Remember all those worries about Y2K problems? Well, those dire predictions all came true at
our house.

Our Y2K nightmare began on the afternoon of Dec. 31. I had these three exotic fish that I nurtured for over a year. At 3 p.m., they all started doing the backstroke. It was heartbreaking flushing the toilet for each burial at sea. I knew right away they had been killed by a computer virus and vowed never again to purchase pets from

Later that afternoon, our vacuum cleaner became the next Y2K victim. We had grown quite attached to our carpet cleaner, as it gave off a pleasant aroma of pine needles. However, on the last day of the century, it started sounding like a jet engine with a broken muffler. And the poor thing had such little suction, we had to pick up the dirt by hand and drop it inside. 

We called Trage’s to get a replacement but they were closed for inventory.  Inventory? Isn’t that counting things? And isn’t our computer’s inability to count past 1999 the source of the Y2K problem?

By the way, my personal computer is so screwed up on the date, it thinks we’re back in the Ming Dynasty and Chinese is the only written language.

Anyway, my Y2K problems continued to mount on New Year’s Eve. At about 7 p.m., the drain pipe on my sink started gushing water all over the floor. I slapped my forehead, remembering how I had implanted the Drano microchip, hoping to avoid clogs. Now that little puppy had blown a hole right in the pipe.

A sudden surge in the world-wide electrical grid made the light bulb at the top of our stairs pop. We were still reeling when we noticed the three-way bulb in the living room would only work on the 60 watt setting. We groped our way through the dimness to escape the house before further catastrophe.

Seeing civilization crumbling around us was depressing, so we headed to the Madison Street celebration to get our minds off Y2K. At midnight, though, we learned Y2K not only affected computers but also the human brain. I mean, can you imagine thousands of people unable to count backward from 10? Luckily for us, the police didn’t consider the lack of countdown to be the failure of a mass sobriety test.

We finally staggered home to a lifeless aquarium, a dripping bathroom and an unvacuumed living room that was too dim for reading. Y2K had hit us hard and we hadn’t had the foresight to stockpile water and those “flamin’ hot” Cheetos. I decide to take my mind off things with our new NBA video game. But there was no escaping Y2K. Can you imagine? I had the Bulls with Michael Jordan and lost to the Clippers.

The next evening we took sanctuary at St. Bernardine Church. We decided to renew our spirits by singing along with the “Ode To Joy” at the performance of Beethoven’s Ninth. But, wouldn’t you know it, due to some computer glitch, the words were printed in German. I ended up spraining my tongue during the third stanza.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.