When I think about Y2K 20 years later, I have some good laughs but then reality kicks in today.
What I laugh about are the wild predictions, from the foundation that computer database entries for years with only 2 digits instead of 4, (98 compared to 1998) to the United States government actually thinking they had to get involved by passing the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act, by working with private sector counterparts in order to ensure readiness, and by creating internal continuity of operations plans in the event of problems and set limits to certain potential liabilities of companies with respect to disclosures about their Year 2000 program.
Big brother at its laughable self; did they really think the private sector was going to pooh-pooh this phenomena and pass by the chance at super marketing of stories every day for two years about
possible doom and gloom leading up to the end of the earth? Companies live for this stuff!
Of course the one prediction that caused a lot of worry would be delivery of utilities like electricity and natural gas. Because of that reasonable expectation, my boss at the time, News Radio 980
KMBZ News Director Dale Forbis, assigned me to be at the Kansas City Power and Light station on E. Front St. at midnight to report what happened at the stroke of midnight.
That was fine by me; it was just a couple of miles from the house. It also was a couple of miles from where I wanted to celebrate the New Year, the Quaff in downtown Kansas City, but that would
have to wait until after midnight. My pocketbook also liked the assignment; it meant time-and-a-half for this substandard-paid radio reporter.
Midnight arrived…and nothing happened. Great for Kansas City power customers, bad for reporters who needed something to say that would grab attention. The lights stayed on, a KCP&L spokesperson briefed us on how plant workers prepared up to the penultimate moment of fact or fiction, which of course wasn’t really usable in a story. I mean, how dumb is reporting, “Well, if there had been a disaster, these brave workers would have done this to make sure you didn’t freeze your fanny to kick in the new century!”
When it was over, I filed my story. I don’t remember what I said in the report, except for “KCP&L workers were prepared for just about anything.” I may have even closed out my report with a, “Have a Happy New Years. At the KCP&L plant on E. Front, safe and sound, I’m Scott Simon, Newsradio 980 KMBZ!”
I then drove off to the Quaff where my then-girlfriend and later wife (and then later, ex-wife) awaited me. No Y2K problems at the Quaff. The night was on, in more ways that one.
Now it’s December 31, 2019 and a boatload of memories since that day, but they pale in comparison to that night and today. Our culture then started to show signs of being toxic. The Clinton Impeachment fueled it. But then 9/11 brought most of us down to earth and back to reality.
That didn’t last long, did it? Time and life is cyclical. From the post-Clinton impeachment to today with the Trump Impeachment (or whenever Nancy Pelosi decides to use the franking privilege and send the article down the hall to the Senate), it’s so toxic I’m waiting for the day when laws are passed that we have to post toxic hazard signs on the Internet and social media for blind-side, stick-mud-and-commentary-on-the-wall commentary.
I learned today a great longtime friend was diagnosed with cancer this year. I am sure he will celebrating a Happy New Year tonight because he is alive. As for me, after almost dying 2 years ago from complete heart failure, I celebrate the New Year doing what some I like to do.
I’ll be pet sitting Otto and have been warned he doesn’t like fireworks. I live less than 2 miles from the Las Vegas Strip where fireworks from 7 towers will erupt tonight for 15 minutes. It’ll take my skill in audio to have the TV and my sound system running and loud enough to quash the fireworks. Even if Otto howls, it’ll be more in tune than thousands (we’re expecting 340,000 people on Las Vegas Boulevard tonight) of drunks.
Happy New Year to you too.