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Finding a lesson in Y2001

This time last year found many people breathing a sigh of relief – and trying to return generators to the hardware store.

Wednesday, January 03, 2001

This time last year found many people breathing a sigh of relief – and trying to return generators to the hardware store.

The Y2K bug fear passed with little more than a few hiccups here and there, mostly small glitches that made us think maybe we do rely upon the computer too much.

As the Chicago Tribune wrote in a recent editorial: "What should have been a purely happy occasion – the arrival of a new year, a new century and a new millennium – was shadowed by a serious fear: that computer breakdowns brought on by the Y2K problem would cause power outages, communications failures, banking disruptions, shortages of basic commodities and, in the worst scenarios, rioting and social chaos. Overnight, doomsayers predicted, the 20th Century would give way to the Dark Ages."

Now, with one year passed on the Y2K clock, little else has happened to convince us that the walls built by computers are tumbling down, or that the Dark Ages are around the corner.

Yes, a train system computer overseas shut down, preventing trains from starting. Operators reset the date for one month earlier and should have a solution in about 30 days.

What are we left with, then? More fear and foreboding for the turn of 2002?

We hope not. Early last year, we realized that despite the no-show of the Y2K bug we had learned to prepare, to plan ahead, to come together to prevent crisis.

Let’s continue learning that lesson in this new year. Maybe we should hold off on the panic attack – skip the hundreds of gallons of gasoline stored in your shed – but we should not skimp when it comes to watching out where we’re going.

Again, as the Chicago Tribune wrote about the new millennium, "some people insist that it really doesn’t arrive until Jan. 1, 2001. So maybe this is the perfect time to celebrate the event the way it deserves to be celebrated and couldn’t really be last year."

Make resolutions. Continue drinking toasts.

Don’t stop looking planning for the future.

If we do, that’s when the real Dark Ages begins.