Dec. 31, 1999, wasn’t an ordinary New Year’s Eve. It was ominous in that there were two looming scenarios: 1) the world was going to end, and 2) computer systems would crash, causing massive outages in how we operated, especially in our workplaces at that time. I don’t remember who came up with the term Y2K but it was probably the most used word of 1999.
I was already past the era of any big New Year’s Eve festivities attracting me out into the night to welcome another year.
But, as 2000 approached, there was an uneasiness about what would happen when the clock struck midnight.
The only preparations I made were work-related with four copies of our system’s operations on either CDs or zip drives (remember those?). The publisher, production manager, a safe deposit at the bank our newspaper company used, and I had those copies. Sidebar: They were updated when our country was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
I was editor of a daily newspaper 30 miles south of my hometown, so I told Mom I’d come spend the night with her -- and we’d see what, if anything, happened at midnight.
It didn’t seem like it had been that long that my party nights began between 10 and 11 p.m. In 1999, it was a struggle to stay awake until midnight. But we were determined.
We watched one of the New Year’s Eve TV shows while listening to the hoopla heading into the ball drop countdown from New York City.
So here we were in the house in which I was raised waiting to see what the new year would bring. Or would it end?
Midnight comes and goes. We were still in her living room watching TV; the world had not ended; and there were no reports of major computer crashes.
Throughout 1999, the airwaves had brought Prince’s “1999” out so we could “party like it was 1999.” Actually, the lyrics follow the “end is near” theme. Nonetheless, the song, released in 1982, was an anthem of sorts -- or so it seemed.
New Year’s Eve is comical to family and friends in my age range. The joke going around heading into 2020 was “9 p.m. is the new midnight.” In my case, that was accurate.
Twenty years -- wow, and we’re still here. Make the most of this new decade.