uses for an expired Millennium
by John Rose
Use the millennium as the basis for a round
triangular?) table discussion called 101 Uses for an Expired
Millennium. Invite the following characters to participate:
John: Tall, skinny, writer and singer. Instigator of the
discussion to follow. Loves animals, women, solitude.
Israel: Average build, African-American skin, strong nose, weak
chin. Easily antagonized. Feigns indifference to animals, loves
Korea: Dog, probably coon-hound. Feigns indifference to people,
afraid of the dark. Sleeps on the bed whenever possible, steals the
covers. Amateur psychic. Stickler for details. Talks.
USE YOUR SKILLS
Well, I've been writing a fair amount of poetry and fiction
lately, but nobody has been buying it. To be fair, I haven't offered
it to anybody, but one has a sense about these things. My temporary
failure has been cause for much reflection, and in the course of
same I realized I had been ignoring the genre which, so to speak,
led me to the trough of literature in the first place. I speak, of
course of the genre popularly known as 101 Uses.
The seminal work in this category is of course 101 Uses for a
Dead Cat, and this was the work which first attracted my attention.
It was nothing more than a chance Christmas gift, if you can
imagine, and before I knew what was happening I was transported into
a thrilling and arcane world in which nothing was what it seemed to
be, in which cats could become candlesticks and--why not?--beggars,
Humbly, then, I venture to add my little work to the 101 Uses
pantheon. I aspire simply to be a little voice from the corner, to
say in effect that I know something for which there are 101 Uses,
and nothing more. You, beloved reader, are free to come and go as
you choose. No one Use can have primacy over another (except Use 47,
that's a really good one) for they are all but suggestions. You may
want to read randomly, as though in 101 Uses for the I Ching. Though
I don't see any point in using coins or yarrow stalks to dictate
your choices in this case, that would just be silly.
1. If the millennium still smells fresh, it can probably be used
for a week or so past the expiration.
2. Place the millennium, Crusades side up, in a can half full of
congealed gelatin. Every time someone runs out the bottom and
screams that the end of the decade isn't until 2001, it will make
pretty patterns, and the gelatin will shudder in an amusing way. It
will also dampen the sound so that you needn't be troubled by the
actual content of the message. When the whole mess begins to
putrefy, take it out in the middle of the night and slip it into a
landfill. Any remaining gelatin makes great toys for the kids.
3. Turn the millennium upside-down and fill the interior with
the bodies of those who have been killed in the name of God. This
will be the ark of our true guilt. Float the millennium into space to
meet up with extra-terrestrials or the sun (just slightly in advance
of our own rendezvous) and hope for divine compassion.
Jesus Christ, John. Just gimme the Kool-Aid now and get
it over with.
Korea: I don't get it.
4. Slice the millennium into even sections and frappe, one by one.
Just for the fun of it.
5. If the millennium has done you wrong, get even by cursing it and
all of its descendants throughout time immemorial.
6. If the millennium has smiled kindly upon you, show your
appreciation by tying a big red bow around its neck and finding it a
playmate, say a Jack Russell Terrier, for Christmas.
7. Erect a monument in your neighborhood commemorating April 23,
1616, when the millennium misplaced the lives of both William
Shakespeare, who many believe to have been Francis Bacon, and Miguel
de Cervantes, not only the title character in ''Man of La Mancha''
but also the author of Don Quixote.
8 .If you can afford the consequences, do not teach your computer
how to read the new triple 0 date. The resulting confusion might be
just the environmental stimulus needed to catapult her across the
intuitive gulf separating the fully electronic from the fully
9. There will be an ever increasing number of those for whom
one location is unsatisfactory. Just as the skyscraper is becoming
obsolete in the age of the computer and the FAX machine, so too will
single communities become obsolete in the global village. People no
longer need to congregate physically in order to work together, and
the result will be a desire for many communities, spread out over
multiple regions and continents.
Korea: I wish I'd said that.
Israel: Shut up, Korea. Who ever
heard of a dog in a round table discussion anyway?
John: Hey, that's
my dog you're talking to, fella.
Korea: ...and ownership will become
obsolete, particularly ownership of one living thing by another...
Israel: See that? He comes on like Nostradamus' dog or some shit,
and expects us to be all impressed by his dog wisdom. And by the
way, that last one didn't sound like a "Use'' to me.
Just rephrase it, like this: ''Become global. Fuck ownership.''
Israel: Perfect. And keep your dog prophecies to yourself.
It's OK, Korea. It's my book, contribute what you want.
John: May I continue?
10. Allow the millennium to subvert your dreams of children. You have
loved animals, real and stuffed, plants, other people's children,
your car, your living spaces, all as though you had brought them
into the world with someone you love, so why not pretend that the millennium
is your ultimate creation? Make the new millennium a time
for total renunciation of even the potential for responsibility.
Korea: Are you trying to say that you love me?
shove the millennium up your ass?
11. Wrap the millennium up in all the plastic grocery bags you've
ever thrown away. Double-bag it, they break easily.
12. Give the millennium to a friend in 2001 instead of a Christmas
fruitcake. The friend can give it back in 2002 and you can argue
about whose gift was the more significant.
Israel: Fruitcake? I thought that was some kind of dog food you
gave me by mistake.
Korea: Very funny. I'm still expecting new
John: You will let me know if you have anything besides
bitching to contribute?
Korea: Yeah, sure.
13. Sell the millennium as scrap so that you can pay your rent for a
month. I know a good scrap guy in Oakland who'll give me $100 for a
1982 Jeep CJ7 that won't run, so the millennium should be worth more
than that. Maybe it will pay for two months.
Whadda you live in Oakland for anyway, white boy?
John: Some kind of law against being white and living in Oakland? Some
Israel: No, but most of the people you live by are
black, aren't they?
Israel: So what are you trying to
prove, how much you love us? Do you even know any of them?
know two black people in my neighborhood. Three. No, four, if you
count homeless. The manager of my building, the guy who lives across the street, the guy who tried to sell me a Beatles album
today, and the black half of a homeless interracial couple who
collect bottles, plus whatever they find in my car.
people in the whole neighborhood.
John: I'm not that gregarious.
Israel: Maybe you would be, if your neighbors were all white.
No, he never knows anybody. He's lived right next to beautiful white
women for years without ever introducing himself.
Israel: Man, you are helpless. You oughta get out a little more.
John: Who'd watch Korea?
Israel: Watch him do what, make a sandwich
and look at the news? Read the Wall Street Journal? That talking dog
needs a babysitter like a baseball needs a toothbrush.
with him on this one, John.
Israel: See? He's smarter than he looks.
Hey! Get off me!
John: Down, boy.
Korea: Down this.
going. Now you've turned him against both of us.
14. Roll the millennium into a tube and beat your dog with it.
John: I'm kidding! Come on, come back. I'm sorry.
that dog's got you whipped.
Korea: I heard that.
15. Do the environmentally responsible thing by recycling the millennium. It can be made into a comfortable and attractive
protective wrap to shield our delicate hands from the new millennium.
And so on. If your community does not yet have millennium recycling,
go door-to-door collecting signatures to force your local recycling
company to do whatever it takes.
16. Divide the millennium into electoral colleges, without regard to
length of time or population, and then make really important
decisions using the resulting formulas. The millennium may not thank
you for it, but you'll definitely be remembered.
Korea: If that's supposed to be some kind kind of Bush joke, I
voted for Nader.
John: Who did you vote for if it's a Nader
17. Sit comfortably on a cushion with your legs crossed. As you
breathe, think of nothing but the air flowing in and out of your
body, and the millennium. Let it be one continuous motion, in and
out, in and out. As the cares of the day come into your mind,
acknowledge them and then let them go, returning your attention to
your breathing and the millennium. If your legs begin to hurt, allow
the thought of them hurting to just drift past your consciousness,
and then let it go, always coming back to your breathing and the millennium. Now, picture the
millennium as your breath, as you
continue to breathe in and out in a fluid motion. Exhale the Salem
witch trials, the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Renaissance. Inhale
Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, inhale the Black Plague, inhale
Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin. Exhale the Concorde and the
Food and Drug Administration. Inhale Friedrich Nietzsche.
18. Express the millennium using Microsoft Works. Your title won't be
centered over your text, but there will be lots of pretty dotted
lines to guide you while you type. Consider how fundamentally good
19. It's just possible that the millennium doesn't like you. If
that's the case there's no reason to be ashamed of stabbing the millennium
in the back the first chance you get. After all, no millennium lasts forever, and you may get on better with the next
20. I know it's weird, but since I was a kid I've enjoyed peanut
butter and millennium sandwiches. They're much better if you use the
sweet millenniums. The other ones are really disgusting.
21. Where, oh where has my little millennium gone Oh where, oh
where can it be? With it's years so short and it's Reformation so
long Oh where...
I got your millennium right here. Korea's crying.
am not! It's just a really sad song, that's all. Plus, that's how
coon-hounds are supposed to look.
Israel: Got that hang-dog look
about you. Heh-heh.
Korea: I believe that expression was coined for
the Bassett Hound.
John: I think you're cute.
Israel: Oh, you two
got a little something going on I don't know about?
friendship, you ever heard of it?
John: I'm still waiting for
constructive suggestions. Anybody?
22. Korea: Put the millennium on a train for Vegas, and bury it near
a residential area so that it doesn't take as long to seep into the
23. Take the 26 wars of the millennium which resulted in the greatest
number of casualties and assign each a letter of the English
alphabet. World War Two is A, World War One is B, Vietnam is C, the
Crusades are D through N, and so on. Now translate the alphabet into
German, and whichever war ends up associated with an umlaut, pretend
it never happened.
Shit, man, half of those wars did never happen.
Israel: Like the Boer Wars, those were nothing but armed
insurrections. Vietnam was another one.
Korea: I had no idea you had
such a profound interest in semantics.
Israel: I'm giving you the
Korea: Dogs only fight when they have to.
Israel: Yeah, like
when the mail gets delivered.
24-31. Pawn the millennium off on an unsuspecting public through the
use of contemporary advertising techniques, like the infomercial.
Think up some catchy slogans to make it more palatable to the
masses. Like "Own a slice of time."
(finally amused) Yeah, or "Ten centuries of our very
Korea: (giggling) "What dogs want."
Israel: (laughing in spite of himself) "Be the first on your block to
John: "Gomorrah or Sodom, this baby's got 'em."
Israel: Stop! You're killing me.
Korea: (flat on his back with
mirth) "Fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients, for
the life of your family."
Israel: "1000 years or your
John: "We'll meet or beat any price you can
find, and we'll throw in another decade at no extra charge!"
Korea: (wiping tears from his eyes) OK, I give up.
Israel: I don't
know what I'm laughing about. What's next?
32. Separate the millennium into small pieces containing no more than
one idea or event each, and store them in the basement as ammunition
to throw at people you don't like because they are different from
you. This morning I tossed the Inquisition at the milkman and boy
was he startled.
Korea: We don't have a basement.
John: I was speaking
Korea: The basement would be the sewer. Would you
store the millennium in the sewer? (All three mull this over as a
33. Dress the millennium up in tight pants and no shirt and
start a rock and roll band with it. I'll be the drummer. The millennium
is better on bass.
Korea: We don't have a milkman, either.
John: Would you drop it?
Korea: Sure, you want me to roll over, too? Shake?
John: That's not
what I meant.
34. Wash that millennium right outta your hair with Prell ™ by
Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
This is just getting stupid.
John: I'm still waiting for
Israel: I had one, you declined to use it.
35. "Why don't you shove the millennium up your ass."
Heh-heh. Heh-hehe. That wasn't the one I meant.
36. Israel: Pretend your book collection is the millennium and
organize it chronologically so nobody who just wants to read
something including you can ever find a goddamn thing.
John: Hey! Be lucky I let you borrow shit in the first place.
Korea: John, I have a confession to make.
think I might have accidentally put The Count of Monte Cristo where
The Age of Louis XIV should have been.
Korea: I can't
help it! I don't have opposable thumbs!
Israel: You don't have
Korea: Shut up dog-hater. How's your little cat?
Seen her lately?
Israel: You better be kidding, coon-hound.
OK, I think I'm the injured party here, but I forgive you Korea.
Israel: Wow. What a Christian.
37. Think of the millennium as credit card debt. As long as you admit
it happened once a month or so, there's no need to get uptight about
it. If you die before it's completely taken care of, your relatives
can resolve the millennium question with the help of Chapter 11
38. Mix the millennium in a shaker with equal parts Drambuie and
Limoncello for a spiffy Molotov cocktail. Finish with two onions and
Korea: That one was a little morbid.
Israel: Oh, like "the
ark of our true guilt," that's not morbid?
Korea: I didn't say
John: Smiles, my friends, smiles! Now, back to the task.
Israel: Do we really have to sit through a hundred of these things?
John: Dude, that's the genre.
Israel: Whatever, I'm
gonna need a razor blade before that.
Korea: What for?
39. Try to understand the millennium by dissecting the word "millennium."
Think of the root "mill" as in "million," or a
thousand thousands. Think of the suffix "-ium" as in
"titanium," or made from the stuff of titans. Think of the
[neither prefix nor suffix] "len" as in "Lenny and
Squiggy" from the hit comedy series "Laverne and
Shirley," produced by Aaron Spelling, or Ellen DeGeneres the
gay TV star, or Lenny the retard from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men,
or the lens of a microscope (is that plural?) or can you lend me
some money? So we can conclude that under close examination the millennium
looks like a thousand titans acting like idiots on gay TV.
Can you lend me some money?
40. That dead cat book had too many uses anyway. It started to get
redundant, and nobody really hates cats that much except Korea.
Korea: I've actually reached the candlestick one in my basement
Israel: WITH WHOSE CAT?
John: Relax, buddy, we don't
have a basement.
Korea: I was speaking figuratively.
41. If the millennium were an atom, would the specific gravity of the
Theory of Relativity alter the visible position of the electrons
around the nucleus?
What kind of friggin question is that, Einstein?
Just a pet theory of mine.
Korea: I forgive you preemptively of your
inevitable apology for using that word. John: Theory?
42. Take the bus to Des Moines. Walk down the street with the millennium
in your pocket and whistle a happy tune.
43. Put the millennium on the music stand and take out your trombone.
What will it sound like? Shoenberg or Don McLean? Gregorian chant?
Play the millennium in the style of a Strauss Waltz, say the Blue
Danube. Don't you feel better?
44. If the millennium were money, would you spend it all on Malt
Liquor? Would you put it in the bank and let it collect interest
until it grew into the next millennium? Or would you put it in your
pocket and ride the New York subway, giving it to all who asked,
until it was gone? No, I wouldn't either. I'd wave it in the face of
the underprivileged just to show them who was boss. I'm like that.
John: I was being sarcastic.
Israel: Oh, man,
you had me going there for a second.
Korea: I thought dogs were
supposed to be gullible.
45. Sing the millennium to the tune "Smoke on the Water."
46. But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the
east, and Juliet is the millennium. Arise, fair millennium, and kill
the envious moon Who is already sick and pale with grief That thou
her millennium art far more fair than she: Be not her millennium,
since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And
none but fools do wear it, cast it off. It is my millennium, O, it is
John: You know, he died the same day as Cervantes.
John: April 23, 1616.
Israel: That, too.
47. Cut a nice birch limb, take the millennium out behind the barn
and wallop it within an inch of its life for smoking. There's
nothing like a good thrashing to teach the millennium to behave
itself, even in retrospect.
48. If only the millennium could have covered the World Trade Center
like a glove. Like an invisible, airplane-proof glove. Or even
better, if those 1000 years of history could have taught us
something about being human.
Hear, hear, man.
Korea: Maybe we should stop at, say, 50.
49. Teach the millennium in school. Not just what happened, that's
too easy. Try to make some judgments about what it meant and how it
can be prevented from happening again in the same way. Emphasize the
good parts. Emphasize the good people. Move on.
50. What use is it? It's the last use. There's no really profound
way to end a little book like this. I don't really want you to shove
the millennium up your ass. Maybe just put it there in the middle of
the room and light a couple candles. Now think: History makes us all
what we are now, but it doesn't necessarily condemn us to stay that
way. That's my last chapter. Cheers.
Wait, I have one.
Korea: Too late.
Israel: Aw, man. Well,
let's do it again sometime. John, you got any beer?