Magazine article Insight on the News

So Straighten Up and Fly Right in Y2K

Magazine article Insight on the News

So Straighten Up and Fly Right in Y2K

Article excerpt

For months now, the crescendo of Y2K alarm has been building. The media have had a field day -- including this magazine, though, of course, we have been far more responsible in our coverage than any others. For months an army of Y2K experts has been pontificating during slow-moving political news weeks on C-SPAN. Their message? The end of the world is nigh. Possibly no bad thing considering the hash mankind has made of this globe -- and now NASA is talking about sending people to Mars to screw up that planet!

The effect of all the Y2K chatter has been to undermine the urge to celebrate the turn into the year 2000. Widespread fear is leading many to decide that the safest place to be on New Year's Eve and on the first day of the next year is at home, and well away from any appliances or transport systems dependent on computers.

Being a fully paid-up curmudgeon -- in fact, some have insisted that I must have founded the club along with Scrooge -- that has been my attitude throughout my adult years toward New Year's Eve generally. Celebrate? No way. In the past I have stayed away from festive humanity as best I could, agreeing with the British literary giant Samuel Johnson that there is nothing more miserable than to see people endeavoring to have a fun time. "Auld Lang Syne"? Forget it. Some slights are just not worth forgiving -- as the dramatist John Osborne remarked, "What's wrong with good old-fashioned hate?"

But this year it is going to be different. I'm a reformed man and determined to whoop it up. Yup, I'm planning to celebrate, to drink and be merry -- and in the most dangerous of ways: in the bright blue yonder aboard a jet plane. I am fully confident that my government will straighten up and keep us flying right.

The general reaction of colleagues here to my Jan. 1 plan has been shock. There have been comments such as, "Are you nuts?" and "That's foolhardy." Although, sadly, it is worth noting that one or two appeared a touch delighted. Already, associate editor Doug Burton is eyeing my office, and managing editor Paul Rodriguez was spotted the other day brushing down some old blueprints detailing how the walls separating the grand expanse of his office from my bunker could be demolished to give him a croquet lawn.

You naysayers be warned: I'll be back, and with the last laugh. Why all of a sudden alter the habit of a life-time to mix with celebratory fellows and party? Because it allows me just for once to put something over on the airlines -- in short, to receive value for my money. Call your local travel agent and ask them for the airfares, either international or domestic, for New Year's Eve and Jan. …

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