Debunking the hYpe 2K
Every week on my radio show on WVFI, I do what I call a "Millennium Update," during which I talk about some weird, strange or otherwise idiotic thing that has to do with the year 2000. For the half-dozen or so of you who've actually heard my show, you know. For the rest of you, here's a brief primer.
Calling this impending New Year's "the dawn of the new millennium" is wrong on two counts. The millennium begins in 2001. I won't get too purist on this, since we find 2000 more special because of the fact that it will be the first time in 1000 years that the year won't start with a 1, and plus, we love round numbers. It's a moot point, anyway, because we know have scientific evidence that whoever first dated Christ's birth at the year 0 was off. Jesus was actually born in 4 or 5 Before Christ, which means we're getting all stoked to ring in the year 2004 or 2005. Kind of takes some of the starch out of it, doesn't it? This is also why it's moronic to think that 2000 will be the year God destroys the earth. If it were, we wouldn't have lived past 1996.
But enough of that. Let's get on to the dumber stuff. The year 2000 has been, more than anything else, a huge marketing ploy. M&M's have been declared "the official candy of the new millennium" for almost two years now. Cheerios is making a millennium spinoff in which they have 2's in with the 0's. Wait, did I say "Cheerios"? I meant Spaghetti-O's. No, I meant both. There's Millennium Twinkies, Millennium Fruit Loops, the Mi-loony-um at Subway and Act II Microwave Popcorn, "the microwave popcorn of the new millennium." What, is the popcorn Y2K-compliant? If it were, you wouldn't need a microwave, would you?
Ah, yes, Y2K. Did you see "Y2K: The Movie" on NBC a couple of weeks ago? That's okay, no one else did, either, except me. It won't be as bad as that irresponsible film says that it will. I have reasons why I believe that Y2K is a lot of hYpe-2K.
First, I bought a computer in 1992. It has Windows 3.1. It sucks. About three or four years ago, I got curious as to whether or not it would accept dates after the year 2000, unlike my VCR. (Don't worry, that VCR has made its trip to the great Radio Shack in the sky.) I reset the date to 11:58 p.m., Dec. 31, 1999, and in a couple of minutes, it read 12:01 a.m., Jan. 1, 2000. Now, if my computer, which probably would get whipped by an Apple IIe, is Y2K-compliant, I imagine most of the computers in the world are.
Second, Bill Gates is estimated to be worth $70 billion. Problem is, most of it is tied up in Microsoft stocks. If, on Jan. 1, 2000, almost every Microsoft computer in the world does nothing but state "Abort, Retry, Fail?" Gates' fortune will be vaporized. I have a feeling he'll spend a little quid if that's what he needs to do to get the job done.
Third, here's a short list of all the things that are Y2K-compliant: most of the U.S. government, including the j2
Pentagon and the State Department, the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service (damn it, if there was just one thing that Y2K could wipe out); the New York Stock Exchange; and Meijer, where I am so privileged to be employed. Therefore, we will all have a world filled with basic human necessities. Now, I do have a worry or two that we might have a dip in stocks because computers in other nations may not be as Y2K-compliant. But I don't think that the global financial market will suffer a meltdown because the Pakistani market has a blip.
However, there are still some people who are pushing the panic button. Some jerk has been incessantly spamming my e-mail address for almost three months, saying that Y2K is the end of the world. Apparently, he's the only one who's seen some verse of Revelations that says that the world will end. He also believes that he's the only one who truly understands the universe, therefore he should be made the head of NASA. If I had my way, I would put him in a straightjacket in a rubber room and watch him go insane on New Year's, but that's just me.
Those are just some of my pet peeves. I don't write this to try to be a buzzkill. By all means, go nuts on New Year's Eve. Party like it's 1999. We've earned it for putting up with all of this stuff.
Mike Marchand is an junior English major. His column appears every other Monday and his e-mail address is Marchand.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, December 6, 1999