Depending on one’s perspective, midnight on Jan. 1 will either herald
a new era of peace and understanding, signal the beginning of the end or
simply culminate the most over-hyped New Year’s celebration since, well,
the year 1000. Whatever one’s point of view, it’s clear there’s been
enough discussion of Y2K to last the average citizen of this globe
another 1,000 years or more.
We’ve all heard the doomsday scenarios -- reports of widespread
religious fanaticism and warnings of a massive technological meltdown
triggered by the so-called “millennium bug.” We’ve also heard assurances
from officials from the White House on down to City Hall that there is
nothing to fear, that our society will indeed remain intact when the
clock chimes 12.
Oddly, with only days left to argue the point, disagreement continues
on such a basic question as whether the year 2000 represents the
beginning of a the new millennium or not. Scientists and others point out
that our calendar begins with 1 A.D., not 0. Therefore, the new
millennium should begin in 2001. On the pro-millennium side are those who
argue simply that when the zeros roll the new century has begun.
Whichever side of the millennium fence one happens to fall in this
debate there is no denying that from Burbank to Bethlehem and Glendale to
New Guinea, few international events have aroused the excitement,
expectation and anxiety that Y2K has produced. If our fellow citizens of
the world are anything like us in Burbank -- and we like to imagine they
are -- they are eager to get the whole thing over with. Bring it on.
We’re ready. Let’s do this deal.
Our sense is that, yes, Sunday morning will come around much like any
other. We’ll be here digging up the news while all around people will be
going about their business in the usual way. Good-natured joking at the
water cooler, the health club and supermarket will poke fun at the
catastrophes that never happened and the breakdowns that never were.
We’ll take a collective sigh of relief. In a month or so we will have
all-but forgotten what the big deal was about.
With that in mind, cancel those plans to stay home on New Year’s Eve
with the covers pulled over your head, a transistor radio at your ear and
both deadbolts latched on the front door. It’s not too late to make plans
to go out, to spend the evening with friends and loved ones, to live it
up a little. After all, it’s not every year the zeros turn.
editor’s note: If the Leader does not appear Saturday please disregard
the content of this column.