What decade would you chooseSteve Hammer

The topic of discussion in my condo the other day was time. Not Time magazine, but that thing which supposedly heals all wounds. Do clocks move slower in classrooms? I believe so, and they move in direct proportion to the charisma of the teacher. A good teacher's class is over in minutes while a poor teacher's class goes on longer than the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

It began with, "Where has this year gone?" It seems like just yesterday I was sawing through a sheet of ice to get my car door open. And now the State Fair is over, signifying the end of summer.

In just a few days, the holiday shopping season will be starting and we'll be talking about what to do on New Year's Eve.

I don't care what physicists say, time is not a constant. If time moved at an even and consistent pace, then the hour between 8 a.m., when I get up, and 9 a.m., when I leave for work, would move at the same pace as the hour between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

But it doesn't. In the morning, that hour zips by so quickly that I barely have time to drink a cup of coffee and choke down a few cigarettes. In the afternoon, that last hour of work moves at one-third the pace.

I first noticed this when in grade school. The end of the school year would arrive in May or June. There was enough time to go to the pool a few times and shoot off some firecrackers, then it was August and time to go back to school.

Do clocks move slower in classrooms? I believe so, and they move in direct proportion to the charisma of the teacher. A good teacher's class is over in minutes while a poor teacher's class goes on longer than the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

You hear old people say all the time that the years move by very quickly, that one day they're getting married and the next they're watching their grandchildren run around. I think it really does work that way.

After we discussed the nature of time, the conversation moved into which period of time would we choose to live. One friend of mine said they wanted to live in the Middle Ages, where wizards and dragons apparently roamed the earth.

I reminded them that one could die from a simple staph infection back then, and even the richest and most powerful kings were often felled by syphilis and ridden with lice.

Someone else said they wanted to live in the 1960s, where every summer was a summer of love, the Beatles were the kings of music and there was an anti-war protest or cool riot just about every single day. Racial protests led to a second civil war, which the good guys won.

I had to jump in and remind them that the 1960s were also the time of the draft, where poor and powerless people had to go to Vietnam while the rich and powerful stayed behind and smoked pot.

And while the concept of free love sounds good in theory, apparently razor technology did not allow women the standard level of hygiene considered acceptable today, if you know what I mean.

So you're talking about free love with hairy, radical women who believed that the war in Vietnam would end honorably, that Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King would be allowed to live and that three television channels were more than enough.

Screw that, I said.

So the question came up of which time I'd choose. I have fuzzy memories of the 1970s and reasonably clear memories of the '80s, '90s and '00s. I was a child in the 1970s so all I really remember is President Carter telling us we needed to conserve gasoline and Ronald Reagan saying we'd never run out of oil.

The 1980s were a lot like today. You had godawful fashions - was there anything uglier than neon green? - and crappy cable TV and corrupt politicians running things in Washington. The only difference between the 1980s and now is the aforementioned hygienic use of razors by women.

Otherwise, you're looking at the same thing. Lying politicians, a reckless president unafraid to break the law when it suited him and a series of wars fought against ever-changing enemies. In the '80s, we were giving Osama bin Laden money and weapons and selling arms to Iran.

Now we're fighting one war against bin Laden and itching to fight another one with Iran. The most fun I had in the 1980s was jeering and heckling Chief Justice Rehnquist during a speech he gave at IU.

That leaves us the '90s. Good music, a great president, economic boom times, gasoline costing less than $2 a gallon and, again, that razor thing.

There are five years left in this decade, which is more than enough time to fix things. All we need are a few good antiwar demonstrations, some campus violence, some better music and we'll have the good parts of the '60s with few of the bad.

That's why my answer about what decade I prefer is Now. I can sense that the times are a-changing. There is no political "center" anymore. The neocons got 51 percent of the vote last year but wield 100 percent of the power.People aren't gonna stand for that too much longer. That's why I intend on just waiting things out, saving up a few bucks and getting ready to enjoy the last half of this decade. I think the good guys are gonna win this third civil war, too.