Opinion: Being prepared can eliminate many anticipated Y2K problems

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    Eighty-seven days and counting…

    As New Year’s Day 2000 creeps closer, many look ahead with hope and anticipation of what the future will bring. New Year’s resolutions to end all resolutions are formulating in the minds of people across the globe.

    But among this excitement is a little buzz of paranoia some people cannot seem to swat away: the Y2K bug.

    Experts say it is just that — a little bug.

    In a report from the U.S. Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, the turn of the century is expected to “cause more inconveniences than tragedies.”

    Most bugs are like that — more bothersome than life-threatening. A small spider on the bathroom wall or a lone ant on the kitchen floor is annoying, but not a finger-biting, stomach-churning or ulcer-inducing disaster. All that is needed is a little common sense and preparedness (such as a big shoe) to overcome any bug crawling its way into our lives. Just because the Y2K bug has become a celebrity does not mean it should be treated differently.

    No one can be certain what will happen at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, but the bug-squeamish need only to remember the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.

    Instead of stocking up on cash and insane amounts of food, the Year 2000 Committee said gathering information will be most practical. Bank statements, utility bills, tax information and receipts can all come to one’s defense if a computer glitch does occur. And it would not hurt to have a few batteries, flashlights, warm blankets and non-perishable food items on hand. Just as you would not buy every can of RAID on the drug-store’s shelf for a fly who had weaseled its way into the house, panicking over a simple clock change would also be a gross overreaction.

    The turn of the century is a time for reflecting on the past, cherishing the present and hoping for a brighter future. Technology is making great progress and has become an integral part of daily life. Advances in medicine and diplomacy have raised the quality of life for many around the world.

    Of course, not all the world’s problems have been resolved, but a new millennium brings new hope that these challenges may yet be overcome. Questions regarding an energy crisis, a cure for AIDS and cancer, global growth, economy, peace and other issues are exciting prospects for the 21st century.

    Instead of allowing the abstract Y2K bug to spin a web of pessimism and panic, people should use common sense in preparing for the initial transition into the new millennium, and then look to the future with optimism and a renewed sense of hope.

    A fly swatter wouldn’t hurt either.

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