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by Bud Buck, 12/31/99

Dc: Here around the turn of the millennium, the air is thick with anticipation. Strange things are afoot. Maybe. Let's go live now to Grover's Mill, New Jersey, and our correspondent, Bud Buck.

(sfx: crowd milling around)
(all on phone)

Bud: ... ud Buck here in Grover's Mill New Jersey, where authorities have reported a strange occurrence that bears watching. The world's media have gathered in a farmer's field just outside Grover's Mill, where a giant cylindrical object has buried itself in the dirt. I'd say it's about 20 feet in diameter ... a gleaming metallic color, steel perhaps ... and I don't know if you can hear, but there's a faint ... humming sound coming from the cylinder.
No one has come very close to the object. I'm as near as anyone, maybe 30 feet away.
We don't know how it got here or what purpose it serves ... but it can't be denied that many are supposing it has some connection to Y2K.
With me is Associate Professor of Mob Psychology Wilfred Steed of Pandering College. Professor, what do you make of this?

Steed: It seems to be an effective, if overused metaphor representing a menacing unknown something-or-other.

Bud: It's a metaphor?

Steed: Representative of an idea ... other than itself.

Bud: And Overused?

Steed: Certainly.
Look at it. It's highly technological ... clean in it's lines and appearance, like the obelisk in the film 2001. Soothing really. But inside ... full of confusion and terror is my guess. H.G. Wells used it in War of the Worlds. His fat nephew Orson used it again, almost exactly like this in the famous 1939 radio broadcast of that very same story.

Bud: And that story happened in Grover's Mill, New Jersey.

Steed: (ruefully) Yes.

Bud: And the reporters in that story were standing in a farmer's field, just like this one, around a giant cylinder just like this when an alien machine popped out and fried them all to a crisp.

Steed: They should have known. It was telegraphed in the first thirty seconds of the script. But no one believed.

Bud: No one believed ... yet EVERYONE believed. That 1939 broadcast was a landmark in mob psychology, was it not?

Steed: Correct, Mr. Buck. Large numbers of unsophisticated listeners fell for it and thought a bit of drama was really an invasion!
It was really one of our most gullible moments ... nationally.

Bud: But ... But we're smarter than that today, aren't we?

Steed: Perhaps. Surveys show that the majority of American people BY FAR think Y2K is a big zero.

Bud: And that means we have learned something in the century just past. The experience of the War of the Worlds Broadcast in 1939 has taught us to be wary of alarmists.

Steed: Indeed. And yet ...

Bud: And yet? Professor?

Steed: Here we are. Out in this field. If there's nothing to fear ...

Bud: (ominously) Why are we here? Why are we doing this right now?

Steed: Exactly.

Bud: What do you think it is?

Steed: I think ... brace yourself, Mr. Buck. (he blurts it out) I think we don't believe ourselves when we say we don't think there's anything to worry about. Because I believe we think there IS something to worry about. Something big. And while we say we don't expect it, I think inside ... we do!

Bud: Great scott! So inside this huge cylinder ... ?

Steed: We'll find out in a minute. The top is beginning to come off.

(sfx: metallic sliding)
(sfx: crowd voices up)

Bud: (gulp) And you say ... back in 1939 ... the reporters were ... fried?

Steed: That's correct.

Bud: Aren't you scared?

Steed: No. The Professor survived.

Bud: Maybe things are different now.

Steed: History tell us conditions change, but people stay basically the same. I guess we'll put that to the test, won't we.

(sfx: humming grows ... crackling added)

Bud: (voices pitched up from here to end) There seems to be a bright light coming from inside the cylinder. It's pulsating. What is it, Professor?

Steed: I can't tell!

Bud: Is it real, or another metaphor?

Steed: If a metaphor is strong enough, Mr. Buck, it can be more real than the reality it represents!

Bud: I have no idea what you mean by that, Professor!

Steed: A social calamity needs a symbol, Mr. Buck. Perhaps this is ours!

Bud: So ... is this Y2K, or is it simply our fear of Y2K?

Steed: Does it matter, when either can destroy us?

(sfx: off mic sounds of agony)

Bud: I'll stay on the air as long as I can, from this farmer's field near Grover's Mill, New Jersey ... a large crowd of curious reporters gathered around a metallic cylinder of unknown origin. And now the top has come off the device ... and all around me people are ...


Dc: Come in, Bud Buck. Bud Buck? We've lost our connection with Bud Buck in Grover's Mill, New Jersey. We'll bring him back as soon as we're able to re-establish contact. I'm sure it's ... nothing.

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