Nice COBOL / Y2K Joke

Rohit Khare (
Sat, 05 Apr 1997 01:39:43 -0500

Date: Thu, 13 Mar 97 20:37:12 EST
From: Sarah Kiely <>

"There was once a COBOL programmer in the mid to late 1990s. For
the sake of this story, we'll call him Goovoo. After years of being
for granted and treated as a technological dinosaur by all the UNIX
programmers and Client/Server programmers and website developers,
Goovoo was finally getting some respect. He'd become a private
consultant specialising in Year 2000 conversions. He was working
short-term assignments for prestige companies, travelling all over the
world on different assignments, and making more money than he'd
ever dreamed of.

He was working 70 and 80 and even 90 hour weeks, but it was
worth it. Soon he could retire.

Several years of this relentless, mind-numbing work had taken its toll
on Goovoo. He had problems sleeping and began having anxiety
dreams about the Year 2000. It had reached a point where even the
thought of
the year 2000 made him nearly violent. He must have suffered some
sort of breakdown, because all he could think about was how he could
avoid the year 2000 and all that came with it.

Goovoo decided to contact a company that specialised in
cryogenics. He made a deal to have himself frozen until March 15th,
This was a very expensive process and totally automated. He was
The next thing he would know is he'd wake up in the year 2000; after the
New Year celebrations and computer debacles; after the leap day.
Nothing else to worry about except getting on with his life.

He was put into his cryogenic receptacle, the technicians set the
revive date, he was given injections to slow his heartbeat to a bare
minimum, and that was that.

The next thing that Goovoo saw was an enormous and very modern
room filled with excited people. They were all shouting "I can't
it!" and "It's a miracle" and "He's alive!". There were cameras
(unlike any he'd ever seen) and equipment that looked like it came
out of a science fiction movie.

Someone who was obviously a spokesman for the group stepped

Goovoo couldn't contain his enthusiasm. "It is over?" he asked. "Is
2000 already here? Are all the millennial parties and promotions and
crises all over and done with?"

The spokesman explained that 2000 had gone, but that there had
been a problem with the programming of the timer on Goovoo's cryogenic
receptacle - it hadn't been year 2000 compliant, and it was now
March 15th of 2099, not 2000. But the spokesman told Goovoo that he
shouldn't get excited as someone important wanted to speak to him.

Suddenly a wall-sized projection screen displayed the image of a man
that looked very much like Bill Gates. This man was Prime Minister of

He told Goovoo not to be upset. That this was a wonderful time to
be alive. That there was world peace and no more starvation. That the
space programme had been reinstated and there were colonies on
the moon and on Mars. That technology had advanced to such a degree
everyone had virtual reality interfaces which allowed them to contact
anyone else on the planet, or to watch any entertainment, or to hear
any music recorded anywhere.

"That sounds terrific," said Goovoo. "But I'm curious. Why is
everybody so interested in me?"

"Well," said the Prime Minister. "2100 is just around the corner, and
it says in your files that you know COBOL........"."