I was one of those weirdos who believed so thoroughly in Y2K that I quit the last years of a career, cashed in my retirement, walked away from the IRS, all the bills, a house mortgage, totally believing it was all moot because in just a few months it would all collapse. I figured there was a chance high enough to bet on that everyone left after the chaos would be wandering around hungry, diseased, and dying, if the computer gurus were telling the truth. January 1, 1999, I performed the irreversible deed. The retirement money made a down payment on 140 acres of land in remote high desert, I drilled a well, built a cabin, stocked up on countless items the throngs of hopeless survivors would need to survive a bit longer.
I knew there was a medium possibility the IRS, the land payments, all the rest would eventually come due if Y2K didn’t happen, but I thought the consequences of it happening and me not doing it were worse than the alternative of taking the plunge and it not happening. Once a person considers seriously the possibility that society might collapse, it’s surprising how reasonable it seems to think so.
Did my best to be a refugee camp waiting to happen. I bought a lot of chicks to be eggs and food for the future hungry. I knew I couldn’t survive long because of the shelf-life of a medication I require to stay alive, but I had hopes a few folks could survive thanks to a lot of training and experience I’d had in woods lore, emergency management, and survival. I moved in to a tent on the 140 acres in mid-1999, until the cabin was built and the well drilled.
I spent the next 16-18 months pretty much alone, sometimes going weeks without seeing another person. It was the best time of my entire life. I loved it. I wouldn’t change a minute of 1999 until now, but they were the hardest years I’ve ever lived. I’m a risk taker, more than most, but I’m also a damned fool. Fool enough to believe Y2K not happening January 1, 2000, doesn’t mean Y2K won’t ever happen. But also fool enough to know I’m not wise enough to know when it will, nor whether it will.
This blog will include some of the material written during that time. The rest is a compilation of reflections, before and since, of my varied runs at the brick wall of something rhyming with wisdom.
Steve Goodman–The 20th Century is Almost Over