Y2K ARMY STANDS DOWN
by Jennfier Hampster, 1/07/99
Dc: This is DCR, a news program not to be believed. After all
the excitement and tension of last week's year 2000 roll over and celebration,
it appears our victory over the Y2K computer bug is nearly total and certainly
decisive. The verdict was so clear cut that by the middle of the week, the army
of people who have spent years attacking this problem started coming home. Jennifer
(sfx: outdoors, city street)
Jennifer: It's noon outside the headquarters of Global Spreadsheet Inc., and Connie
Quinn is waiting breathlessly for her husband Keith to appear.
Connie: I'm not sure I'll recognize him. I got an e-mail that said he cut his
Jennifer: Did that surprise you?
Connie: I didn't know he could work scissors. I've never seen him operate anything
that didn't have a keyboard attached.
Jennifer: (annc) Connie and Keith have not seen each other since November of 1998,
when Global Spreadsheet Inc. declared war on the Y2K bug and made Keith one of
it's top lieutenants in the battle.
Connie: I got a call ... he said "Honey ... I've got a job to do ... it's
really important. It's about the fate of the world, and I can't come home until
the job is done. I packed him a bag, left it at the receptionist's desk in the
lobby ... and I've been waiting ever since.
Jennifer: (dramatically) And now ... in mere moments ... Keith Quinn is expected
to walk through that door over there, into the Global Spreadsheets Parking Lot
... into the 21st Century ... into the sun.
Connie: I ... (gasp) ... I think ... (calling) Honey?
Keith: (off mic) Connie!
Connie: Keith! (fade off quickly) Oh my God!
(sfx: smoochy noises, and next lines tumble out)
Keith: It's so good to see you!
Connie: I've missed you!
Keith: It's over! We won! Y2K is over!
Connie: I'm so proud of you!
Keith: You look great! Just great!
Connie: (appalled) Wow, you really did cut your own hair!
(sfx: outdoor sfx out)
Jennifer: (annc) This happy scene has been repeated over and over as the programmers,
code writers and managers who took on the y2k emergency left their cloistered
offices all around the globe. But some of the homecomings have not been so pleasant.
This veteran computer code writer returned to his family on Monday after two full
years of hard work in the Y2K compliance trenches. But by Thursday morning, he
was living in a downtown hotel after being released from jail. He asked to remain
anonymous. We'll call him "Peter."
Peter: I expected a glorious home coming. Brass band. Streamers. Confetti. But
I walked in the door and my wife said ... and this is the first thing she said
to me ... "You put on some weight."
Jennifer: I'll be that hurt.
Peter: I'd been sitting at a terminal, writing code for two years. And eating
pizza. Of course I put on weight ... I did it to save us all. But she didn't get
that. Then the kids came in and I got down on one knee to give 'em both a big
hug ... and my little daughter who is only 6 ... said ... (weepy) ... Daddy, I'm
so glad you're back from the sham! The Sham!
Jennifer: Peter was heartbroken and restless at night. The idea that his family
thought he had wasted his time ... was devastating. He went for a walk and wound
up at a tecchie nightspot called "The Cursor."
Peter: Sitting at the bar, minding my own business ... a guy in tennis shoes and
a denim shirt comes up to me and says ... you look like you just saw the bottom
drop out of your IPO. So I said ... "No ... I've been re-writing code for
Y2K for the past two years, and they just let me out." I was expecting a
pat on the back, maybe a free beer.
So he said ... (anger building) ... "Thanks, pal. While you were safely out
of the way, I went public with an auction website and now I'm worth a half billion."
Then he laughed. That's when I lost it.
Jennifer: Peter got himself thrown in jail for assault.
Peter: I'll have to pay a fine. Be on probation.
Jennifer: It must have been awful for you ... spending the night in jail.
Peter: Actually, it pretty comfortable there. It was so much like the work I've
been doing ... bars on the ceiling, bare walls, an uncomfortable place to lie
down ... jail was the first time I could relax ... in days. The deputy sheriff
asked me to partition his hard drive, and I was glad to help.
Jennifer: Y2K veterans like "Peter" are struggling to find their place
in a society that scoffs at their contribution and seems to have left them behind.
He believes he will recover and build a life for himself after his Y2K service.
And for the lucky ones like Keith and Connie Quinn, the war on Y2K will simply
fade into history as an odd interlude ... an inexplicable blank spot in what are
otherwise happy and fulfilling lives.
Keith: I've got an idea ... free Internet access. It would be ...
Connie: Honey. It's being done.
Keith: Oh. Well ... I've got another idea. A website where we give away thousands
of dollars every day, just to get people to come ...
Connie: Honey. It's too late.
Keith: Oh. I guess I have some catching up to do.
Connie: But we'll make it ... now that he's finally home!
Jennifer: From where I am, that's the way it is. I'm Jennifer Hampster.
Keith: (off mic) Honey, I've gotta go do some work on the computer, ok? Just a
Dale Connelly Reporting Home