The Truth & Fiction
Okay, I know this isn't exactly on topic,
but now that the Lewinsky thing is pretty much lost its steam, it seems
that the media is intent on destroying whatever optimism we have left
by trumpeting its latest sensationlist story, the Y2K thing.
Now, before anyone gets all riled up about
this -- and I already know who's going to be writing the hate mail on
this one -- let me just say that I do believe that New Year's Day is not
going to be pretty. But the reason I believe that, is because New Year's
day is never pretty. It's filled with dopey parades and endless football
games, both of which are hosted by chatty, obnoxious announcers with no
regard for your hard-earned hangover.
But that's not what the experts would
have you believe. To hear them tell it, January 1, 2000, is the day the
world will end. The day the plug gets yanked and sends the global economy
hurling toward instant Armageddon. The conventional wisdom is that the
first circuits to pop will be the power grids, followed close behind by
everything and anything else that depends on power for its existence.
Me? I don't buy it. Not for a minute.
Oh, sure, I expect a few brownouts here
and a couple of hiccups there. And I fully appreciate the math that goes
into figuring out how even if twenty million elves worked furiously around
the clock, every single motherboard in the country still couldn't be fixed
in time. But I'm more realistic than that.
Okay, more cynical.
Call me hard-boiled, but for the life
of me I can't imagine one fat banker or title company not safeguarding
their operations to make sure their money stays exactly where it should
come hell or high water. For crying out loud, these guys have data recovery
plans in place for nuclear holocaust and you think a few days without
power is going to make them flinch?
I think not.
There's another reason why I don't believe
in the Y2K hysteria: lawyers. America's favorite pastime used to be baseball.
Then it was football. These days its lawsuits. And I don't care how long
the power is out, I'll bet you your freeze-dried fruit that the minute
the Xerox machine blinks back to life, those attorneys will be cranking
out suit after suit against the utility companies whose power failures
caused their clients' to lose their livelihoods.
Am I the only one to whom this thought
has occurred? Again, I think not.
I suspect the boardrooms of corporate
America -- many of whose very existence are fuelled by fear of legal reprisal
-- have had their strategies well esconced for quite some time now. After
all, they pay lawyers to keep other lawyers away from them.
But headlines screaming "SOCIETY
WELL-EQUIPPED FOR Y2K" just don't sell as many newspapers as the
ones that show color photographs of air disasters.
Finally, let's say the worst does happen
and the lights really do go out. For how long will they stay dark? Not
too long, I assure you. Oh, you might get a little glitch here or there,
but nothing you can't handle. Heck, it might even spark a little romance
into that over-lighted, Nintendo-infested marriage. But when all is said
and done, I assure you, your boss will be on the phone a lot sooner than
you expected, asking why you're not at your desk.
So where does that leave us with the Y2K
thing? Well, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. And neither should you.
On the other hand, I'm backing up my data like a wild man.