1998 - a Glossary from the Future
by Jan Baughman

What influence will the end-of-millennium craziness have on the future of the American culture? Here's one possible vantage point from the future looking back:

Adultery: An act or state of being in which the party of the first part engages in thoughts, behaviors and/or deeds with the party of the third part without the expressed, written consent of the party of the second part. The specificity of the word is only applicable when the thoughts/behaviors/deeds are public knowledge. The use of the word transformed over time from an insult to a term of endearment and 'non-adulterers' became cultural outcasts.

Fertility Drugs: A family of medicines used to improve the chance of a woman becoming pregnant. At the turn of the millennium, septuplicate and octuplicate pregnancies became the rage and the US per capita birth rate soared to 4.7. Fertility drugs were banned during the Great Depression of 2002. (see "cloning", "SUV")

Impeachment: A measure voted on by the House Republicans against the popular consensus in an attempt to remove Bill Clinton from office. President Clinton was acquitted by the Senate.(see "Starr, Kenneth")

Intern: A position once reserved for a supervised apprenticeship, common in medical and governmental agencies. The Supreme Court, with its conservative majority, ruled in 2005 that the use of interns was an unconscionable abuse of power and that employers were not permitted to retain unpaid persons for labor or otherwise salacious activities.

Is: Once commonly used as the third person singular present indicative tense of the verb "to be", its actual meaning became so controversial and far from its origin that it ultimately disappeared from the English language.

Speaker(s) of the House: Newt Gingrich: zealot, blamed for the poor election outcomes of 1998, his demise was headed by Bob Livingston, who blamed Larry Flynt for exposing his adulterous (archaic) behavior and resigned, running unsuccessfully for sainthood, followed by Dennis Hastert, a puppet Speaker on whom no records can be found.

Starr, Kenneth: A tool used by the right wing conservatives in an attempt to remove Bill Clinton from office; hosted a tell-all talk show with Monica Lewinsky. (see "impeachment", "intern")

SUV: Sport Utility Vehicle. An oversized form of transportation popularized by middle to upper-middle class families for the transport of children and pets. As SUVs eventually reached the size of cement trucks, they were blamed for the 2002 gas crisis and the emergence of road rage as a form of recreation. Most states had banned SUVs by the year 2005. (see "Soccer Mom")

Viagra: A drug developed to aid men with erectile dysfunction; its widespread recreational use and poor safety profile ultimately resulted in a ban on its sale. (see "Bob Dole"; "cardiac arrest")

Published December 26, 1998
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