Creative commentary plus crafty composition

Some Pre-Millennium Numbers

You know how sometimes you’re reminded of a tune, which then gets in your head, and it seems to stay there awhile, especially if connected to a personal memory or time-frame?

Nineteen years before the advent of the new millennium, one of my favourite pop songs was born, 8675309/Jenny, by artist Tommy Tutone. Really, quite a catchy, upbeat tune, it is still can be heard on radio stations with variations of soft rock formats playing tracks from the latter decades of the 20th century.

Part of its attention getting novelty was the prominence of the phone number in the title. There are many anecdotal episodes of fallout from ordinary people who had this as their phone number, in various area codes – primarily their exasperation in dealing with hordes of callers at all hours trying to reach ‘Jenny’ (or some likeness). Certainly, few otherwise ordinary phone numbers have achieved such a level of public awareness, and lasting nostalgia.

Many pre-millennium cultural references remain in vogue; indeed, there have been a range of retro TV programs helping those of us old enough to relive those times, and educating generation Xers and millennials what the period was all about.

However, in the year or two leading up to the changeover from 1999 to 2000, AKA Y2K, there were public and private concerns as to what might happen to world-wide technology, particularly computer systems, once the clocks took their turns through each time zone striking midnight. It may be enlightening to revisit how some numbers looked in the period just before this time-based milestone.

According to statistics in the December 1999 issue of Psychology Today:

  • 85% of Americans were concerned about the potential Y2K computer bugs
  • The same percentage felt the issue was overblown
  • 40% stated they would not be traveling by air that day
  • 1% planned to ‘go in a cave’
  • 15% believed some body was hiding the solution to the potential Y2K crisis
  • 33% believed the White House was hiding the solution to the potential Y2K crisis
  • 60% believed Microsoft was hiding the solution to the potential Y2K crisis

A bouncy, cheerful tune about a phone number definitely rests as a more pleasant memory.

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