"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
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
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
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
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