Dave Barry

Classic ’00: Safe to come out now

Miramar resident Michael Bafundo, 88, celebrates New Years Eve, 1999
Miramar resident Michael Bafundo, 88, celebrates New Years Eve, 1999 For the Herald

This Dave Barry column was originally published Sunday, January 2, 2000

OK! It’s over! You can put down your freeze-dried Spam and come out of your bunker! We are officially in ``Y2K’‘ and everything is fine!

Oh, there were some scary moments. Here in South Florida, the most alarming incident occurred just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, when - apparently as a result of a computer malfunction - four tourists were somehow able to actually get a table at Joe’s Stone Crab. Fortunately, they were quickly apprehended and are now in the Krome Detention Center awaiting deportation to Milwaukee.

But otherwise there was no sign of the ``Y2K bug.’‘ I’m pleased to report that here at The Herald, thanks to diligent preparation, we did not experience any computer ``glitches.’‘ Everything functioned exactly as I’m pleased to report that here at the Herald, ``glitches.’‘ thanks to diligent preparation, we did ``glitches.’‘ I’m pleased to preparation, we did not experience any ``glitches.’‘ ``glitches.’‘ ``glitches.’‘ ``glitches.’‘

The big local celebrations also went smoothly, except for some Miami Beach traffic congestion, which is expected to clear up by 2007. Also, a minor, last-minute problem surfaced at the new AmericanAirlines Arena, where, just hours before the Gloria Estefan concert, officials discovered that the $213 million, state-of-the art facility does not have any parking.

``Boy, are OUR faces red!’‘ remarked arena officials. ``It frankly never crossed our minds that people would travel here by car!’‘

Fortunately, the officials point out, this ``boo-boo’‘ can be easily rectified via the simple step of building a new arena. ``It would fit beautifully into the four-block-long space between the two arenas we have now,’‘ they note.

But this is not a time to dwell on minor problems. This is a time to review the notable events that took place around the world on this historic weekend marking The Dawn Of The New Millennium Unless You Want To Get Technical About It. Here are just some of the highlights from a biggest New Year’s Eve ever:

Many nations staged elaborate public extravaganzas, with the most unusual taking place in Albania, where hundreds of revelers were injured during an ill-advised effort to ring in the millennium by dropping the world’s largest water balloon. Most nations opted for fireworks displays, one of the most spectacular of which was staged in Washington, D.C., where the Washington Monument was transformed into a magnificent cascade of brilliant white sparks spelling out ``HILLARY FOR NEW YORK SENATE.’‘ But the most impressive fireworks display of all took place in France, where the Eiffel Tower became a gigantic column of explosions and fire for 20 minutes, at the end of which the French government surrendered.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported that there were no problems involving U.S. commercial aviation, with all flights departing and arriving right on schedule. An official vowed that the FAA would ``get to the bottom of this’‘ and ``make damn sure it never happens again.’‘

A group of 300 terrorists, armed with automatic weapons and explosives, attacked the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, but nobody noticed, so they left.

In an unexpected move, the increasingly erratic Boris Yeltsin resigned as president of Russia after naming his replacement, Lamar Alexander.

The United States gave the Panama Canal Zone to Panama. Much later that night, after numerous bottles of champagne, the United States gave North Dakota to Canada.

Wilmington, Del., was obliterated by nuclear missiles, but the Department of Defense immediately released a statement assuring the public that ``there is no need for concern’‘ because this event ``was not Y2K-related.’‘

So as it turned out, despite all the ``gloom and doom’‘ predictions, there was nothing to worry about. By New Year’s Day, Americans - confident that the technological infrastructure is sound - were able to relax and enjoy the bowl games, including South Florida’s Orange Bowl, which, according to the electronic scoreboard, was won by Yale, 685 to minus infinity.

© 1999, Dave Barry

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