Biff America: Breeding and new beginnings (column)
There were about 10 of us at a remote cabin on a long ago New Year’s Eve and things looked to get cozy.
Depending on how the next few days played out, we would all have a few great days of backcountry skiing OR the ten of us could be tasked with the mission to repopulate the planet.
Being the oldest I was hoping I could hold up my end.
It was only 19 years ago when, depending on whom you believed, Jan. 1, 2000 (Y2K) would be just another New Year’s Day, or worldwide bedlam.
The cover of Time Magazine featured a street preacher holding a sign that read “THE END OF THE WORLD.” Some experts predicted bank failure, nuclear reactor meltdowns and a worldwide digital apocalypse. I can’t remember why exactly, but something about the number 1999 going to 2000 would mess with everything from the power grid, missile defense systems and could throw the world into chaos. And to throw gas on the fire, digital alarm clocks would cause us all to be late to work.
We did not book the cabin for those nights intentionally; we made the reservations in summer before we heard the world could end.
If we did survive Armageddon and had to repopulate the planet, we were a fairly good mix. First of all, we were bi-gendered (both men and women). The group contained a doctor, dentist, skilled gardeners, hunters, carpenters and a mechanic.
The cabin was about 10 miles from the nearest paved road with no cell service. There would be no AM radio signal so I brought in my world band radio to get a leg up if we needed to begin breeding on Jan. 1.
My mate and I didn’t really buy in to that Y2K scare, but before we left the house we had stocked up on canned goods and had filled a few large jerrycans with drinking water.
We all skied in separately and met up fairly early in the day on Dec. 30, 1999. Little mention was made of the possibility of the world ending 36 hours later. But I will admit, on that first day, to checking out the group and assessing their survival skills. And I caught a few giving me the once over obviously evaluating my fertility.
On the last day of 1999, after a great day of skiing, we settled in during the final daylight hours of the year. I tuned in my short-wave to the “BBC World Service,” laid out some snacks and cracked a bottle of bourbon.
I don’t think any of us expected the worst to prevail, but it was fun to speculate that if we were to “begin again” what would we, as a society, do differently.
As I mentioned, our group was diverse and skilled with expertise in medicine, farming, hunting, mechanics and carpentry. To be honest, I was lacking in any and all those necessary talents. It was because of my ineptness I insisted on being their leader.
As we listened to the short-wave signal fade in and out awaiting midnight and our fate, we all participated in compiling a wish list of the New America.
We all agreed we would keep the amazing document that is our Constitution. Though the gals pointed out that it was written by white guys, many who owned slaves, during an era where doctors used leeches and life expectancy was mid-30s.
One of the hunters mentioned that, though he supported the Second Amendment, when it was written it was referring to one-shot muskets that took minutes to reload and the first POTUS had wooden teeth. The dentist corrected him, stating they were ivory.
We were in unison in our agreement that our nation dropped the ball in its infancy in providing racial and gender equality and all agreed if we had to begin again it would be rectified on our watch (provided we were not too busy repopulating.)
The bourbon was barely touched when we learned that midnight came and went in London with no issue — the same for Sydney, Paris and Rio. I can’t say we were surprised, for, as usual, the fear mongers were wrong.
The party was in full swing, and the bottle empty, as midnight rolled into Colorado. By then Ellie and I had been asleep for hours. She was tired after two days of breaking trail for all of us, and I was resting up in case the reports were mistaken and we did need to repopulate……..
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff’s new book “Mind, Body, Soul.” is available at local shops and bookstores or Shop.holpublications.com/products/biff-america-mind-body-soul.
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