skip ahead to 2100 or skip back and reuse some of the old years? Like a TV reboot! It's best to stick to the 90s, 2000s range though. I just tried to figure out how to craft a pair of glasses for the year 1977 and I got physically ill.
We have to find the good glasses years. It's like a bones day/no bones day, but for an entire year and sold at Party City. This feels like a good and reasonable direction for our society. I'm not saying time travel (although have we looked into that?). I'm just saying write a different number on the one check you still have to write per year. Who says you can't? Time is made up! You may say "No, Eric, that's clearly not true. Look at the clock." Well, who makes a clock? A person! You really want to listen to some stranger horologist over your innate sense of aesthetics?
Me refusing to go into the future with any more ugly glasses:
This may be inconsequential and the least of our worries at this time but have you considered that maybe things would all resolve themselves if we, as a people, could look at ourselves in the mirror on NYE and feel pride? Like RuPaul says "how you gonna love [the place and time that you're in and the future writ large] if you can't love the way you [look in a pair of novelty glasses]? Can I get an amen?!"
Speaking of the place and time that we're in--I have a new essay coming out as part of a Scribd exclusive collection called This Is Life. It's out on Tuesday and includes new work from Jaqueline Woodson, Carmen Maria Machado, Kiese Laymon, Bill McKibben, and more! We were each asked to think about what's bringing us hope and joy in the midst of strange and difficult times.
I wrote about tennis elbow.
Scribd members will be able to read the collection on Tuesday. If you're not a Scribd member, Scribd is offering a free 60-day trial to everyone on my list. (Time is made up, but I'll make an exception here and say 60 days is a long time!)
This week, I wrote about Ina Garten, queen of managed expectations!
Random Thing on the Internet
I am love love loving Abbott Elementary, a new sitcom on ABC. The cast is phenomenal, the joke density is out of this world. It's got flavors of The Office and Parks and Rec, but it's set at a Philly public school and focuses on the hardworking faculty. It's an incredible show!
Well, who makes a clock?,