What a dud that turned out to be, eh?
I was seventeen on December 31, 1999. Actually, I had been seventeen for many months before that too. It wasn't my birthday or anything. It was my dog's birthday though, he turned eight.
Remember how freaked out everyone was about Y2K? Apparently they thought that since the year would be '00, the computers that run the world would think it was 1900 and revert back to the information they had stored from the year 1900, which was pretty much nothing. This was bad because the same computers that run the cash register at Seven Eleven also happen to run the Russian missiles, and everyone knows that the Russians have always wanted to nuke us. Yes, even in 1900, because the Russians possess evil time travelling capabilities and had atomic weapons before they were invented.
My dad was really, really worried about Y2K. I asked him what the big deal was, because I was just a stupid teenager who thought the worst that might happen was some bank accounts would be temporarily messed up. My dad thought I was wrong.
In fact, my dad tried to prove that I was wrong by building a large underground bunker and stocking it with a year's worth of supplies.
Oh, how I wish I was joking.
In his bunker, my dad had:
- Canned food
- Gallons of bottled water
- Dog food
- A Coleman camp stove, plus several bottles of fuel
- Seventy-two quarts of motor oil
- Fifty gallons of gasoline (in addition to the 500 gallon drum he had outside)
- A gasoline powered generator
- Several large guns, including a hunting rifle and a semi-automatic weapon
- Bullets for the aforementioned guns
- Fishing kits
- A variety of warm clothes, in case the nukes blotted out the sun and dropped the Earth's temperature
- Steel toed boots
- A hammer and nails
- A large quantity of 2x4s and 4x4s, to build stuff with, and
- A folding chair.
I asked him about the folding chair, and he explained that he'd need something to sit on. Made sense to me.
So, midnight came and went on that fateful day. Then morning came, and my dad woke up and put on his Carhartt coveralls, and went out and fed the cows. The world did not end. The bank accounts didn't even get messed up. You could still pull money from your ATM or buy a crappy cup of coffee at Seven Eleven. The Russians did not nuke us.
No one mentioned this to my dad, because we didn't want to rub it in. But later in the day, I happened to walk by the family room and found my dad in his recliner, watching Red Dawn and crying silent tears of foibled apocalypse.
Sorry Dad. Better luck with 2012.