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From: Terry Blanchard <email@example.com>
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Date: Fri, 3 Apr 1998 13:05:10 -0700
Organization: Dive Alliance
From: John Miller [SMTP:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 1998 12:12 PM
To: 'Bill Robertson'; 'Monique Boeke'; 'Ray Malheiro'; 'Rod Thomas'; 'Terry Blanchard'
There was once a COBOL programmer in the mid to late 1990s. For the sake of
this story, we'll call him Jack. After years of being taken for granted and
treated as a technological dinosaur by all the UNIX programmers and
Client/Server programmers and website developers, Jack was finally getting
some respect. He'd become a private consultant specializing in Year 2000
conversions. He was working short-term assignments for prestige companies,
traveling all over the world on different assignments. He was working 70 and
80 and even 90 hour weeks, but it was worth it.
Several years of this relentless, mind-numbing work had taken its toll on
Jack. He had problems sleeping and began having anxiety dreams about the
Year 2000. It had reached a point where even the thought of the year 2000
made him nearly violent. He must have suffered some sort of breakdown,
because all he could think about was how he could avoid the year 2000 and
all that came with it.
Jack decided to contact a company that specialized in cryogenics. He made a
deal to have himself frozen until March 15th, 2000. This was very expensive
process and totally automated. He was thrilled. The next thing he would know
is he'd wake up in the year 2000; after the New Year celebrations and
computer debacles; after the leap day. Nothing else to worry about except
getting on with his life.
He was put into his cryogenic receptacle, the technicians set the revive
date, he was given injections to slow his heartbeat to a bare minimum, and
that was that.
The next thing that Jack saw was an enormous and very modern room filled
with excited people. They were all shouting "I can't believe it!" and "It's
a miracle" and "He's alive!". There were cameras (unlike any he'd ever seen)
and equipment that looked like it came out of a science fiction movie.
Someone who was obviously a spokesperson for the group stepped forward. Jack
couldn't contain his enthusiasm. "It is over?" he asked. "Is 2000 already
here? Are all the millennial parties and promotions
and crises all over and done with?"
The spokesman explained that there had been a problem with the programming
of the timer on Jack's cryogenic receptacle, it hadn't been year 2000
compliant. It was actually eight thousand years later, not the year 2000.
But the spokesman told Jack that he shouldn't get excited; someone important
wanted to speak to him.
Suddenly a wall-sized projection screen displayed the image of a man that
looked very much like Bill Gates. This man was Prime Minister of Earth. He
told Jack not to be upset. That this was a wonderful time to be alive. That
there was world peace and no more starvation. That the space program had
been reinstated and there were colonies on the moon and on Mars. That
technology had advanced to such a degree that everyone had virtual reality
interfaces which allowed them to contact anyone else on the planet, or to
watch any entertainment, or to hear any music recorded anywhere.
"That sounds terrific," said Jack. "But I'm curious. Why is everybody so
interested in me?"
"Well," said the Prime Minister. "The year 10000 is just around the corner,
and it says in your files that you know COBOL."
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