noughts

What is a shorthand way of saying that something happened after the year 1999 and before 2010? If it happened after 1989 and before 2000, then I could say it happened in the 90s. I don’t want to use “early 2000s” because that can also include times after 1999 and before 2040.

I’ve sometimes seen folks use “noughts” to describe the 200X years. I was ready to swear that these folks were American but I’ve been told that is not the case. Apparently, no self-respecting American would use the word “nought” except in the sense of “What in hell is a nought?”

When I wrote about something that happened around 2003, I wrote that it was in “the early noughts.” Apparently, only two kinds of folks could figure out what I meant:

  1. Brits
  2. Folks who read a lot of stuff by Brits

From a small sample set, I found no one knew what I was talking about except for Pam and Corwin. Facebook friends were mystified. My barber thought that my speech was more confusing than usual.

After thinking about it, I remembered that one of the games from my childhood was called “noughts and crosses”. Americans know this game as either “Xs and Os” or “tic-tac-toe”.

To be clear, this isn’t because Americans are stupid. It’s because I’ve lost track (again) of what’s American and what’s English.

This is gonna happen again.

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