The Y2K


Remember how scared we were?

Remember how we all stocked our cupboards with canned goods and bottled water, and bought a generator, and withdrew all of our money from the bank and buried it in a jar in the back yard, and then built an elaborate underground bunker system to survive the imminent nuclear holocaust, and spent the eve of December 31, 1999 down in the “hole” eating cheese (for what we thought might be the last time) and hugging our loved ones (for what we thought might be the last time)?

No? Just my family then?

(Note to self: Remember where jar of money is buried. Dig up jar of money. Pay off credit card.)

For months before January 1, we were all told that once the clock struck 2000, we were screwed (to put it mildly). The computers were going to crash and/or spontaneously combust, causing power outages, financial ruin, prison breaks and nuclear disasters.

Prince (or the artist formerly known as Prince) was warning us way back in 1982: “two thousand zero zero, party over, oops, out of time. So tonight I’m going to party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine.” When you hear the song 1999, you just hear a timeless dance party anthem by one of the most innovative and eclectic artists of our time – but pay attention to those haunting lyrics: “War is all around us, my mind says prepare to fight. So if I gotta die I’m going to listen to my body tonight.”

(I’m not sure what Prince meant by “I’m going to listen to my body tonight” but I appreciate his enthusiasm.)

We prepared for the worst… And then the clock stuck midnight. And we  dusted the crackers off our shirts, lived in the bunker for another six weeks, and then opened the bullet-proof vault door to find that humanity was alive and well.

And here we are… Fifteen years later. Older, wiser… And with more faith in computers.

I think we all learned a lesson that day.



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