The Me Decade. The You Decade. The Poop Deckade. Don't you love it? I do. I could munch on those decades all decade long. A month of decades. Mmmm. How about Our Finest Decade? Or the Ten-Year Decade? Gosh. And just when I'm getting set to fire off 20 or 30 more decades, why, who should pop up on my 12-inch-measured-diagonally-screen but Col. Tom Wolfe himself, natty as you please in his Charlie Chans, telling Tom Brokaw (what's he saying?), telling him (out with it, out with it), telling him that as the 1970s were known as the Me Decade, so the 1980s will be known (yes?), will be known as (can you stand it?), the Purple Decade. Will you say that again? That's purple, son, not mauve.

Well, Tom Wolfe is a decade-namer, that's for sure. Everybody knows that; and he has a right to his opinion, that's what I say, along with: "Nice play, Shakespeare" and "So funny I forgot to laugh." But purple? Really? If you've got to pick a color, why not pick one that everybody's wearing? Say, blue.

Or red. As in: in the.

Did I ever tell you about the time I bounced four checks in three weeks, and the bank manager sent me a note that read: Dear Mr. Rosenblatt, you have been overdrawn four times in the past three weeks. If you do not learn to handle your finances more responsibly, we will find it inconvenient to maintain your account.

To which I dashed off: Dear Mr. Trust, if it's inconvenient for you that I have no money, imagine how it is for my wife and children. (I floored him with wit. They dropped the account.)

But I'm off the track.

How about the Dancing Decade? The Disco Decade? The Disco Duckade?

How about The Decade From Outer Space? Science fiction is the rage, you know. And The Decade From Outer Space has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Like Saturn. How about The Decade the Earth Stood Still? With Garp as Gort. Which reminds me: There was a movie made in 1930 called "Just Imagine," about life in the future, about life specifically in 1980, tomorrow; how it flies. And people had numbers instead of names, and took food pills, and they all flew up to Mars, which was ruled by a queen named Loo-Loo, who had an evil double named Boo-Boo . . . Oops, there I go again. You'll have to forgive me. It's just that this decade-naming business is so demanding on the brain.

The Light Decade -- how about that? To indicate a carefree spirit, or illuminatin, or both, or neither. Then we could call the thrill of living in such an era the Charge of the Light Decade. Get it? Or what about the Tooth Decayed? Get that? Gee, I don't know. It's so darn hard dreaming up these labels and then even when you dream one up, you have to go explain it, and then you've got to go explain that, and when that's all done you've still got to stuff everything in the world into what you've explained, which is why it took some squeezing to fit Mother Theresa in the Me Decade, I can tell you that.

The Gregory Peckade?

Oh, maybe Purple isn't such a bad idea. You never know. Cleopatra's sails were purple, as are our mountain majesties, as is a purple cow, though I never hope to see one. There was a song about purple people-eaters a while back, and the song "Deep Purple" is beautiful, quite beautiful. May the Purple Decade be beautiful as well. May all your Christmases be purple; may you follow the Purple Brick Road; at the end of your rainbow may there be a pot of purple,

Tom. in 1976 -- an increase of 177 percent. (The previous high in this cent