Quiet Desperation

It may be leap of faith, but 2020 should be a standout


Along with being the most poetic-sounding year of the century, 2020 will be a leap year.

I know someone who was born on leap year day. When she turned 64, she told people she was 16.

She also released an album titled “Sweet Sixteen” that had sixteen songs on it.

As you know, every four years February gets an extra day.

I didn’t understand it when I was a kid, and the complete explanation (found elsewhere, not here) helps, but my mind doesn’t always expand to include too much left-brained information.

I can tell you, however, the names of the three original members of a musical group from Olympia, Washington, called the Fleetwoods. One of the Fleetwoods, Gretchen Christopher, was born on February 29.

The group had back-to-back hits in the late 1950s. “Come Softly to Me,” was performed for the first time in a high school talent contest. It had been written by members of the group.

They followed “Come Softly to Me” with “Mr. Blue,” which can be heard on the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” soundtrack.

How many of you know that National Lampoon was once a humor magazine? It was a spin-off from the Harvard Lampoon and it ran from 1970 until 1998.

The humor was clever, sometimes crude, and often featured well-known writers and illustrators.

Used copies of the “National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook Parody” book are for sale online. It was first published in 1973. If you own one, you probably have the best example of the publication’s humor.

It’s also worth some money.

I haven’t had any particular enjoyment in saying or writing “2019,” but “2020” will be another story.

Some years stand out because a meaning has been placed on them by an author, a songwriter, or a screenwriter.

For example: 1984, which became the title of a novel written by George Orwell in 1948.

Prince wrote the song “1999.”

Stanley Kubrick directed “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Here’s today’s quiz: who sang “In the Year 2525”? Answer below.

It was a one-hit wonder “recorded primarily,” according to Wikipedia, “at a studio in a cow pasture in Odessa, Texas.”

Of course, there is Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” and the Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979.”

The upcoming year has been the title of a television program since June 6, 1978, although it comes with a slash.

According to the American Optometric Association, “20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at 20 feet.”

At 20 feet, Sandy Koufax would look like Sandy Duncan, if I wasn’t wearing glasses.

I, for one, need a new year. The current one has been unpleasant and it will become the subject of documentaries for years to come.

And there is a good possibility the number of those seeking the attention of psychotherapists will increase. It’s just a guess.

I have never made a new year’s resolution in my life. One year wicks into another without distinction. It’s not like changing channels from CNN to Fox.

Denny Zager and Rick Evans recorded “In the Year 2525” in 1968. The song was number one for six weeks in 1969.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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