Over the last year and a half, we've all heard from the media that come January 1st, 2000, computers will destroy the world. Estimates of the damages range from simple accounting errors to nuclear disasters. But things can't possibly be as bad as the media would have us believe. As a certified Y2K sceptic, I've devised a Y2K preparedness plan to help cope with all the hype and hysteria.
Early 1999 - Carefully examine the way Y2K will affect your life. If you are not running any software written before 1982, you should be fine. No need to worry; there's lots of time.
Spring 1999 - When people tell you how they're preparing for the big bug, smirk and remind them that it will only be a problem for large companies running cheap mainframes from the sixties. There's been so much press about it that every reputable company would have fixed the problem ages ago. Remember the Michaelangelo virus? The world was going to end, and there was such a fuss that everyone eradicated it from their computers and nothing happened. No need to worry; by January 2nd, it'll all be forgotten.
Summer 1999 - Microsoft releases its fifty-second Y2K service pack to deal with "minor issues" regarding its products. (NT users have to wait until the year 2002, when the next version comes out.) Make a point of not installing it. Inform your friends that the problems it fixes are so minor that you'd have to be some sort of Quality Assurance Specialist to even notice them. Point out that it's just a sign of how overly concerned the general public has become. There's absolutely no reason to be concerned; unless you're doing something really obscure, you won't be affected.
Fall 1999 - Write weekly letters to the editors of all the major newspapers and news stations, chiding them for referring to the Y2K "virus". Accuse them of being involved a conspiracy with the huge industry that has sprung up to "correct" Y2K issues. The problem is not real; it's just a money-making scheme for consultants.
Late 1999 - Throw up your arms in frustration when you hear that the US has changed its foreign policy: It will now bomb any country which does not comply with its mandatory Y2K testing plan. Note the tragic disappearance of 9 certified U.S. Y2K consultants in Iraq. What's all the fuss about?! Two lousy digits! That can't affect anything major.
December 1999 - Go to each of your financial institutions and update all of your records, just in case. Wait in line, annoyed by the thousands of misinformed individuals who are withdrawing all of their money. To pass the time, warn everyone you meet of how they are being manipulated by a huge conspiracy perpetuated by the media.
January 2000 - After recovering from the party, sit back and watch the evening news. But the power's out, so you have to use a battery-operated radio. You learn that the electric companies were not ready in time. You try to call someone, but you are informed that you have been disconnected for not paying your bills since 1900. After checking your account, you learn that the economy has collapsed because several million people all withdrew their life savings at the same time. Only one industry is booming. Authorities assure the public that everything will be back to normal as soon as they can scrounge together enough money to meet the post-Y2K consultants' demands.
There you have it! The official Y2K skeptics' preparedness plan, for those of us who know that the Y2K has just as much validity as the Loch Ness monster. If you think otherwise, you can go ahead and hoard your canned food. Buy your gas power generator. Hide all your money under your mattress. Dig that nuclear fallout shelter in the back yard. But I'm not worried, and I'll tell you why: The real millenium doesn't start until 2001.
Certified Y2K Skeptic