The Irritations of Modern Life: 74. Millennium bug paranoia
Wednesday 29 December 1999
Similarly, I have to put my bottom on the line here and hazard a guess that when Big Ben strikes 12 on Friday night, it will not signal the end of the world as we know it. Turn a tap and water will flow. Pop sausage rolls into the microwave and they will cook. Go to a hole in the wall to withdraw our life savings to pay the baby-sitter and... well, the machines may be empty. But there's nothing new or sinister in that.
A whopping $600bn has been spent tackling the Y2K problem. Most countries insist it is sorted, inasmuch as aircraft and nuclear warheads are unlikely to fall from the sky. Yet some people remain convinced we are on the brink of disaster and it is a case of every man for himself.
My neighbour has stashed away petrol, wood, candles and milk, plans to fill every saucepan with water before Saturday and has stockpiled enough canned hot dogs to feed a Superbowl crowd.
"Aren't you worried about civil unrest?" he asked.
"Living as we do in the suburbs," I said, "I would welcome the excitement. Should I discover a madman gallivanting in my garden, naked but for a sandwich board stating the end of the world is nigh, I shall laugh heartily and and throw mince pies at him - I must get rid of them somehow. I certainly shan't take to the hills, shooting at anyone daring to ask to borrow a cup of sugar."
I wish civilisation would go belly up - at least slightly. I dream of my credit card debts and overdraft vanishing and of BT forgetting that I still have not paid my last bill.
Should the water supply dry up, I'll pee in the garden. If the electricity fails, I'll light candles. If the gas goes, I'll wear an extra jumper. I shall also call in on my other neighbour, an old woman living alone. In the spirit of the age, I shall insist she joins us for the biggest party ever and pray she likes mince pies.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 5 Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam's history
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
Great British Bake Off 2014: Ofcom receives 13 complaints about Baked Alaska episode
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- < Previous
- Next >