Sayonara New Year's Eve novelties! 2009 is your last chance to wear googly double-zero glasses for another millennium. The 2010 version (see below) just won't be the same, and the original inventors are quitting the business.

The years have slipped by and faded away. A dear friend emailed me about it this morning:

Do you realize that this is the last time we're gonna be able to wear the 200_ new years eve novelty glasses? This is it, no more double zero. Humanity will have to wait, literally, a thousand years before we can make those delightful spectacles again. Anyway, because of the historic nature of this New Year, and since I'm here on 47th and 6th anyway I think i'm gonna just head over into Times Square and see whats going on there tonight. I want to be a part of the magic. When you turn on Dick Clark tonight, keep an eye out for me. I'll be the one trying to kiss some high school student from Nebraska as the ball goes down.

The inventors of dates-as-glasses had a good run. One day 17 years ago, Richard Sclafani and Peter Cicero were getting canned at some bar in Seattle and came up with the idea of making glasses frames out of dates because the nines in 1991 made convenient eye-holes. They filled two notebook pages with ideas for specs of the, um... specs. Which glow in the dark!

But eventually their good idea—which also applied to graduates who wanted to remind everyone that this was, in fact, the year they were graduating... right now—was copied by imitators who made the glasses more flimsy, for cheaper. But it didn't matter to the consumer, apparently. "The majority of sales happen on New Year's Eve out in events. It's an impulse buy," says a vendor who sold the optics online. "I don't think people are looking for durable quality that evening." And, yeah, he's probably right.

So the funds winnowed away and only a few thousand people bought the original 2009 funk party glasses. So the two dudes—who, as it turns out, didn't make that much money off of their patented idea, a couple hundred thousand dollars maybe—were faced with the looming presence of 2010, which would necessitate creating an entirely new mold where the 2 and 1 are higher than the 0's. It would have cost $20,000.

And that was the tipping point. There will be no more.

Godspeed to you, dear friends. Who made New Year's Eve a little dorkier with each passing year, and are now heading swiftly into the hallowed halls of pop antiquity.

As 2008 Closes, So Does Business For Those Year-End Glasses [Seattle Times]

Photos: First, COURTNEY BLETHEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES; Second, Richard Blakeley with Denton model!