Throughout 1999, the world was held in worried limbo based on the idea that at midnight on December 31, the sky would, literally, come crashing down around them. This was based on the concern that computer operating systems that ran everything from space satellites to large airliners would freak out because there was no programmed year 2000 for it to roll into.
Instead, they would all flip back to 1900...
While the mainscream media spent time trying to keep ratings up by inciting public fear, at the same time it also tried to keep this beast under control by saying the danger was, really, quite minimal. The outcome was a kind of silent, balance of chaos that needed just a crack to open the doors to the asylum.
"It was really quite scary in some aspects." says Johnathan Billing-Gaynor, who was then the acting-director of the UN's 'Time Watch'; a group of leading tech-savvys from every corner of the globe. "It wasn't just airplanes, either. There were rumors that your toaster might leap from the counter and scorch your carpeting or your lawn mower could go-off full throttle and end up miles away cutting down somebody's pet poodle. The paranoia was both widespread and very addictive."
One little known detail that has never been released until now, is that the two most powerful leaders in the world were sent into hiding... just in case. Billing-Gaynor explains how it happened.
"The Americans and the British decided to be safe and pack away their leadership for an unannounced and undisclosed trip to a place that was deemed 'safe'. The UK's Prime Minister, Tony Blair and US President, Bill Clinton were each sent, respectively, on ships-of-call; the HMS Poodle and the USS Philanderer, to meet about fifty miles off the Azores in the North Atlantic. It was here that both toasted in the new year... unofficially, of course"
It should also be noted that Russia's Boris Yelsin, who was due to leave office shortly after the stroke of midnight new year's eve, was to have joined Blair and Clinton but his transport stopped-over in the Bosphorus to reload on Vodka (which he had already polished off) for the party and was somehow delayed. He never showed.
But, did anything really serious happen when the clock ticked over?
Billing-Gaynor once more fills in the blanks.
"One instance involved an automated carwash in California that actually trapped people and their vehicle in the facility for an all-night forced bath. By the time management arrived later that morning, the driver and occupants had been in a six-hour pitched battle with the sprayers and brushes. They had to be carefully removed from the premises and placed in straight-jackets for transport to a local mental health facility."
Indeed, it was one helluva a night.