The Artist, formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, would like you to know that if you party like it's 1999, you owe him royalties. Not that His Royal Badness is likely to collect from everyone, but it's something to think about as we slide into the penultimate year of the millennium.

Even if you manage to ward off the Purple One, though, there are plenty of other things to worry about. These are, by any reasonable definition, uneasy times. (A good definition would require that I define easy times as well, but I'm not looking for a good definition — only a reasonable one.) The hysteria from the Parousia Or Bust crowd is getting louder, and pointing out that Jesus Christ was born around 4 BCE, meaning that the end of the millennium has therefore actually come and gone without incident, does nothing to calm them down. Certain Democrats would have you believe that the impeachment of Bill Clinton is somehow a threat to the Republic and the beginning of a slippery slope down which every President of the future must inevitably tumble, a notion which their predecessors probably pushed in Andrew Johnson's day with comparably blah results. On the other side of the aisle are the Culture Warriors, still fighting to restore their imaginary Fifties utopia, and still blissfully unaware that they've already descended to the level of national punchline.

Bestriding all these minor annoyances like Colossus: The Forbin Project is, of course, Y2k. Estimates on the duration of the expected inconveniences come the turn of the century range from about fifteen minutes to about fifteen years. Inexplicably, there has been no marked upsurge in the study of Judaism, the adoption of which, if nothing else, would put off Y6k for a couple of dozen decades.

And as I sit here watching my lease expire, I have a sinking feeling that I'm going to worry about all of these things, and not just because I'm supposed to turn out forty-seven more Vents this year either.

The Vent

1 January 1999

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 Copyright © 1999 by Charles G. Hill