Friday, April 29, 2016

'Y' is for 'Y2K'

    The letter 'Y' presents a challenge when it comes to the
"Hmm, that might be why
it's called a 'challenge.'"
A-Z Challenge.  There really aren't an overabundance of words which begin with that particular letter.  Well, beyond 'yak.' Likewise with the letter 'X.'  Thankfully, I'll always have Xerxes.

    Last year I wrote a 'Yellow Snow' haiku starring our favorite numbskull, Joe Biden.  In 2013 (I took 2014 off), I penned a more "educational" (well, for this place, anyway) post when I described how the practice of all those ribbon magnets on cars originated in Yellow Ribbon.  You can click on the link, if you wish (once again, who really does that?).

    If you don't click on it, here's a hint.  It has to do with....

Tony Orlando
And Dawn
    This time around, I thought of once again going for something educational (like I said, for this place, anyway).  Maybe why the animal "yak" has nothing to do with the technicolor yawn "yack."
As funny as that would be
"Frankly, I resent the association."
    But, when I experienced a problem with my computer (i.e., not plugging it in), I was reminded of a huge information technology crisis which happened over sixteen years ago.

    Cue nostalgic waterfall effects....

    Let's return to a time when Bill Clinton was still president, mad
"Not everybody.  Sheesh."
cow disease caused everyone to be terrified to buy hamburgers, and Bruce Jenner didn't have boobies.

    A time when people began to worry that civilization as we knew it would end as we staggered into the new millennium (which, as anyone who watched Seinfeld knew, wouldn't start until the year 2001).

    Yes, the year 2000 (nobody ever just referred to it as just "2000") threatened to bring the world's computer systems to its knees.  Because, when computers were first designed (sometime after World War II.  Or later.  Or earlier. I could find out, but screw it.  Let's just say before most of us were born), the whiz kids who gave us these boons of modern living failed to realize that, eventually, years would begin with "20" instead of "19."

"Meh.  Don't sweat it.
We'll probably be dead by then, anyway."
    So, they blithely adopted a two digit, rather than four, timing convention.  I guessed they figured anything more was "so 21st Century."  By the time 2000 rolled around, they reasoned, computers would be as obsolete as horse drawn carriages and music videos on MTV.  Or sex robots would be invented and nobody would care anyway.

    Well, wouldn't you know it, they were wrong (yeah, I'm as
"You should see what I can do on this thing."
amazed at you that science got something wrong).  

    Computers, instead of being obsolete, had an even greater stranglehold on society.


        If something wasn't done about what came to be known as the 
"As if that would be a problem.  Pussy English."
"Millennium Bug Problem" (I gave up reminding people that the millennium didn't start until 2001) or, simply, Y2K, civilization as we knew would cease to exist.  Planes would fall out of the sky, nuclear power plants would explode, and George W. Bush would be president.  

    Essentially, we'd return to a 1900 lifestyle.  

      A global effort began to solve this potential disaster. 
"Is everyone's computer Y2K complaint?"
"You're shittin' us, right?"

     Legions of nerds and millions of dollars were marshalled to thwart Armageddon.  As I was in the Navy at the time and used computers for a substantial part of my job (to say nothing of cutlasses, grog, and parrots), I needed to ensure my systems were "Y2K Compliant."

Seriously, people sit down
and think about this stuff?
    Complicating matters was the fact that the Year 2000 also took "Gregorian Calendar Scholars" (and you thought "Shoe Salesman" sounded sexy) completely by surprise.  

    Apparently, 2000 was a Leap Year, after all.  To normal people, this probably is obvious.  But, it seems that there is a rule:  "If a year is divisible by 100 it is NOT a Leap Year.  But, if a year is divisible by 400, it is a Leap Year."

Okay, this may be in poor taste

    Anyway, as I watched Dick Clark count down to 2000, I nervously watched the sky.  

    Happily, all the effort expended to save us was worth it.  Planes did not fall from the sky, nothing exploded, and the zombie apocalypse did not happen.

    But, that damn dog next door didn't shut up.  And George Bush became president.

    Still, we don't seem to have suffered any lasting ill effects from "Y2K."  No catastrophic event seemed to have slipped through.
Except one.

Uh, oh.


  1. Could Trump have been the Y2K bug? It takes time for these creatures to develop from their larval stage. I can imagine him as an orange grub burrowing below the ground and occasionally surfacing to eat a Mexican. Do you remember the film Tremors? It was the first time I heard the term "mother-humper".

    1. That would actually be a great science fiction story!

  2. However, those who made those stuffed Y2K bugs made a fortune...

    1. Never let a crisis go to waste.
      I've heard that somewhere.

  3. "Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the ol oak tree..." yeah, I remember that song. Does that make me old? Don't answer that. Just don't.

    Which means I also remember the panic surround Y2K but didn't succumb to it. Didn't pull a penny out of the bank. We partied like it's 1999 though!

    1. If you want to truly feel old, ask a whippersnapper if they know the origin of all those ribbon magnets. Bet most won't.
      I honestly stood on my front porch at midnight, January 1, 2000 to see if anything was going to happen.
      It didn't. I was asleep fifteen minutes later.

  4. YUGE mistake.

    Perfect post and yes you'll always have Xerxes

  5. YUGE, YUGE, 2K-times YUGE!

    And it's as if the world didn't have 2000 years to prepare for Y2K! Yidiots!

    1. Yeah, it took them by surprise.
      A lot like Trump leading in April.

  6. I remember King of the Hill when they bought a ton of toilet paper and a grandfather clock because Y2K was coming. I shouldn't laugh at the toilet paper thing though cause my grandma did that in 1987. We didn't have to buy toilet paper for 2 years after she died. And that was after spitting half with my aunt.

    1. It's all fun and games until you need to use the newspaper.

  7. I made a lot of money as an illustrator creating Y2K images for newspapers and magazines, pictures that look very quaint today. Good times for me.

  8. I knew it wouldn't do anything

    a phrase that could have worked if Y2K came true as well

  9. After the new year went through in Italy and Greece I had no worries and could fall asleep and rest peacefully.

  10. I just laughed it off. That and the dumb Mayans. If anyone will screw the world it's an idiot like Trump.

  11. My dad assures me that Y2K really was a big problem and, as a systems analyst, it was a busy time for him. I really wish I was slightly older than 10 at the time so I could see for myself how people reacted when the world didn't blow up.

  12. My computer had a Y2K bug. It thought it was 1980 until I fixed the date on it. Well, the media need something to freak out about, so that was it. For then. And now...

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

  13. Oh yes...everyone was on freak mode buying tons of water and twinkies....I found it quite amusing