December 31, 1999
Well, the beginning of the end of the millenium is upon us and, as you probably already know, it’s about a year away. As for 1999, here’s my wrap-up of some significant events:
January: As if belching in public weren’t already a guaranteed way to win friends and influence people, a Japanese brewing company produced a new beer in which the fizz comes from hydrogen rather than carbon dioxide. This allows the drinker to light his belches. The hydrogen also raises the pitch of the drinker’s voice allowing men to sing soprano in karaoke bars. Male soprano singers are needed because there are no women dumb enough to set foot in a bar where men are already belching blue fireballs.
February: In Orlando, Florida, a woman appeared on a nationally syndicated talk-show and proudly admitted to vandalizing her ex-boyfriend’s apartment and car. (She slashed a waterbed and poured sugar in the car’s gas tank.) Prior to her appearance the police had her as a prime suspect but lacked the evidence to prove anything. Fortunately putting her under the bright lights and close scrutiny of a studio audience was all it took to get a confession.
March: Also in Florida a high school principal, after originally refusing the request, decided to allow a male student to wear a gown to the annual prom. The principal’s reversal was based on the fact that he had allowed the same student to wear dresses to other school functions. The principal also, after seeing the dress, realized that it was not, in fact, the same as the one he had just bought for himself.
April: In Indiana (naturally) a man frustrated with a restaurant’s toilet flushing too slowly shot it several times with a semi-automatic handgun. The man was, of course, drunk, and just minutes before had been telling the toilet it was his best friend.
May: Toronto, Canada, a peculiarly normal place as far as news goes, made headlines with a lawsuit against a bank by a customer who claimed to be a Martian. The customer, and his lawyer, alleged that the bank, a local drugstore, and the Canadian army were all part of a conspiracy to assassinate the Martian. Officials responded by saying that, unlike the United States, Canada is very tolerant of aliens.
June: A report came out stating that at least one in three schools in the United States is still using computers that are not Y2K compliant. Although most schools will be closed due to holidays until at least January 3rd, there are still concerns that fire alarms won’t work, buses won’t run, and that teachers will actually have to speak to students.
July: In Illinois at least two people bought a barbecue sauce that was so hot it was described as "thermonuclear". One of the bottles exploded shortly after being opened. The other exploded spontaneously while the woman who bought it was away. County health department officials took samples of the sauce for study, and also to consider the necessity of a barbecue sauce ban treaty.
August: Venice, Italy, introducted a "toilet tax", a charge for the use of all public restrooms. Shortly after the introduction of the tax the waterline of the famous canals mysteriously rose six inches.
September: A 100-million dollar probe to Mars crashed into the planet’s atmosphere and burned up because course-change instructions were sent in feet and inches. The European-designed probe was only programmed to recognize metric measurements. After sobering up, the guy responsible for sending the instructions said, "Boy, I really put my foot in it this time. Um, I mean my meter."
October: As if heroin weren’t appealing enough, medical examiners in Washington state found that users are more likely to contract flesh eating bacteria. The bad news is the disease kills one-third of people who become infected regardless of the degree of medical attention they receive. The good news, especially for fashion models, who are mostly heroin users anyway, is it makes you really really thin.
November: A University of Kansas football player got stuck in a drive-through window at a fast food restaurant after a mistake was made with his order. His defense in court was to say the incident never actually happened. Lawyers everywhere panicked because, if such an asinine defense proved effective, it would put them out of a job.
December: In Jackson, Mississippi, a fake Christmas tree in the capitol building was used to replace a real Christmas tree because of concerns that the real tree was a fire hazard. The fake tree later burst into flames allowing 75 people to be excused from long, boring meetings, so a potential disaster was really just an early Christmas present. An investigation revealed that the man responsible for the fake Christmas tree had previously worked for NASA.
That’s it for 1999–see you after cyber-geddon!