Journal Of Applied Misanthropology

Dispatches From Tomorrow

An introduction:I wrote this back in October, decided it wasn't shaping up how I wanted it to be, and consigned it my large collection of incomplete works. It should have remained there, but with so many real news stories mirroring what I wrote, I felt I had to get my digs in. Some people might not believe this actually dates, 'as is' to October, but it does. With the exception of North and Yourdon, all names are fictional, as is the town of "New Fork, Nebraska" (AFAIK)

Dispatches From The Apocralypse

Jan 1,2000 AP Feed
"About Average"
To the relief of most, and the disappointment of a few, today dawned with power plants humming, stores stocked, and Armageddon apparently put off for a bit. This came as a relief to the tens of thousands of police, fire, and other emergency workers who spent a long, cold, New Years night expecting the worst.

'All in all, it was about average', reported Sgt Joe Renfeld of the New York Police Department. 'A few more drunks, some of the parties were a bit wilder than usual, but nothing really big happened. Nothing like some of us were expecting. We had an office pool going, about when the lights would go out. I had 3:35 AM. I lost.'.

Jan 1,2000 AP Feed
Panic Grips New Fork, Nebraska;Winter Storms Blamed
Seemingly fulfilling visions of apocalypse, New Fork, Nebraska was plunged into darkness at 12:14 AM on January 1st, sparking panic among the residents and overwhelming police and emergency crews. Believing civilization had collapsed, the populace descended into looting and rioting, destroying most of the small towns downtown shopping district in a frantic grab for supplies.

But when things calmed down, the problem was traced to a powerline that blew down at a very inopportune time. The mayor blamed 'Radical panicmongers who prepped people for disaster', and vowed to investigate the 'accident' to determine if it was, indeed, accidental. 'We are making no accusations now', he said, 'but there are people who wanted this to happen, and we know who they are.'

Jan 2, 2000 Usenet alt.y2k
Subject:Crow, served cold.

Hi there. :)

Y'all might not remember, but 'round about Summer 1998 I engaged in several protracted flame wars with assorted fans of apocalypse. I was called all sorts of names for believing the world would still be here by January, 2000. Well, here it is, 1/2/00, and I'm in a *heated* apartment with *working* elevators watching the traffic be no more snarled than usual, writing to you on an Internet which is just fine (well, fine as it ever was). So it's time for my favorite game, which is called 'laughing at the lamers'. Following is a *large* assortment of archived predictions, made with absolute certainty, that there would be no power, heat, etc, by now. Time for some fun...

Jan 2,2000 Usenet alt.y2k
Subject re:Crow, served cold

U lam3r if it waznt for us know one wood haf cared u suk i wish u had all dyed now i haf to go to work shit shit shit

Jan 3, 2000 WWW 404 not found

Jan 5, 2000
New York Times 'Technology' Section
Yourdon Admits 'exaggerating', claims 'necessary'.

"Yes, we exaagerated somewhat. We knew most of the worst-case scenarios almost certainly wouldn't happen, but we chose to play them up. The reason they didn't happen is because we did that -- we made the world take notice. If we hadn't, complacency would have ensured a real disaster, not just some misrouted luggage."

Jan 6, 2000
Lawyers To Sue Over Non-collapse of Civilization

Law firms counting on windfalls from Y2K lawsuits are tightening their belts in the abscence of any serious disasters. "We had planned half our budget over Y2K related litagation" said one attorney, speaking on condition of anonymity, "And now there's not nearly enough cases to go around. We've had to lay off a few legal assistants and curtail a lot of other plans." But at least one law firm isn't taking this lying down. The firm of Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe is planning on filing a general suit against several prominent Y2K doomsayers, claiming they 'knowingly and maliciously exaagerated the possibilities of a Y2K related disaster for financial gain'. The individuals named in the suit had no comment.

Jan 10, 2000
Back To Business As Usual for Emergency Suppliers

The world didn't end ten days ago, but for Robert&Betty Margrave, the gravy train did. They run a small business supplying emergency and survival equipment. Over the past year, their sales quadrupled, but this surge collapsed within a day or two of the new year.

"We expected it, of course. We didn't go nuts with the new money...we socked it away for when we'd need it."

When asked if they put it in one of the banks whose presumed failure was one of the factors driving their short-term boom, Betty simply said, "No Comment".

Feb 12, 2000
IRS warns 'We'll get you'.

IRS Director (name) stated today that he is aware of a 'higher than usual' rate of non-filing for the 1998 tax year, due, he said, to a 'widespread belief that there would be no IRS by the time audit season rolled around. Well, we're still here...and we will be agressively pursuing non-filers.' He noted that there may be amnesty for those who 'come forward' on their own.

May 7, 2000
New York Times Magazine

Jim Robbins is sitting alone in an auditorium built for 100.

Six months ago, this hall was filled with families eager to begin their new lives at "Pine Woods Millennium Retreat"...a planned community for those who wanted to ride out the coming apocalypse. A large diesel generator promised to provide power, with fresh water coming from the nearby lake and ample hunting, fishing, and farming space. At its peak, the community housed nearly 115 people;now, only Jim is left.

"We started out nervous and a lot of folks thought we were nuts. But we wanted to live, and, more, most of the people here wanted to get away from the cities, from the modern world. Go back to the idea of a real community, where you knew your neighbors and could count on them."

After the deadline came and went without much effect, a town meeting was held.

"It was a long one. We all talked, and argued, and debated. We reached the conclusion that we liked it here. People said it was such a change from the suburbs, that this was how they wanted to raise their kids, and we would make this a real community."

He sighs, and looks away for an instant.

"Three days later, people started leaving."

"The first one to go....he was almost in tears when he told me, he said he had to think of his daughter...she missed her friends, her school, and she wanted to study ballet, and she couldn't do that here....two days later, someone else came by, said he had a job offer he 'couldn't refuse' just kept happening. And the more people left, the less it felt like a was depressing, sitting in the empty dining hall, coming to the empty recreation center. We figured there'd be no TV, so we had room for square dances, or storytelling, or things like that, but there *was* TV, and, you know, it just couldn't compete."

"When the generator blew in Feburary, I think that was it. It was only out for a few hours, and, you know, if things had happened like we thought they would, we'd all have been grateful for any electricity. But as it was, I think a lot of people decided that a real neighborhood, a real sense of place, wasn't worth as much as a McDonalds on the corner and a satellite dish on the roof."

"By the end of March, I was alone. I'm just the caretaker now. I don't know, I sank a lot of money into this place, figuring it wouldn't matter in the long run -- it was all paper money, federal scrip, it would be worthless as soon as the system collapsed. And I wanted to make a place where a real community could live, someplace where we could give life to old values, serve as, I don't know, the center for a new, better, civilization after the old one died."

"Maybe I'll see if I can rent it out for corporate training retreats or something."

When asked if he would be joining the DCH class-action suit against 'false prophets', he replied, "Hell yeah! Those bastards raised a lot of hope in people. They ought to be made to pay."

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