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The Ghost of Parties Past

By Maggie Turner


December 29, 1999

The Ghost of Parties Past

I am waiting, not so patiently, for this "turn of the millennium" thing to be over with. I am not waiting for the celebration to begin; I am waiting for thing to be over. I want to know how all the computer gurus made out. Are they as smart as they think they are? Have they corrected their own mistakes in time to save the world? Are we waiting for Armageddon or an apocalypse? Will there be a worldwide crisis in just a few days? Will the New Year bring the beginning of the slow death of life, as we know it? If computers are so great why are the little beasts ruining my millennium celebrations with all this uncertainty? Ah, computers, "ya gotta love em."

I remember sitting in front of a pool at a party the summer of 1971, my fellow teachers talking enthusiastically about the wondrous potential of the computer. As usual, I spoke aloud the thoughts that came into my head.

"What if they fail?" I asked. The response was condescending laugher.

"What if our food distribution system is dependent on them and they fail?" I asked. More laughter.

"And just how would they all fail at once?" came the contemptuous answer. A lot more laughter.

Well, I could not say at the time, it did seem possible. Then, what did I know? I was not a computer whiz or guru, I had not even seen one. Computer viruses and Y2K had yet to be invented. I was just a young and foolish woman asking a seemingly stupid question. The masters of logic who ridiculed me that day probably have no recollection of the conversation. If they did it would be rewritten to reflect their superior intellect. I remember only because I was made to feel very ignorant and small before a crowd of people. If the Y2K "bug" proves to be widely problematic, you know who I hope feels it first. You would think that after 29 years I would have let this go; I am tenacious. I must thank all those computer geniuses for coming up with the Y2K plan; I could not have done the job better myself. Then again, perhaps those teachers were right all along. I certainly hope so. Personal humiliation would be a small price to pay.


 

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