No. 2015 - The Reykjavik Grapevine

No. 2015

No. 2015

Published January 3, 2015

Haukur Már Helgason
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Google “When did we start counting years from christ’s birth”, ignore all the cultural presumptions involved, click on the first item listed, the Wikipedia post for Anno Domini, and you learn that even if “this dating system was devised in 525”, it “was not widely used until after 800”.

In other words, the clock that just hit 2015, actually started ticking around, say, 850. Which admittedly sounds somewhat like cheating. As a child, I was taught that if you issue enumerated invoices for whatever work you do, you should start numbering them at 100 or 200, so as not to reveal that your first job was actually your first job, your second your second and so on. Our annis Domini, or common era years, seem to involve similar wheeler-dealer buffoonery. Benign, for sure, but buffoonish all the same.

“While other animals look downwards at the ground, he gave human beings an upturned aspect, commanding them to look towards the skies, and, upright, raise their face to the stars.” Ovid said that. Centuries before we started counting centuries. And because we tend to forget the moon and the stars and the rest of the heavens’ constellations, which stay suspiciously silent most of the time, it’s a good thing that someone invented fireworks, so as to remind us of our proper posture.

You don’t easily ignore those. When fireworks go zwwiiisch-kapoof!, and then just keep on blasting, they can have you staring upwards, stretching your neck. longer than you’d ever watch anything half as abstract on canvas or a screen. Check, they say. Phewwt, bang, boom, tick, tock, check for those who got through this time, those who retained the organic integrity needed to register such celestial non-events for another 365 days. 365 nights. 365 mornings, if you are so inclined.

Whatever else took place, you added that tick to your tock. Keep at it and you will waste them faster than anyone can say: Happy new year!

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