This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, Dec 28, 2020
I want to take this opportunity to share with you the best New Year’s Eve I ever had. As much as this story may sound unbelievable, every word of this account is true.
It was probably the most famous New Year’s Eve of my lifetime, New Year’s Eve of 1999. You want to know how big of a deal it was? A musician formerly known as Prince wrote a popular song about it in 1982, 17 years before it happened. The song was called “Party Like It’s 1999”, which was probably Prince’s best song not titled “Purple Rain.”
The thing that made that particular New Year’s Eve so memorable is that the world was going to end because of the Y2K bug. The Y2K bug was the idea that the world was going to end because all of the computer systems were functioning on a date that only considered the final 2 digits of the year. This year would be referred to as 00. We don’t seem to do that anymore. Back at that time, it was common for people to refer to the year by the final two digits. If I said, “back in ’98,” you would know I was referring to 1998. We don’t do that as often today. I don’t know that I have ever heard anyone say “Back in ‘07” to refer to 2007.
The theory was that computers only read the final two digits of the year and January 1, 2000, would read as 00. Supposedly this would send the computer into perpetual error because it would not be able to function without knowing the date. The loss of all computer systems on earth was what was predicted and it was firmly believed that civilization as we knew it would cease to exist.
Admittedly, it sounds silly as I type this paragraph, but there was some real fear that our whole world would come to a crashing halt. Financial systems would fail, hospitals would go dark, planes would drop from the sky. There were corporations who were hiring themselves out as Y2K compliance to make sure that companies were prepared.
The whole thing ended up being absolutely nothing, just something for everyone to worry about. It created a lot of fear, panic and arguing as the media painted the picture of the apocalypse coming on January 1, 2000.
So, New Year’s Eve 1999, my family gathered at my aunt’s house. We were flipping back and forth between the New Year’s Eve on Times Square and CNN reporting on it turning midnight and becoming January 1, 2000 all over the world with nothing happening. Well, as midnight neared, I devised a master plan that I shared with no one. I slipped away into the back room of my aunt’s house and found the circuit breaker. After locating it, I just waited.
Everyone was counting with the ball dropping in the Big Apple and, as all attention was focused on the TV, I went to the circuit breaker and as they cheered, I flipped the breaker off and the entire house went dark. The cheer immediately went into the deadliest silence I have ever heard. I choked back laughter as I listened. All of the shouts of celebration went to cries of panic, then silence and pitch-black dark. Then my sister says “Hey, the neighbors still have lights.” They started yelling at me and I lost it, cracking up. I flipped the breaker back on and the lights came on.
I was 24 years old when this happened, and I had never seen my mom that angry. My dad could not quit laughing, which only made it worse. Pulling the power messed up the cable box so it took us a half hour to get it reprogrammed and the TV back on. I didn’t care – it was the funniest thing I had ever witnessed. Had I still lived at home, my mom would have put me out of the house. To this day, she has never cracked a smile about what happened that night, even though my dad can’t quit laughing about it.
One thing is for sure, it has been 21 years since that night and I still remember it like it was yesterday. The moral to the story is be very careful about taking life too seriously because if you do, it will be much harder to laugh about it in the year 2041.