by David Sisler

I read a variety of magazines and newspapers, but I rarely hold a real periodical anymore. Reading online journals has its advantages. The covers are never torn by careless postal people jamming them into your mailbox. Annoying renewal notices do not start arriving while you still have nine months paid up. You never have to wash the ink from your hands after reading an on-line tome. And if you don't know what page you are on, you do not care, because there is always the "home" button.

That last advantage was of particular interest to me on a recent morning. I picked up the April issue of the real Good Housekeeping and looked for an article entitled, "Too Little Sleep? 9 Ways to Feel Alive & Stay Sharp." I finally found the Table of Contents on page 9, the first page with a page number, since the first 8 pages were all ads, and therefore void of numbers.

I never found the "9 Ways" that were supposed to be on page 74, but I did find "Money Watch: Preparing for Y2K," by Jane Bryant Quinn on page 112.

Actually, I found that one by dumb luck. I flipped open the magazine and on my first try, got a page number 114. I flipped back to what should have been page 112, but I actually reached 112 sixteen pages later because of an enormous advertising section. Exhausted and frustrated, I decided to drink my last three swallows of coffee with Ms. Quinn and learn how to protect myself from the Y2K Millennium Bug.

She advises stocking up on candles, flashlight and batteries, extra food, fireplace wood, jugs of water, and full gasoline tanks.

I have made no preparations and plan to make none. I will make no extra trips to the grocery store. I bought three emergency candles ten years ago. My money, what little I have, is in the bank and insured by the Feds (and as Ms. Quinn said, it is not insured under my mattress). I have a dozen years to retirement and they'll figure Social Security out by then, if the current White House regime hasn't done something with it (like let Chinese spies pilfer it and then blame Ronald Reagan for the whole thing).

"There is a self-fulfilling prophecy element to this," said Jerrold M. Post, a psychology professor at George Washington University who studies crisis decision- making. "If people behave in a stable fashion, this wouldn't be a problem, but this [hoarding] does indeed become a problem because of excessive reaction."

I know there is a problem with the programming caused by using two digits for the year instead of four. What really concerns me about the whole thing is not that there may be some problems, but that some people are using other people's misery, or anticipated misery, to make a buck. The worst among the gullible and/or the preyed on are Christians. Too many of us still believe that Madelyn Murray O'Hara is forcing the FCC to stop Christian programming, and that there really is a computer in Belgium called "The Beast." Sadly, some of us are the ones who are saying, "Let us prey."

There is a "Christian" website selling freeze-dried foodstuffs. You can get a 20 pound bag of carrots for $115. Be sure to use your credit card and pay 21 percent interest on top of the price of the rabbit food, plus shipping and handling.

Rush out to your local religious bookstore and buy "The Millennium Meltdown" by Grant Jeffrey, "Y2K=666?" by Noah Hutchings, Michael S. Hyatt's "The Millennium Bug: How to Survive the Coming Chaos," or Mr. Hyatt's "Countdown to Chaos Protection Kit," a six-audiotape set plus an accompanying handbook, complete with "recommendations, checklists, and the essential resources and supplies you'll need to survive this looming crisis" for $89. For you big spenders, Derek Packard of Sacramento, California is selling "National Y2K Readiness Seminars," a package of three live satellite broadcasts for $1,495.

In many of these, and other authoritative (read that with all due sarcasm, pardner) sources you'll hear about doomsday scenarios gleaned from "confidential information from the personal contacts of a respected Christian leader" and other non-verified and non- verifiable sources. Nothing weakens writing, especially Christian writing, more than the failure to name names. To paraphrase our Charismatic brethren, "If you name it, claim it!"

However, there is one good thing happening because of the notoriety of Y2K. Some people are starting to anticipate the Second Coming of Jesus. Jesus is coming. Father has set the date, but it has nothing to do with computers or the year 2000. It does have everything to do with personal spiritual preparedness. And there may not be as much time left as you think.


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 3/27/99

Copyright 1999 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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