Renaissance Column

OCTOBER 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 10



Column: (Gasp!) It's the Year 2000 Crisis

Cris Cohen: Arguments over sliced cheese don't always lead to gun play.


Cris Cohen
James L. Iannone
Anthony Marciano
Kevin Ridolfi

DAVID DOUGLASS is an independent publishing consultant residing in the small north Georgia town of Atlanta. He is also a freelance writer and has authored numerous articles and several books. David is a staff columnist for Renaissance Online Magazine.


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I guess that I am not the sort of person who makes a big deal out of power outages, delayed travel and other supposed preludes to Armageddon. Even brief consideration of such possibilities evokes within me chronic bouts of indigestion and, according to my wife, an overall "ornery" disposition. Nevertheless, persistent rumors, news reports, cryptic (though often anonymous) email, and other forms of propaganda have backed my otherwise sensible household into the proverbial apocalyptic corner - we must all prepare for the worst!

We should not be surprised to learn that quite a number of people throughout the United States have, for some months, been industriously hoarding canned foods, kerosene heaters, drinking water, and a host of other articles that will better prepare them for the seemingly inevitable "shutdown" of society as we know it during the wee hours of the morning on January 1, 2000. My family, in an intrepid demonstration of American practicality, has elected to forgo traditional approaches to survival in favor of an innovative preparatory strategy - hoard only those articles typically found in bathroom storage closets and medicine cabinets.

I know what you're thinking - you can't eat toilet paper. Nonetheless, my wife remains convinced that a survivalist with an ample supply of toilet paper is a happy survivalist. After closer consideration of the matter, I am inclined to agree. The utilization of leaves and handfuls of grass fronds in lieu of squeezably soft bathroom tissue is, quite simply, un-American.

It goes without saying that when everyone else is clutching their stomachs in agony as a result of perpetually worrying about when society will be restored to its pre-apocalyptic glory, my family will be carefully rationing a rich storehouse of tonics from the bathroom medicine cabinet - including, I might add, various articles designed to control acne, eliminate cold sores, and spare us the general discomfort of other unsightly afflictions that would only serve to aggravate an already onerous situation.

Much to the chagrin of "well-prepared" survivalists who have diligently stockpiled dozens of cases of canned soup, a virtually limitless supply of bottled water, and other non-perishables; life without such essentials as hair gel, athlete's foot medication, and deodorant would be, to say the very least, unacceptable. I simply cannot imagine foraging for wild berries, acorns, and stray grubs alongside the other hunter-gatherers without having first applied a generous measure of aftershave and fresh-scent antiperspirant. As my seventh grade health teacher so wisely counseled, "Armageddon is no excuse for poor hygiene."

I can easily envision legions of the pharmaceutically-challenged vacuously tromping about the countryside in search of remedies for even the most rudimentary of maladies. These conditions, which were once so easily eradicated, have now grown painfully distracting as the contents of their medicine cabinets scarcely address their present needs. Let's face it, how much willow tree bark must one actually consume to equal the effects of the latest ultra-maximum-extra-strength-will-almost-kill-you headache pain reliever? I certainly cannot speak for anyone else, but in my own humble opinion, home remedies and hemorrhoids do not sound as if they are necessarily a match made in heaven.

Perhaps my perspective concerning the whole Y2K phenomenon is one of destiny. Fate often calls forth innovative thinkers from the ashes of crisis and despair. Indeed, the entire capitalistic system may very well rest upon my family's ability to provide the nation's citizenry (via a "going out of civilization" sale, of course) with those bare essentials of life which are consistently taken for granted in our hurried, technologically dependent society. The mere thought of certain individuals lingering for months or more without the benefit of a state-of-the-art rotary nose hair trimmer is enough to send each one of us a resounding wake-up call.

I hope that I will not be judged too harshly for depreciating the harrowing possibilities facing each one of us at the dawning of the new millennium - for if we are to believe the prognosticators of doom, we are all in for quite a ride. Be that as it may, there is no escaping the fact that two things you simply must not find yourself without during a gastronomic apocalyptic scenario are such indispensable necessities as toilet paper and Kaopectate.

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