By Mike Steiner
With less than 100 days left until the next millennium, you would expect North Americans to be gearing up for one hell of a party. But what should be the biggest celebration in the history of humankind is being overshadowed by a cloud of general reluctance and hesitation. It seems that instead of stocking up on beer and nachos, people are preparing to hunker down in their bomb shelters, awaiting the turbulent transition from 1999 to 2000.
Why all the anxiety? Sure, there might be a few computer glitches, as the recent "y2k bug" paranoia has aptly and repeatedly pointed out,but that should not get in the way of enjoying the only chance any of us will ever get to see four digits turn over on the great odometer of time. There must be some other cause for the gloom that hangs over our heads regarding the upcoming new year.
Are we afraid that the year 2000 will bring about the destruction of the world? Any superficial examination of the facts reveals that our method of "keeping track of time" is a purely relative measurement. The Christian-based calendar is behind by approximately four years, say experts, so the "real" millennium, much to the chagrin of doomsday prophets, has probably already come and gone. It seems unlikely that our fate would be dependent upon such an arbitrary and inaccurate number.
More likely, the hidden fear that lurks in our subconscious is not that the world will end in some sort of cosmic "day of reckoning," but that some lunatic, in his or her own spell of megalomania, will end our world for us. Random and deadly displays of violence are on the rise in North America, and we’ve seen too many examples lately to brush the threat off lightly.
Images of a madman, opening fire into the crowds of people who are just trying to have a good time, haunt us as we plan our New Year’s activities. Some people are deciding to stay at home, with the windows barred and the doors locked, shotgun in hand. Some are throwing parties, inviting only close friends with a track record of mental stability, hoping that their houses don’t get too trashed by many hours of drinking and living it up.
What we need to do, as Canadians, is to take deep breath, and get ready to party–hard. We should take notice of some European countries that have developed an entirely different attitude about the upcoming new year. They are embracing it, celebrating it and above all, they are not afraid of it; life is too short to waste time not living,so what the hell, go out and have some fun.
By the time December 31 rolls around, we’re all gonna need an excuse to let loose. We’ve got midterms, assignments, Halloween, Thanksgiving, more assignments, final exams, and Christmas to worry about first. The last thing we should have to fret about is having a good time on New Year’s eve. Students deserve a diversion–and welcoming the new millennium is a perfect opportunity to indulge in a little revelry.
And here is a note to the insane population of the world: if you feel that you are the angel of death, and that the hour of purification is close at hand, seek help now. But if you still feel compelled to end your life in order to pre-empt an apocalypse, then do so privately. The rest of us are going to party into the next millennium, all night long.