A Y2K Fable Inspired by Dr. Seuss
Original Artwork by Bonnie Dean
McHenry was a fact-finding master,
And he used a computer to do his work faster.
McHenry checked people and places and dates,
And he used his computer to settle their fates.
Then one day, while pecking and checking his dates,
McHenry saw something that made him say "Gates!
This data is wrong, it's simply can't be.
The dates are all wrong for 2003."
"According to this, in March of 03,
Alonzo Sanchez is one hundred and three.
But Alonzo's just born, he is only a baby.
This date can't be right, there's a problem here, maybe."
So McHenry checked others, the young and the old,
And what he found out made his fingers turn cold.
The 21st century dates were all wrong,
The size of the error was as big as King Kong.
Now Henry went into his Checking It mode,
And opened the program and checked all the code.
He checked all the COBOL, he checked all the C,
And when he was finished he said "This can't be.
The program is perfect, there's no glitch or Hoodoo.
I think what this means is, we're all in deep do-do."
Henry went to his boss and said, "Mr. McBates,
We've got a big problem with some of our dates.
I'll tell you right now in the simplest way:
Our computers won't work in the year Y2K."
Old Simon McBates was the boss of all bosses,
He oversaw all of the profits and losses.
So what Henry told Simon gave Simon a shock,
And he thought to himself, This will ruin our stock.
"We can't let this happen, it will ruin us all
I can't be in charge of the company's fall.
You've got to do something, there must be a way.
Just figure it out and I'll double your pay!"
So Henry returned to his workbench that night,
He examined each chip with very strong light.
And there on a chip was a creature, a Blip,
That blinked in the light and then stuck out his lip.
"Hey, what are you doing here? Turn out that light!
I am eating a date. Now get out of my sight.
I do not like people; I don't care for their fates,
What I really like doing is eating their dates."
McHenry just stared at the Blip on the chip.
He grabbed for his coffee and took a big sip.
And when he was calmer he said, "Who are you?
Why are you here? And what do you do?"
"My name is Mogu, and I live in this place,
I'm in charge of these chips, now get out of my face."
Poor Henry just blinked as he stared at Mogu,
And thought to himself How can this be true?
There's a creature in there, and it's people he hates,
And somehow he's eating up all of our dates.
A millennium bug—I've heard of his kind.
If he's in our chips, then we're all in a bind.
Henry put out the light, then he closed his computer.
He packed all his clothes in a big plaid two-suiter.
He bought a plane ticket for Billings, Montana,
Where he rented a truck from a woman named Hannah.
He drove to a town with a nice little cove,
And rented a house with a wood-burning stove.
He shopped in the town, buying candles and jeans.
He loaded his trailer with bacon and beans.
Raisins and shortening, tortillas and oil,
Toothpaste and mouthwash, aluminum foil,
Jelly and brownies, and cans of all sizes,
Flour for bread, and some yeast so it rises.
Henry drove to the house and unloaded his gear,
And prepared to hide out for the rest of the year.
I'll be safe here, he thought and then gave a great shrug.
There's no way I can fix the millennium bug.
If McBates and his partners still want to pretend,
They'll reassure people, right up to the end.
But I've met the bug, and it's people he hates,
And he's happily chewing on everyone's dates.