From Connections: An analysis of the Y2K aftermath

The writer is an artist, a writer, musician, statesman and survivalist. He doesn't care that "survivalist" has a bad connotation in some people's minds.

By Trey Cartwright

BIG SANDY, Texas--Hello, again, Trey Cartwright here. I hope you managed to survive the crisis this past month. The Y2K bug apparently decided not to rear its ugly head.

Personally, that takes a load off my mind. The only real problem is that certain unnamed people we know did quite a lot in preparation and then kind of were let down when nothing happened. Oh, those crazy unnamed people.

One family we heard of was stocked up and just waiting for the ball to drop. They had purchased extra food, blankets, gasoline, lamp oil, Coleman fuel, propane tanks, cars, pet food, matches, flashlights, Coleman-fuel-powered flashlight batteries, concrete mix, water filters, toilet paper, a China diesel generator, dual gravity-feed 40-foot water tanks, a 1964 Imperial, a 1999 Humvee, weather balloons, nasal spray, Coleman-fuel-powered solar panels and a partridge in a pear tree.

The list is nearly endless. These good people were ready and waiting for anything. It was all stored, along with a small faction of Cuban freelance guerrilla warriors, in a three-mile-wide underground labyrinth made entirely of plastic five-gallon buckets held together with several cases of gray duct tape.

Well, not really, I made that part up. The labyrinth wasn't that wide.

On the not-so-fateful night back in the 1900s that we like to refer to as Dec. 31, most of the family stayed home and talked while three young men of my acquaintance and I ran through the streets of Big Sandy with ours shirts off yelling: "Our clothes aren't compliant! Our clothes aren't compliant."

Sometime not long after midnight we confirmed that our clothes were actually compliant, but that's another story.

Unfortunately, the forgotten family did have some Y2K problems. Everyone else in town got to stay up late and watch newscasts of falling New Year's spheres and not experience any power problems at all. The family in question had recently dug a well, installed an array of state-of-the-art Trace true-sine-wave inverters and linked them to a set of 48 Coleman-fuel-powered solar panels.

The inverter was supposed to allow a minimal number of appliances to operate properly even if the power from the main grid went completely off.

Life's little ironies are so much fun. While the rest of the unprepared masses enjoyed champagne and other drugs, the prepared family had power failure after power failure. It seems that an inverter was defective, and when the house was plugged into it it overloaded it somehow.

Hence these poor people had to wake up the next morning in the dark.

Tell me that's not irony. Sick and twisted irony too.

There they were, quite possibly the most-prepared family in a five-state area and were the only ones having power failures.

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The rest of the year so far has been rather uneventful. The people in Big Sandy--compliant and not fully compliant--have gotten back into the swing of not buying every nonperishable item in sight.

Things so far have been fairly normal, but some people are still saying that problems could happen. They say that the power could cut off and the computers could screw up at any moment, that we're just sitting on a time bomb. But surely the electricity could never

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