A Laymans Guide to
by Mad Dog
The next millennium is approaching and
its causing everyone to lose their mind. Youd think people would wait for the
big day to arrive before this happens, or at least let it get a bit closer. But no, we
live in times where anxiety and anticipation are more important than the event itself.
Notice how newspapers have been bumping
front page stories about war atrocities and famine and icky things like that to make room
for the important news that Seinfeld wont be returning for another season?
Theyre feeding our anxieties, knowing that people everywhere will be standing by
water coolers at work sipping their half-decaf double distilled spring water with Sweet
and Low while wringing their hands and whining, "What are we going to do on Thursday
night from now on?". Like they wont be able to see enough Seinfeld in reruns or
on the new All-Seinfeld cable channel ("All Seinfeld, all the time!").
To understand Millennium Anxiety we need to
look at six basic questions: Who, what, when, where, why, and how. These are,
incidentally, the same six questions journalists are taught to ask. And that children
constantly bug you with for the first 10 years of their life, after which they switch to
"When can I move out?", "Why wont you buy me a car?", and
"Why do I have to have parents?". Journalists, like children, never get tired of
asking the same questions.
The first thing you want to know about the
millennium is WHOas in, who cares? Actually, a lot of people care.
And by some coincidence they all stand to make money from it. Miller Beer got a trademark
to call themselves the "Official Beer of the Millennium" because, well, they
thought of it before you did. Newspapers run stories daily about the millennium because
they know it sells papers. Or at least fills the white space between the "What are we
going to do without Seinfeld?" articles. But most of all its computer
programmers and software developers who care, which brings us to.....
WHAT - As in,
"Whats this about every computer on the face of the Earth self-destructing the
instant the clock strikes 12:01 am on the millennial D-day?" This is a fallacy. The
truth is Bill Gates made it up because he has nothing better to do than sit on the throne
in his office and spread nasty rumors in the hope that it will sell more software. Right.
Like he needs to sell more software.
Its true a lot of mainframe
computersdefined as any computer thats bigger than a bread box and is owned by
a large corporation which will pay programmers an arm and a leg to fix a problem they
should have taken care of years agowill have trouble with the new millennium. But
for most of us the biggest problem well be trying to figure out is....
WHEN will it actually
happen? Theres a lot of debate about when the millennium starts. One side says
its Jan 1, 2000 because that sounds good and its logical. The other side
points out that since there wasnt a year 0, the millennium actually starts on Jan 1,
2001. The truth is (as I pointed out before), who cares? The important thing is to
WHERE youll be
spending the dawning of the new millennium. Some people will spend it at home, quietly
contemplating the meaning of it all. Theyre called boring. Others will spend it in
Times Square with Dick Clark, freezing their asses off while pickpockets discover
something the rest of us already knowthe government has all our money. Still others
will travel around the globe to ring in the millennium.
There seems to be an international
competition to have the biggest and best New Millennium celebration, the winner, of
course, being able to lay claim to being the "Official Welcomer of the
Millennium". (WARNING: All these celebrations will be ringing in the year 2000, so
get it out of your system now or youre going to spend the night arguing about
whether it should be happening yet or not with people who dont understand a word
youre saying. And dont care.)
In Greenwich, England theyre building
the Millennium Dome, which will look like a flying saucer for reasons no one can explain.
In London theyre erecting the worlds biggest Ferris Wheel. In Berlin
theyre planning the largest fireworks display theyve ever had. And in France
theyre going absolutely nuts.
The plan, if it happens, is to build a 660
foot tall Tower of the Earth on the Left Bank in Paris. As if thats not enough,
theyre also planning a guitar festival in homage to Jimi Hendrix, the transformation
of the Place de la Concorde into the worlds largest sundial, and a ceremony at the
Eiffel Tower which will include 2,000 drums playing as a giant egg descends, breaking open
to show hundreds of TV sets tuned in to programs from all over the world. Which leads us
to the natural question of....
WHY? Im sorry. I
have no good answer for this.
And lastly, theres the question of HOW.
Not "How can I make money off the millennium just like everyone
else?"which is irrelevant since theres probably no Official status left
to be hadbut rather "How can I go on with my life knowing that Seinfeld
wont be around on Thursday nights next year?"
Hey, its a new millennium. Im
sure youll come up with something.
©1997 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
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