Lead pipes brought down Imperial Rome. With the Washington Post just releasing the Senateís Y2K report, warning of dire consequences, itís not crying wolf anymore. Y2K has become the biggest growth industry since Beanie Babies. If it hits as hard as some people think, especially in poor countries still functioning on previous generations of outdated software, we may experience global unrest the likes of which we've never seen. All the more reason for countries like the US to prepare for the worst.

There was nothing in the Apocalypse of St. John about the Y2K horseman. Thatís a new one on me. Most nations on the planet donít even recognize our calendar as legitimate. Yet itís been running all software applications from the simplest pocket calculator to the Space Shuttle. Leave it to Swatch to start selling web time watches. As if Greenwich standard time wasnít good enough. So ready or not, 2000 is the first real international disaster our world has ever faced. Whereís Bruce Willis when you really need him?

In a way, this is good. So good in fact, alternative energy companies have never been doing better. The Real Goods catalog is riding the gravy train. Itís about to publish itís own little manual: "Y2K & Y-O-U". It urges its customers to stock up, rig up a windmill, lay down photovoltaics, and buy an ELECTRIC VEHICLE, just in case. Because, in Clintonís own words to the National Academy of Sciences, and we know he cannot tell a lie: "An oil drilling rig alone may include ten thousands separate chips." Humanity thrives in the face of adversity.

Who would have ever thought that a publication like Utne Reader and The Spotlight could have anything in common? And yet, Utneís "Y2K Citizenís Action Guide" at your newsstand now advises the same ready preparedness as full page ads for Y2K in The Spotlight, the same crank-it-up radio flashlight, freeze dried food, and water filters. But the cutest of íem all is "The Hippy Survival Guide to Y2K" by jovial Mike Oehler. Our drug-induced paranoia has taken shape in cyberspace and our reality has begun to reflect it. Weíre having fun with this. Do I hear Ben & Jerryís come out with a new Y2K flavor? Triple chip!

Ready or not, here it comes. While millions of programmers hunched over terminal screens try to rectify the situation and beat the ticking clock, armchair critics are producing Doomsday literature and promoting millennium madness. I for one donít think it will be nearly as bad as everyone thinks. Nothing ever is really, when you seriously think about it, unless it happens to you directly. The end of the world is when YOU die. As long as spring water flows, the sun rises every morning, and wild bunny rabbits run around loose in the woods, weíll be OK, Y2K OK.
Of course Big City folks wonít be so lucky. The party is in suburbia this New Yearís EveÖ
Y2K & Y-O-U
Y2K Citizenís Action Guide
The Hippy Survival Guide To Y2K