In January of 2000, folks were breathing a sigh of relief after checking every electronic device for Y2K bugs. Ew! Bugs? Yes.
As of December 31, 1999, according to EVERYBODY some sort of virus would crawl into computers all over the planet and destroy everything as soon as the clock turned to midnight on January 1, 2000. Cities would go dim from electrical malfunctions. Any and all public transportation would come to a screeching halt. From the PC on your desk to the remote to your tv … KaBlaM! They’re sure to explode. None of this happened. Even if it did, everyone still partied like it was 1999.
Which brings me to music: Prince recorded the song “1999” in 1982. Would a song called “2019” roll off the tongue and sound as good if it came from Prince in 2002?
We were Livin’ la Vida Loca with Ricky Martin as Eminem was introducing himself. Cher was believing in love while Britney Spears (I am totally not joking here) was debuting her FIRST album. Michael Jackson, David Bowie, George Michael, and Tom Petty were ALL on tour cranking out hits.
Bill Cosby was hosting Kids Say The Darndest Things. There was this crazy NEW cartoon about a sponge who lived in a pineapple under the sea, and a reality tv series coming out called Survivor. In between cameos playing himself in the HBO series Sex In The City and the movie Zoolander, Donald Trump was running for President of the United States (yes – for the year 2000).
Star Wars fans were deep in debate after the release of Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and the introduction of Jar Jar Binks. Today, The Rise of Skywalker brings the 42-year series in the making to a close.
When someone uttered the word “Amazon” most people associated it with the South American river. Occasionally someone would refer to it as an online bookstore.
Katrina was the name of a girl you knew who lived around the corner or rode the same bus as you, and NOT known as one of the worst hurricanes in history that nearly wiped New Orleans off the face of the earth.
Bill Clinton was President of the United States, George W. Bush was the Governor of Texas, and Illinois State Senator Barack Obama was about to lose a Democratic primary race in the U.S. House of Representatives.
New York still had a well-known skyline. If you were walking anywhere on the south side of the island of Manhattan, you could easily orient yourself by looking up to see the Empire State Building to the north and the Twin Towers to the South.
Today, you can visit the tallest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere at Hudson Yards, a 28-acre NEW neighborhood in NYC built on TOP of a consistently running rail yard.
The nation was still in shock from the deadliest school attack in US history and it was hard to imagine anything as horrific to happen again. Instead, the incident spurred countless copycat attempts and attacks. It also sparked long-overdue discussions about bullying, a complete revision of school safety, and endless debates on gun control. Tragically, today the incident at Columbine would be just another on a long list.
The first phone with a built-in camera had yet to make an appearance, and even when it did, folks were somehow baffled about what they would possibly use it for. I mean, why use that when you have a perfectly good camera already? Need a good laugh today, read the comments from this BBC article from 2001.
If anyone had told me back in 2000 that nearly everyone (including our kids) would be basically bodily attached to computers in 2020, I wouldn’t have believed it. The first time I saw a toddler using an iPad I about lost my mind. Now I’m all, “tell me more about this Minecraft situation and how to prepare myself for the inevitable…”
However, if I’m discouraged about how technology seems to be consistently overrunning our lives, I remember this. A guy waiting in the maternity ward came up with a way to send a photo to his family and friends of his newborn baby girl. The first prototype camera phone was created so this dad could share the love and excitement of a tiny new human entering the world. Millions have been doing it ever since, and I love that.
So what were we worried about back then? Something about a bug?