The Y2K Scare

Twenty years ago, the scary, fearsome, and dreaded Y2K bug was going to destroy life on the planet as we know it. Chaos and rioting in the streets were going to wreak havoc. What that was all about was when computers started taking over the world, their programmers only used two digits to signify the year. This eliminated a lot of code, and they figured that by the turn of the century nobody would be using these old systems any more. And really, nobody paid much attention.

I think, this is just supposing on my part, but it makes sense to me, it probably was a banker in the eighties trying to figure the interest on a loan who discovered he was calculating it into 1905. I don’t know. Actually, the first use of the term “Y2K Bug” was in a technical email to a discussion group for computer programmers and users. There had been other terms, though, like the “Millenium Bug,” “CDC (Century Date Change),” “Faddle (Faulty Date Logic),” and the comparatively mundane “Year 2000 Bug.”

Despite the name, there were old systems with two digit years in places like nuclear power plants, electric power facilities, and even airlines. The power plants used computers to measure water pressures and radiation levels. The fear mounted and also turned out to be a great marketing gimmick for the computer industry. Not only them, but there were high-priced consulting firms that sprang up. Windows 98 and any program that wanted to have any sales, were touted as being “Y2K compliant.” Games and programs all offered patches or updates to fix the problem. There was even a song that encouraged everyone to “Party like it’s 1999,” because the apocalypse was looming. Gun manufacturers and people who marketed to survivalists made out pretty well. People built bunkers and it was pretty much like the early days of the Cold War, really.

So, how is it that I am able to write this to you? Well, turns out that nothing much happened, really. They had plenty of time to fix the machines and hype everyone into a frenzy to boot. The clock ticked away and finally struck midnight and then…kept right on ticking. There was a nuclear plant in Japan that had a minor issue and backup systems took care of that. The U.S. picked up some Russian missile launches which they at first attributed to the Y2K bug until they found out that the the missile launches did happen as part of Russia’s aggression against Chechnya.

I survived.

7 pm, July 7th, 1977, (see all those sevens?) I was at a camp meeting when the Rapture was going to happen. Nobody disappeared, not even the bad kids that usually wound up in the cornfield near the campgrounds.

I read with anti-trepidation the book called, “87 Reasons the Rapture Will Happen in 1987.”

I read the next book by the same author, “88 Reasons the Rapture Will Happen in 1988.”

I survived Y2K.

I survived the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012.

Not that the end couldn’t have come at any of those times and/or times before or since. Or even now. My point is we don’t know. We were already told, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” That’s what I put my faith in.

3 Comments

  1. Great topic. Thanks! I was in the IT industry during the Y2K panic. The amount of manpower hours we spent working with the project management team we contracted for our company alone was astronomical. If even a fraction of the amount of people involved in that particular “panic” event would spend time preparing for His return…. Happy New Year…2020-His Perfect Vision!

    • That’s interesting. I’ve always wondered, from my uneducated perspective, why, if they suspected something might go wrong back in the eighties, did they wait until the late nineties to act?

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