Silence. It goes out carrying a knife. Not a samurai sword. But a knife. Less conspicuous. Conveniently deviant.
I hated its lack of discipline. I couldn’t predict it. As a kid I remember clapping in the shower, tapping my foot on the wet floor as the soap slid down my body. I hated the silence. So much that it had to be me, and only me, that killed it. Not nature, not some famous dude on the radio, but me.
There was an old piano in the living room of our first house. An old soul. On most evenings, I would hear it waking up, complaining like an old man as my dad settled down to play. But even that sounded beautiful. I would crawl down under it whenever my father played and lie there with my eyes open, basking in the silhouette of the parting sun as I felt my restless body slowly sinking up into the ancient wood.
I crawled under a lot of things. But the rusty old piano in the living room was my favourite. The creaky old bed in my grandpa’s room came at a close second. I especially liked to crawl under it when he was just about to fall asleep. He would toss and turn, trying to find a soft spot and I would listen to the creaks and the woody whines. It’s a child’s dream to have such a haven, a place where you hear everything you can’t see.
When I was about six years old, we moved to a new house. Our piano came with us and we gave it a very special place in our new shell. I couldn’t wait to lie under the piano once again, caught in the tension between the familiar above me and the novel below me. But I was to find out that something was terribly wrong.
“The C note”, my father cried. Unfortunately, the movers had not been careful enough with the old musical contraption and the old man had lost a tooth. One key somewhere to the right on the mundane assortment of ebony and ivory had stopped making the ‘C’ sound it was supposed to make. A tragic silence had replaced it. I couldn’t care less about what letter had gone missing. For all I cared, the key looked like one of those those giant statues on Easter island.
Dad never got it fixed. He just avoided it most of the time since it was on the extreme right and he used it mostly for high pitched embellishments. But there were moments when he would get carried away, stimulated by the rising music, and stumble upon the silent key. Under the piano, I would feel his muscles tense up in silent disapproval and self-reproach. Then, he would move on.
When I was around 8, I found myself before the piano everyday. No longer under it but at a useful creative distance. I too stumbled onto the silent key a couple of times. But then I got used to it. In fact, whenever there was a pause in a piece of music I was playing, instead of making my arms briefly hover in the air, I would press down on the silent key. It became my “thing”. I started treating silence like sound, like another note. And in time, I fell in love with it. And just like that, the kid who hated silence was tricked into falling in love with it by some divine force acting through a couple of careless movers. It became forever clothed in the delicate colours of sound. It’s nudity covered, it became a safe haven for my childhood. A place where I could hear everything I couldn’t see. And I didn’t even have to crawl in to find it.
I was born in the year 2000. I entered into the world like a boss at the very beginning of a millennia. I made history when I opened my eyes. The doctor said “OMG, this kid is special”. He didn’t say OMG because I was cute or cried for my milk like an 80s rockstar. He said OMG because I was born in the dopest, swaggest, and most practical year of the 21st century.
Being born in 2000 puts me at an advantage over everyone else in the world, save the few that were chosen to hold the same title as me. What is the title, you ask?
We are called ’00 babies.
Did I make it up? Not really.
I know. I know…
According to The Free Dictionary and Wikipedia, ’00’ is an acronym for public toilets in Germany and Eastern Europe but that’s not stopping us. On the contrary, we know this is a ploy to take our title away from us. We’re not giving up. We find strength in the jealousy of people born in not-so-cool years. We feed off the envy of those who say they’re better than us because they’ve ‘experienced both the 20th and the 21st centuries’. C’mon. They’re not that special.
Look at people born in 1987 for example. What a pity. You have no idea how many people who asked them about their birthday ran away because they felt threatened. Can you blame them? It sounds like a countdown after 1.
Or look at 1969. It looks like 9 did a flip.
Or consider 1992. 9 is definitely third wheeling.
1991 looks like a mirror image gone wrong.
Face it. None of them are cool enough.
I actually even agree with many people who say that it should have been illegal to be born in 2000. It’s just too cool. There’s a line in Scott Pligrim vs The World where Todd Ingram absolutely wrecks Scott and this girl says “In short, being Vegan just makes you better than other people”. I would say that’s the case with us ’00 babies too (pls forgive me Vegans. I lou you all). There totally should have been a law put out sometime in 1998 (another number I’m not even going to start dissing) that all men and women should, for the sake of the people of the 21st century, master their passion and abstain from all activity that may result in ’00 babies.
Imagine if that actually happened. An year that saw no babies. Pampers and Huggies would go bankrupt. As consequential as it would have been, I think it’s a step people from the 20th century should have taken.
It should have even been a matter of security. Such a high number of zeroes in someone’s birthday is scary. After all, zero is like the most secretive number ever. Kids don’t even know that it’s a legit number until they learn about Whole numbers in primary school. In some cases, they don’t know it till after they get into middle school. This is rare but very common with kids who have way cooler things to do than learn about numbers. Even NASA when they do the countdown for their launches makes sure you never hear the zero. They blame it on the rockets. I don’t believe that for a second.
You have to know that I’m extremely grateful to have been born in 2000. I came pretty close to losing the title. Thank God my mom didn’t meet my dad a year before. What a disaster it would have been to be born in 1999. At the cusp of making history but falling down into an abyss of numbers that are not special at all. A bottomless pit of numbers that lack the abundance of the magic of the 0 (cue choir Aaahs).
Imagine all the recognition and fame I would have missed out on. It would have been such a pity. But it would have been a greater loss to have missed out on the practicality that comes with being born in 2000. I just need to look at the last two digits of the current year to know my age. Believe me when I say it’s a much faster process.
If after all that I’ve said you still don’t believe me, I don’t blame you. Most ’00 babies are still on their way to becoming famous and successful. But mark my words when I say we will take over the world.
Peace, hugs, and love.
P.S. If you were not born in 2000, hit the like button. If you were, where the heaven have you been all this time???
Author’s note: The above post is part of a series called ‘Mumbo is Jumbo’. This series will look at seemingly silly ideas and make them weirder. Some are meant to be funny, while others are meant to bring out the aesthetic qualities of an experience. This particular piece was inspired by my belief that being born in 2000 is cool.