Cris Mooney
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"Of course, that's just my opinion, and I may be full of shit"
- Dennis Miller -

Since this opinion was considered in great detail, it will be difficult to change my mind. However, it's not impossible. I am always open to reason. I welcome thoughtful, logical, response.


Recorded Nov 30, 1998 

Y2K, Armagedon?

Never let it be said that I don't have something I just wanna say - and brevity is not my strong point. As the Grim Reaper's says in Python's "Meaning of Life", "you Americans, all you do is talk, and talk, and say 'let me tell you something' and 'I just wanna say'". Since I am American, so it is written, so let it be done. 

Is my following opinion a little overboard? Yep. I just like to try and stem off this rising tide of panic where ever possible. I ask for your help. 

As a computer programmer for 20 odd years, I would ask that people take it easy. If there is one movie that all should be familiar with it is "It's a wonderful life". If you learn nothing else from this movie, learn that panic is often worse than the problem. 

Yea baby, your toaster may fail to toast, but are you going to die without warm bread? This sounds like a trivializing point, but it is representative of the issue and explains many people's comments are "so dramatic". The truth is, you should always have printed statements of your accounts...and all planes (dangerous systems) should have backup systems that operate in case of total computer failure (not just year 2000 issues). "Fly by wire" still doesn't fly, as far as I know. Other than that, what is really all that big a deal? 

The basic point is that the danger is simply insignificantly larger as 2000 approaches than it is every day. So if you are going to panic with year 2000 survival techniques, then you might as well have started years ago, and continue forever. Life is terribly dangerous. 

Of course there will be problems. There are problems every day, especially for interns in the White House, and somehow we work through them. It will be worse, but it will be worse for everyone. We will work it out, and the less people panic the simpler it will be. Also note that most all issues for "Jan 01" will become apparent very quickly as those idiots that stake their life on some specific transaction get screwed on Jan 01 - let them fight the fight to get it fixed quickly. Moral: never stake your life on some specific transaction, 2000 regardless. 

OK, so some caution is appropriate. As it always is. But how much? 

As for the year 2000, one should exhibit the same caution they should have each and every day. Any day the power can go out in your house for a week, some scam artist could raid your bank account, the stock market could crash, or a bomb could drop next door. Certainly, with the recent rash of natural disasters we have seen in the news (hurricane Mitch could drop in for dinner any day), one should always have this attitude in mind. Apply the same precautions you apply daily - but don't panic and live in fear. We will pull together. 

Personally, I recommend double checking your stash to be sure it is properly stocked (as it always should be) during the big weeks. Make sure you have the clean underware and whatever else you "stash", and a couple weeks cash on hand, just as you always should. And, of course, I would not depend on some transaction for life or death in the near future...but when should you? 

Contrary to many people's thoughts, which are very well reasoned and advisable for use by those in any industry as motivation to get their "lazy worker bee butts" in gear (and more imperative for political and military institutions where a mistake can launch a bomb), the end consumer does not need to complicate the issue with "panic" level attitudes. 

Some people are, of course, in the thick of it. They address specific operations that have political effects which may extend to bombs (I thank thenm for being there), and thus would have it on the top of their mind. But step back, and realize that. We are not they. 

Finally note that contrary to popular opinion, though many unresolved year 2000 problems will strike exclusively at the bang of Jan 01 2000, most will not. Look at your credit card expiration date (probably sometime in 2000 already). A lot of the problems approach gradually, and pass likewise, and so you should be paying attention to all transactions all the time; as you should anyway, 2000 or not. 

Relax, be normal. I think I may go to the islands for a week or so at that time so I don't have to listen to all the panic hub-bub from those who live their life by minute to minute time critical actions. If my checking account gets screwed up while I'm away, it might be fixed by the time I am back; otherwise I will be prepared to go in and point it out to them (they will already be waiting for me). And, yes, I will accept booking a flight that crosses the big date (maybe I'll save a few bucks since alarmists won't fly). 

Some people say "Better safe than sorry." 

Better safe than sorry? A little boring don't you think? People are not always sorry when they are not "safe", and safe has levels of subjectivity. Thus, it is a fine balance, not an absolute technique. 

If there is value in the philosophy, I would propose that it be toned down and applied to everyday life. The year 2000 is not worth significant extra focus. Put all your eggs into fighting the year 2000 problem, and you will find yourself unprepared when a scorpion visits your boot on Feb 10, 2000. 

Toaster ovens - Oh no! not that! Cars - If driving (advise below), I'll slow to 10 MPH, for 10 secs at 12AM. I may even get to my destination quicker at that speed! Computers - Stay away from robot arms (advise below). Traffic lights - My mother taught me to look both ways. Aircraft - They are magic anyway. I don't know what keeps them from falling in the first place, so I would recommend staying away from them at all times. Air traffic control systems - Ours goes out for hours periodically anyway. Military hardware - GET THOSE LAZY WORKER BEES TO WORK! 

Admittedly, things will go out of control. There will be a gradual increase that will reach a quick, explosive, peak as the clock rolls past midnight, and will receed as the tide. At that peak, we may all know what it is to live! It may be the best experience of your life! 

Best advise: have sex as the century turns, and then most of the problems will not effect you. For most of us, this is a non-2000 influnced activity. If it might help, go at it in view of Toaster ovens, Cars, Computers, Traffic Lights, and Aircraft. Just don't depend on any computerized toys... 

Of course, that's just my opinion, and I may be full of shit [Dennis Miller].