Everybody posts pictures for Throwback Thursday. I'm posting writing. This piece is from just after the new millennium started and the big Y2K scare was over. Funny thing is some 15-plus years later I still feel the same way.
Y2K anxiety proves unnecessary Wartburg Trumpet, January 17, 2000
Seventeen days into "Y2K" and no major problems to report as of yet, and frankly I'm let down. I was expecting more from all the hype. We had been hearing about Y2K for years. Then in the weeks before it went down, people were going nuts checking their bank accounts and buying bottles and bottles of water to put next to their cans of SPAM and boxes of Twinkies (both of which will be around long after Y9K takes place). And in the end, there was no end, and all of the preparation was for nothing.
But what I find most interesting about the entire Y2K ordeal was the merchandising. Just as in the 1987 motion picture, "Spaceballs," Y2K took after one of the best quotes of the film."Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made. Spaceballs the T-shirt. Spaceballs the lunchbox. Spaceballs the coloring book. Spaceballs... the flame thrower! Kids love it. And my favorite, Spaceballs the Doll."
Anywhere you went you could find Y2K merchandise. Countdown clocks, shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, hats, boxers (no, unfortunately I'm not kidding) and posters are just a few of the countless items that are probably now free with any purchase at most stores. And my favorite of all of these is the countdown clock. Everywhere I went had a countdown clock. And now what are they doing? Now what are they worth? And then the worldwide television coverage that took place on New Year's Eve. Reporters were at every location on the globe that night, even the tiny island that no one knows the name of anymore that was the first to celebrate the ringing in of the year 2000.
I even heard a rumor that this island actually changed their timezone by a half hour so they could be first. I don't know if that is true or not, but if it is, it sure seems cheap.
So looking back at the last millennium, what am I going to miss? Well, I'm not going to miss Prince's "1999," which will more than likely never be heard again except on "The Greatest Pop Hits of the 20th Century, Volume 1," available through special TV offers (and if you act now, you'll get a Y2K toothbrush for free). However, the things that I will miss about the 20th century include Mom's apple pie, baseball, pizza, and trips to the park to skip stones across the river with my little nephew and my dog, Sparky.
You might be saying to yourself right about now, "but Chris, all of those things are still around, with maybe the exception of your dog." And I would say back to you that you're right, all of these things are all still around, including Sparky and his Y2K compliant flea collar.
So what is my point? Well, believe it or not, I actually have one. People worry too much, and not just about Y2K. We all worry about things too much in my opinion (and that is what this column is about: my opinion).
Well, a little advice for you my friend, most of what we worry about we can't do anything about, especially that whole world blowing up thing. So in the words of Bobby McFerrin, "Don't worry, be happy."
So awhile back (like in September) I started thinking about all of the different jobs I've held down over the years. First there was stuffing the Sunday editions of the Chicago Tribune together inside of a warehouse (http://www.lookitschris.com/blog/happy-labor-day) and second, there was my time washing dishes/cooking/waiting tables at Enzo's Pizza (http://www.lookitschris.com/blog/employment-history-job-2). Tonight, let's look at my third ever job, working at Brookfield Zoo..
Now I know what you are thinking: You got to work at the zoo? How cool is that! While it wasn't the worst job I've ever had, it certainly wasn't the best job I've ever held down either.
Some of the highlights included the people, especially Becky (who I went to Trinity High School's prom with, which is a completely different story). There was also the weekly activity of helping raccoons escape from the dumpster (they would climb in there to eat the food we threw out each week). And probably the coolest memory was walking through the zoo alone at dusk back to my car and hearing the roar of the lions echo across the entire place.
It only lasted a summer, but it was a steady job with regular hours and spent mostly outdoors, so I couldn't really complain too much (except for the day I was stung by a bee. Occupational hazard I guess).
Beginning in March, I will host a weekly show on Chicago's Business Radio AM 1530 WCKG called Study Hall Radio. The focus of the program will be everything high school. But while I will be the show's host, the meat and bones of the program will be produced by students. The interview, ideas and segments will all be student written and produced each week. How cool for them to be able to say there work is on a commercial station in Chicago! Right now it will begin with students from WLTL Radio, but it is our hope to expand it out to include reporters from other area high schools too.
So as you can see, I really haven't taken any time off...just reassigned it elsewhere. Stay tuned...it's starting to get exciting around here!
Chris Thomas is a full-time teacher, part-time freelance writing, father of three, and most importantly, a very, very tired man.
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