Has anyone else asked "why me?"?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Howdy all,

Just a question that ocurred to me.

How many people here have hit the "why me?" question after they became aware that Y2K was serious?

My reasoning......So MANY people have the same data in front of them that we have, yet so FEW see it as life changing. People laugh, go into denial, say they don't believe it will be a problem, tell you that you are nuts, all those things I think many of us have seen.

So.....who besides me has asked that question "why me?" Meaning, why did *I* take it serious, why am *I* preparing when no one else is, why did *I* see it as a life changing threat?

-- Art Welling (artw@lancnews.infi.net), September 16, 1998


Yes, I've had the same thoughts. I honestly don't know the answer to that question, other than I feel I have a decent understanding of the nature of computers and the global interconnectedness. It is amazing to me that everything works as well as it does now. This took many, many years to create and refine, and ALL of it is vulnerable.

I also have worked on a Y2K project and have witnessed firsthand how complex a seemingly simple project becomes. See my previous post for details.

I still struggle with the "why me" question. So many others shrug it off as "no big deal", that I would love to feel as blissfully ignorant as they do...

I still don't know about the power grid--too much conflicting information out there. Even if that stays up, however, I am convinced Y2K will still be a global disaster. As a result, I am preparing for the worst and still (despite all contrary evidence) hoping for the best. Even my best case scenario, though, is still pretty frightening.

-- Steve Hartsman (hartsman@ticon.net), September 16, 1998.

It occurs to me that Y2K, ironically, is being "adopted" in much the same way that any new technology is integrated into our lives. Folks familiar with Geoff Moore's work will know the term: we're falling into the category of "Early Adopters" of the Y2K reality - opinion leaders, local authorities, maybe even a bit obsessive. We see what it will can do and be and are acting accordingly. I personally am NOT an "Early Adopter" of technology itself, despite being in the IS business, but am most certainly someone who has absorbed a lot of info re Y2K and have integrated into my life. I know what it takes to successfully build or modify systems - Y2K is missing a lot of "critical success factors."

Other folks will take much longer to come up to speed - that's going to be a function of how much info they have available, their ability to analyze it clearly and absorb it, and how quickly they can then work through the whole "Grief" process (Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Depression) to arrive to Acceptance and Action. We need to be very patient and very gentle (which is VERY hard.) Y2K is very bad news. People need to grieve when the reality sinks in, and that takes time. They need to be encouraged and helped to understatnd and to see what "next steps" they can take.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.net), September 16, 1998.

Why me? Pure speculation here because there are no certain answers. There is a complex chain of circumstancial evidence that suggests different people process information in different ways. Among the speculations is the idea that some people require information in small chunks, that is they learn step by step (serialists). Other people need only a few pieces of information and from those fragments can build a whole picture (holists). There are, of course, lots of people between the two extremes. By way of analogy, getting 'the picture' in a jigsaw puzzle from three pieces is tough for most people. Y2K is a jigsaw puzzle with many ifs, buts and maybes, gaps in the puzzle. People who can build a picture from the Y2K fragments are doing so now and contribute to this forum and others like it. From my point of view there are many possible pictures that can be built from the currently available pieces. Of course each picture builder believes they have the real situation in clear view. From where I am seeing things the pictures that can be constructed change on a daily basis. There are four hard things for picture builders:

1. avoiding damaging your ability to act by building nightmares. 2. keeping an open mind for new data so that your big picture matches what is actually going on around you. That will ensure that your pictures are not too far away from what actually happens. 3. accepting that others can do what you are doing and have just as much claim on what may be the future as you do. 4. being tolerant of the serialists of the world.

So fellow holists: keep building pictures... keep minds open for new data... remember .. no one has got is right about Y2K yet... we will only know who got it right in hindsight.

BobB (New Zealand)

-- Bob Barbour (r.barbour@waikato.ac.nz), September 16, 1998.

I think Bob Barbour's post is an excellent explanation.

I still do not anticipate a total collapse of society, however my "big picture" can and does change every day.

Even without presenting a TEOTWAWKI scenario to people, I still get laughs, funny looks, "OK, Buddy", etc.

-- Buddy Y. (buddy@bellatlantic.net), September 16, 1998.

Hi Art

For the sake of discussion, assume y2k is a manageable problem. In this case, you'd expect organizations with big troubles to be spending a bundle, those with modest problems to be spending modestly, and those with little or no troubles spending little or nothing. And in fact, this is *exactly* what is happening.

NOW, assume the problem is totally out of control. You can argue (as Gary North does) that those spending a bundle (hopelessly) are informed, those spending modestly are ill-informed, and those spending little or nothing are uninformed.

The same available information conclusively 'proves' both positions! The information we can get can almost always be used to prove any pre-selected opinion.

Why you? Well, it ain't the data...

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 16, 1998.

I was born in Germany when Hitler invaded Poland. After the war we froze, starved and were homeless. We survived. I am not surprised that most people are in denial about y2k. This was the case in the Weimar Republic; this was the case in my employment. Therefore I expect most people to be in denial. If you are not, you are a realist tempered by your expirences. Beginning in 19, that's 19 and 45, our American relatives sent us packages with tea, etc. I traded 1 bag of tea for 1 gallon of milk from neighboring farmers. God bless you.

-- Trying to forget (Seenitbefore@ww11.com), September 16, 1998.

I was born in Germany when Hitler invaded Poland. After the war we froze, starved and were homeless. We survived. I am not surprised that most people are in denial about y2k. This was the case in the Weimar Republic; this was the case in my employment. Therefore I expect most people to be in denial. If you are not, you are a realist tempered by your expirences. Beginning in 19, that's 19 and 45, our American relatives sent us packages with tea, etc. I traded 1 bag of tea for 1 gallon of milk from neighboring farmers. God bless you all.

-- Trying to forget (Seenitbefore@ww11.com), September 16, 1998.

It seems so clear, the possible downside, that I've been wondering "Why not them?"

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), September 16, 1998.

I thought about this too. A couple of weeks ago, I told a friend that I was way ahead of the curve on Y2K, and by this time next year, everybody will be talking about it. The talk about bank runs, food shortages and the like points out that many of you see it the same way. I got a much later start than many, yet we are still a small minority. Mac is right - I think we are the early adopters. Let's just hope there isn't a mad rush in 12/99.

Good topic!

-- Mike (gartner@execpc.com), September 16, 1998.

Dear "Trying to forget" -

How I would like to spend an evening in conversation with you! Please continue to post your experiences and recolections for us all. I particularly wonder how, in the disorder of WWII Europe, did the farmers protect themselves, their crops and livestock, from the pressure of a starving refugee population.

-- Lon Frank (postit@here.com), September 16, 1998.

"Why me? Why do I follow Y2K when others don't?"

This is as important a question as: "When did you first hear about/understand Y2K?"

For me:

1. Thirty years ago I read "The Coming Dark Age" a description of just how interconnected and vulnerable the world was becomming.

2. I've tried to understand "Chaos Theory" which despite it catchy title is really about Complexity. The key parts of the theory that relate here are: Sensitive dependency on initial conditions, phase transistion, and emergence.

3. The social problems resulting from the software problems are of a biological nature and a good "whole world" view of living (and dying) systems makes it relatively easy to understand Y2K's impact. Easier, that is for a biologist, than for a techie. I suspect a bio/techie would understand the fastest.

I don't like what I see, but I'm resigned to it "probably" happening and think the Boy Scout motto is appropriate here.

________________________________ Rick at =Rick's Internet Cafe'=

-- Carl Chaplin (chaplin@lillonet.org), September 16, 1998.

Art, Here is a post I made in July on another forum that might answer as to why many are in denial: In just the last few days a revelation has come to me. Most of us keep asking the question as to why our family and friends are in denial regardless of what information they are confronted with.

While discussing y2k with my oldest son, who is thoroughly convinced, I commented that it was hard for me to convince him in the beginning and I asked him why that was. He said that since he was in debt and living from paycheck to paycheck that he did not see how he could prepare, that he was not in denial but that it seemed futile.

Today after church I was discussing it with my pastor and his wife. They are also convinced. She indicated that in a worst case scenario if she had food she could not refuse to share with those that were hungry. She also said that she knew that she could not feed everyone, therefore, basically saying that it looked futile.

Another friend, who lives in another state cannot convince his wife to relocate. Here is a comment he made in a recent email to me. She doesn't want to face up to what's coming because DEEP DOWN SHE PROBABLY REALIZES SHE DOES NOT WANT TO BE AROUND WHEN THE FIREWORKS START. Why? Because it requires an entire change in lifestyle, in commitment level, and energy expenditure.

One of my daughter-in-laws has been emailing her mother in L.A. (What I call la la land) about the problem and trying to convince her. Even after the ABC News program the other night on the power grid possibly going down she is still in denial and will not face it. When I commented that I just couldn't understand how she could not be convinced. My daughter-in-law answered by saying "put yourself in their position. What if the situation were reversed." All at once it became apparent to me. Since I have lived my entire 68 years in my small town I thought, what if it would be safer to live in La La Land or the Rotten Apple. What if it was necessary for me to relocate my family in an urban center. I would probably have refused to face the facts myself. In other words I would be in DENIAL. I have even made the statement years ago that if I was given the ownership of New York City on the condition that I had to live there I would refuse the offer. Even now if the situation were reversed I would choose to remain where I am.

Does the above apply to many of you out there regardless of where you live?

Joe Stout

-- Joe Stout (joewstout@iswt.com), September 16, 1998.

Joe, good observation. Probably true for those who have seriousy looked at the info out there, but there are also those who have only heard bits and pieces and that is not enough. I scoffed at it when I first heard about it a few years ago, and it wasn't until I heard a 1/2 hour program explaining it in detail (the amount of remediation to be done, the lack of programmers, the interconnectedness did I suddenly become convinced - and all this before I even heard about embedded systems). Once I could grasp the problem, it became a concern.

Y2ktoday said 68% of people aren't concerned or don't know about it. It seems people these days can't multi-task. They can only be preoccupied with one big crisis or scandal at a time.

Until the media comes out with the story "BANK RUNS", "COMPUTER LAUNCHES NUKE", "WELFARE SYSTEM DEFUNCT" or "COMPUTER GLITCH CAUSES INDEFINITE MARKET SHUTDOWN" or some such nationwide problem where the average Joe is personally affected in a major painful way most won't care. Also it's the American way to be reactive instead of proactive. Don't you know the government will take care of you?

-- Kay P. (Y2Kay@usa.net), September 16, 1998.

Sounds reasonable, Joe. If you don't know anything you can do about it, it's easier not to think about it. Of course, it won't we easier when it gets here.

I first read of Y2K Nov 97 in an article by Ken Klein. I knew in my spirit right then that it was for real! I put off doing anything because it seemed far away and I wasn't sure what to do. When July 98 arrived, I knew I had to find out what could be done and I don't know of any way other than the Internet that I could have gathered as much information in such a short amount of time.

I've really never thought of "why me", but I surely didn't know what to do with all this information. The Lord spoke to me (not in an audible voice) and said "Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm in my holy mountain." So, I talked to my pastor (who was already preparedness minded - for any kind of crisis) and he said it would be fine to show the 700 Club Y2K Special from July last Sunday night. In the meanwhile I sent out letters of Y2K Awareness/Preparedness to relatives, friends and neighbors and began meeting with some people from this area that I met on the net. Not one of those letters stirred up any response except a few thanked me for the trouble I'd gone to.

The meeting at church was different, however. Instead of the usual 25 or 30 we have at night church, we had 56 people and there were 5 that I don't know how they heard of it. People were very receptive and had all sorts of good input and it is being carried forward. Tonight there was talk of someone picking up drums and another had found a source of food-safe buckets!!

So now when I think "why me", I know it's because God knew that I would take it and run with it! It's beside the point if most people I tell think I'm crazy; I've done what I was supposed to do -- blow the trumpet!

-- Sylvia (in Miss'ippi) (bluebirdms@aol.com), September 17, 1998.

My guess would be that if we could all be dissected and examined, some gene or something for "independent thinking" and "instiable curisity" - the need to know why, would be found in all of us. There's a reason for that, I guess. Every single person we awaken will be one less family that is cold and hungry and paralyzed with panic and grief. Keep on!

-- Melissa (financed@forbin.com), September 17, 1998.

For me it is because im a Christian and this seems to fit so well into end time prophecy. I have noticed that, almost all of the people who are up on Y2K are Christians or Programing industry, although there are many from those 2 groups who are classic denialists.


-- Vic In Oregon (Light_servant@yahoo.com), September 17, 1998.

Actually that is an easy question for me. I am a natural born worrier. Worry, worry, worry that's all I do.

-- Amy Leone (aleone@amp.com), September 17, 1998.

Amy.... as a professional worrier myself, I see Y2K as a great challenge -- an opportunity to direct all of that energy into constructive action. This is one time that the worriers may have a slight edge: the process of worrying dictates a certain amount of playing through all of the worst-case scenarios in any given situation. We can use that process to rehearse and then PREPARE.

Wishing you and all of my y2k colleagues a calm, purposeful "worry" session for the next year.

Perhaps the "why me" is part of natural selection. I know that's a radical and frightening thought, but I do wonder if those that have gotten the message are destined to travel into the future BECAUSE of a heightened sensitivity to the tides of change and an ability to be resourceful and adaptible. Food for thought...

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@ptd.net), September 17, 1998.

Dear Lon, I will post my experiences after WW2 in Germany as time and post-traumatic stress allows. Therefore I'll do this in a random, unstructured fashion. Life was like the worst case scenario of y2k. Because my father abandonded me, this continued for many years. Why me, AGAIN? I am writing my memoir and may post excerpts here. It may be called: Bastards, Bitches and Heroes. You asked, how did the farmers protect their crops? I know, early on there were few crops to protect. All farms were and still are very small, up to 20 to 30 acres. I still have a letter that my father wrote to a farmer, asking for some fat to eat for my old grandfather. I still have the farmer's letter that answered: "Very honored Mr. X! "I am in possession of your esteemed writing of 16 January, 1947 and have to report with great regret, that in spite of my best intention it is not possible in this respect to help him, because I, in spite of my pursuit of agriculture, receive food vouchers myself and have only as much to live on as I can get with them, and this is too little to live on and too much to die on. We don't know anymore what bacon is since the occupation here, because there are no pigs anymore and we receive MONTHLY 100 GRAMS of fat per person. Everything else is taken away from us. "I am very sorry not being able to help your father, but under the local circumstances it is absolutely not possible because we don't even have enough potatoes to eat ourselves. Should the situation change, I am ready to help. "Respectfully, X People craved fat for energy. We ate much bread with lard, and other delicacies. Some loaves were so moldy that they resembled furry animals. Getting hungy, going for breakfast. Chiao, TTF

-- Trying to forget (TTF) (Seenitbefore@ww2.com), September 17, 1998.

I think that those who can accept y2k as a problem have a few things in common. 1) We can access and process information. 2) We are emotionally able to deal with the idea that we are at risk. 3) We seek ways to mitigate risk. People in general do things at different rates (ask any first grade reading teacher), so there is still hope to reach those who are currently in denial.

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), September 17, 1998.

Vic: I dare not call you a dreamer, but to say that most y2k savvy folks on this forum are 'Christians' is really stretching the imagination. If you believe a 'Christian' is someone other than a Jew or Muslim, then you may be right, but a real Christian is a true follower of Jesus Christ. By this, I mean, he has given up his right to himself; has made Christ the Lord of his life, and now lives to please God in all that he does. He's not perfect by any means, but he's forgiven, and he ever seeks to introduce others to the only One who can forgive sin and offer assurance of eternal salvation.

Now, if we (Christians) are willing to wade through tons of frivolous posts that have nothing to do with preparing for disaster, then those who complain about Arcy ought to quietly allow others to listen to the good news, that Christ died for sinners, which includes us all.

-- Merle (merle.b@usa.net), September 17, 1998.

I didnt even mean to imply that most people who post here are Christians, it just seems that when I talk to people people about Y2k they turn out to be Christians as you defined, or computer industry people.


-- Vic (Light_servant@yahoo.com), September 17, 1998.

Id like to add, that I like to see Arc's fervor. I just wish that he wouldn't approach it so antagonistically. I don't mean this as an attack on Arcy.


-- Vic (Light_servant@yahoo.com), September 17, 1998.


What an elitist attitude you have about being a true Christian. It's not very Christ-like.

-- Buddy Y. (buddy@bellatlantic.net), September 17, 1998.

This is a consequence of modern society. Most people assume that what was yesterday and is today will continue tomorrow. Also, most people spend their free time watching sports, stupid sitcoms, reading pulp literature, etc. They know nothing of history.

-- Joe Owczarzak (jowczar@comp.uark.edu), September 17, 1998.

After giving this more thought, I realized that I have become a real "planner." When I have a project, I analyze the situation, and lay out a plan, including a schedule. I try to have a systematic approach. To me this seems so natural, but I know many people who cannot do things this way. Some of them think well on their feet, but others just fall down. Once I got over the panic, I began to lay out a plan. I am now following it, and can take comfort in the knowledge that I'm doing the right thing, in the right way.

BTW - Vic, I'm a computer guy. I think your statement is fairly accurate about the high percentage of Christians and computer people.

-- Mike (gartner@execpc.com), September 17, 1998.

TTF - Thanks again. Very thought-provoking! The similarities of predicted y2k scenarios and post war Europe are frightning indeed. But more telling is the quote in your letter where the farmers themselves were receiving food aid. If we loose the grid, and y2k truly becomes social disintegration, who is to give us aid? We seem to be getting away from the posted subject for this thread, perhaps you could start another with your next "memoir". Again, thanks for sharing some painfull reality with us all.


-- Lon Frank (Postit@here.com), September 17, 1998.

Challenge to Buddy: You told Merle that he is not Christ-like. Would you be so kind as to share with the group your understanding of what the Bible teaches about Christ-likeness?

-- sinner (oneuno@guess.net), September 17, 1998.

Sara Nealy is closet to the mark here.

All actions that humans take follow the same "rules" of natural selection that effect everything else. Yes there are two types of people: Professional Worriers (who tend to lose when there's nothing to worry about) and Professional Avoiders of Worrying. Now guess which group tends to win after Natural Selection has had it's way in tough times.

____ Rick at =Rick's Internet Cafe'

-- Carl Chaplin (chaplin@lillonet.org), September 18, 1998.

Excerpt from my memoir:---- One fall afternoon we heard a desperate squealing and grunting coming from a farm up the road. Siggi and I ran to the commotion that resembled an ancient Friesian crhche scene. The setting: brick road, thatched barn, and a wood tub full of steaming water by a square manure pile. Some farmers were wrestling a pig. The pig was squealing, the farmers were grunting. "Ami, look. They are giving a pig a bath," Siggi observed. To calm down the pig a farmer hammered a spike into its head. Tylenol had not been invented yet. "We'd better be careful," I responded. We cautiously approached to watch this activity. They slit the pig's throat and drained its blood into a big bowl. Then they grunted it into the hot tub. It was identical to the one we bathed in occasionally in our kitchen and was made out of wood staves which were held together with iron rings. While the men scraped off the dirt and the bristles, the farmwife stirred the pig's blood with her bare hand. She added other ingredients as she continued to agitate. "Why are you stirring the blood?" I inquired shyly. "I am making Blutwurst," she replied. I had eaten Blutwurst before. It was black, contained chunks of lard, tasted delicious and had no government-mandated cholesterol warning on its intestine skin.

-- TTF (seenitbefore@ww11.com), September 19, 1998.

A man proceeded to cut open the pig's belly, removed its innards, some of which he threw onto the manure pile. Little Siggi and I stood side by side holding hands and watched with earnest faces. "You will be next!" the farmer exclaimed, looking directly at us. Instinctively we moved back for we were not sure if he meant it. He tossed something at us. "Here's the bladder," he said. "You can blow it up and play with it." We fought over our new toy and excitedly took it home. We rinsed it at the pump, blew it up and tied it shut. It tasted bitter. We didn't think that pee would taste bitter, we thought it would be salty. Maybe it was the little trichinas that we'd heard about but we didn't see any. After it cured, we could play soccer with our translucent pig bladder.

-- TTF (seenitbefore@ww1.com), September 19, 1998.

Aunt Adele came out of the house, asked us where we had found it and we told her what we had witnessed. Her face brightened, she commanded us to go back and retrieve the lungs and anything edible from that pig. Siggi and I balked, but agreed to fetch it, always aware of the ever-present whip. Toward evening we went back to the crhche scene of slaughter. Slowly we approached the manure pile while looking around for witnesses. When we felt unobserved, we climbed it. Shit, this is soft. The viscera glistened on the green altar. We grabbed the entrails, quickly wrapped them in newspapers and dropped them into the shopping net that we had brought with us. Was this the net I dangled in from Doebele's ceiling? We hurried back home. I felt guilty for stealing and for not having washed my hands. Oma always told us: "Erst die Haende seifen, dann zum Essen greifen." This meant to wash our hands with soap before reaching for food. Now Siggi and I grabbed the food while ignoring the advice that was pounded into us so many times. Maybe we could wash the food instead, before we ate it. Back home we placed our haul on the kitchen table and went back outside to play. ***

-- TTF (seenitbefore@ww1.com), September 19, 1998.

"Eat this," Ma ordered. Siggi and I stirred around in the lumpy culinary broth on our plates. Each waited for the other one to take the first bite. I could not bring myself to try one, thinking about the innards and where they had been. What is worse? Hunger pain, eating pain or whipping pain? As we wavered, Ma helped in our decision when she reached for her waist ornament. "I will eat it," I mumbled courageously Does fresh cowshit spoil fresh food? What about the flies? Where had they been? Beetles in the flour sauce. You haven't lived 'til you eat this haute cuisine. Porc de la manure avec crhme beetle. C'est ci bon, yes they say that in France Under the threat of corporal punishment, Siggi and I slowly consumed most of this nutritious, if not delicious meal. Chunks of rubbery air tubes provided good exercise for our jaws. More so than the Wrigley's gum we received from our relatives in America. It also strengthened our characters and nourished us to deal more effectively with future gourmet meals. The moral then is, when times are tough stay close to farmers' manure piles. After we finished, we washed the dishes, a chore we greatly disliked, Siggi and I. Since I was older, I had to fetch water from the pump in the barn. Adele then heated it on the white enameled wood stove in the kitchen. After doing the dishes we discarded this water again into the gutter of the cow stalls, from where it ran to a pool outside. Within hours the results de notre haute cuisine hit. Pain in the gut, which had spared us the pain in the butt. After rolling around the floor for an hour or two, parts of the pig escaped. We released it with competitive up-chucking, Siggi and I. Ma fed our chuckings to the chickens and they seemed to like them.

-- TTF (seenitbefore@ww1.com), September 19, 1998.

TTF- As before, your memoirs are very enlightening. The similarities of possibilities are terrifiying, but the differences between that time and this are even worse. It occured to me while reading your fascinating posts, that should you put me in my car, give me an hour, and offer a million dollars for a pig, I couldn't deliver! I recently spent a week in NE Tex and SW Ark. Drove over 2000 miles, much on back roads. I saw a soybean farm, some Tyson chicken houses, and a few pastures with cattle. But absolutely not one single family garden. Not one cornfield, not one beanpatch, not one stand of okra. In a scenario of collapsed agribusiness, commercial feedlots, and megafarming, the entrails will not even be available to most of us.

Please continue. Perhaps you will help us to envision your reality, and thereby provide for our own.

-- Lon Frank (postit@here.com), September 19, 1998.

I know we are spoiled in America but I would rather die!

-- NO WAY (up@chuck.com), September 19, 1998.

And ye just might, laddie, ye just might. See me when your really, really hungry, I'll have some haggis for ye. Aye, then we'll be a seeing what ye'll eat.

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), September 19, 1998.

TTF or Timothy Fonseca strikes again. Why do you even waste your time? This guy is obviously demented!

-- Dave (dave22@concentric.net), September 19, 1998.

Dear Dave22, Please don't insult me when I tell the truth. As disgusting as my cuisine was after WWII, I ate a more nutruitious fare than many of todays teletubbers. If the worst case y2k scenario comes to pass you are in for a rude shock. Trying to enlighten the ignorant.

-- Trying to forget (seenitbefore@ww2.com), September 19, 1998.

Our health and hygiene after WWII were as tantalizing as our haute cuisine that I mentioned in a previous post:

Aunt Adele and Oma had already lived here for some time. Adele was about thirty and still single. Oma, with snow-white hair pulled into a knot, was single again. Ma's prayers had been answered when grandpa hung himself. Our new home was owned by an old woman, Mrs. H., who lived in a room and a kitchen by herself. Her skeleton was draped with bluish, transparent skin and I could almost see her insides. On her left cheek, a sore was always oozing pus. Her insides were flowing out. When a green bead formed, she'd wipe it off with a twiggy finger. I know this because I surprised her once doing this in our common vestibule when our kitchen door stood ajar to cast a dim light into it. The light bulb had been removed years before to save power. This was a good place to do our boring, wiping and smearing as we moved about. I was reluctant to touch anything in the areas of the house that we shared with Mrs. H. I worried. How long has she been smearing herself all over the place? Her goo never stops flowing. Do people die when they are empty? She looks quite empty! I worried, because I too was oozing crud.

-- Trying to forget (seenitbefore@ww2.com), September 20, 1998.

I was too young to know what people had running out of their heads, and now I began to realize that I was asymmetrical. There was a hole in my head, behind my ear. But I did not question Ma about it because I did not know that this was not the way I was born. I had better things to worry about than a hole in my head. You hear with your left ear, rotate your head to find the direction of the sound, cock your ear, the left one, in that direction to improve your reception. No one has to teach you this for you do it automatically. You oozed pus from the other ear. I worried about becoming empty too. Operation Scoop the Goo did not stop my chronic infection. Millions of germs resided in my head, producing stinky crud, well-aged Limburger-cheese-like-smelling crud. Runny cheese-like crud. I habitually scooped it out with my finger, sniffed it, No, still stinks!, and smeared it off on my clothes. Or wherever Mrs. H. put hers. It was normal to ooze and smear; Mrs. Heddens was doing it too. My microbes were more peace loving than hers and established a relatively stable social order in my head. This meant, at least for the time being, that they fed mostly on ear wax, dead skin and such. They attacked my body only infrequently. In the meantime, Ma could not take me to a doctor because there was no doctor. And we had no money to pay for one. Mrs. H.s' microbes belonged to a different tribe. Like tiny piranhas they attacked her flesh and bones continuously, slowly devouring her. But mine dwelled nearer to a brain, my brain, than hers near hers. When our tribes invaded each other's territory, on door handles, privy holes or wherever their paths crossed, they battled each other for dominance. These battles were our secret and the First Biological War was never publicized.

-- Trying to forget (seenitbefore@ww2.com), September 20, 1998.

Is it just that some of us are preconditioned to this possibility in life? Due to upbringing or due to living during the war years at TTF or others that you are more likely than others to be ready to plan and execute a plan of action. Gene

-- Gene Peterson (carvgene@gis.net), September 20, 1998.

Dave, I wonder, too, if our "writer" has become someone else. I know not that long ago someone impersonated Uncle Deedah. This one line makes me wonder..."Trying to enlighten the ignorant". This doesn't sound like the same person as the earlier posts.

-- Gayla Dunbar (privacy@please.com), September 20, 1998.

Just one more observation, I've noticed many discrepancies in the Email address. WW11, WW2, WW1, etc.

-- Gayla Dunbar (privacy@please.com), September 20, 1998.

Funny you folks should mention this, but I was thinking earlier today how "odd" it is that TTF almost seems to be singling out the most incredibly grotesque things to talk about. I'm sure that post-war life in Poland was no picnic, but doesn't the subject matter and the descriptions sound a bit contrived? A little too repulsive, as if someone were going out of their way to get some attention? Maybe TTF will reply, saying I know nothing of the world, but we each believe what we want to believe. I just keep thinking about the cartoon of the two dogs sitting by the PC, and one telling the other "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog."

-- Mike (gartner@execpc.com), September 20, 1998.

I have to apologize for not posting my name. I am the writer of all the posts some of you are wondering about. As stated previously they include excerpts from my memoir after WWII. I am posting these because it might give a glimpse of the future. Some people who have read it can't believe that I'm still "normal." And still alive. Thinking back, I can't believe it myself.

-- Trying to forget (seenitbefore@ww2.com), September 20, 1998.

Come on, come on, get to the really gross stuff, when I get hungry in the future, I'll pull out the hard copy, and kill my appetite. Tell us about how you fed starving children the puss leaking from your head with a straw. And how when the straw clogged up, they just put their lips to your hole and sucked. Good stuff like that.

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), September 20, 1998.

Almost as good as the footnotes in the Starr report!

-- Joe (shar@pei.com), September 21, 1998.

"Sinner" writes: ===Challenge to Buddy: You told Merle that he is not Christ-like. Would you be so kind as to share with the group your understanding of what the Bible teaches about Christ-likeness? ===

At the risk of adding more irrelevance here...

I did not say Merle is not Christ-like, I said the attitude he was expressing was not. There is a difference. That seems to be a common mistake here. If one's point of view is challenged, do not assume that the challenge applies to the whole person. I was only challenging an idea, not the person.

If someone wants to start a thread concerning religion and allowing for differences of opinion then I will post to it. It would be nice if it had some relevance to Y2K.

-- Buddy Y. (buddy@bellatlantic.net), September 21, 1998.

Here's another excerpt from my memoir in Germany after WWII:

Even though we never invited them, we also offered our hospitality to other kinds of microbial tribes. For several weeks I provided room and board to the Rotten Tooth Gum tribe. Ma keenly observed in a letter to Pa: "My dear Treasure! "Ami pulled six of his own teeth, some of them during class. Five new ones are growing again, but the gums are red and infected in three places. He also has 39.5 centigrade (103.1 degrees Fahrenheit) fever and has been in bed for three days. The nurse said he has mouth rot" Now I had mouth rot, as well as ear rot. Hurrah, the tooth rot fairy came to visit me! But she did not leave me any money. My second set of teeth arrived. Instead of my fangs falling out to be replaced by new ones, they doubled up; new ones on top of old ones, double-decker style. I did not want to let go of any part of my body. My gums oozed pus like my ear, but fortunately it was only culinary pus. We had no money for a dentist, no matter, for there was no dentist. But I did not worry that I would become empty from this body leak for I swallowed the suppuration. It tasted salty but needed some pepper since I like my food spicy. Sucking pus from my gums, squeezing and probing with my tongue gave me something to do during my dreamy school hours. Gum, the chewing kind, was not featured in the village store. However we did receive some Wrigley's in our packages from America. To entice us to come over, Siggi and me.

This taught me to take very good care of my teeth. I'm 58 and still have them all, including wisdoms.

-- Trying to forget (seenitbefore@ww2.com), September 22, 1998.

I think I saw something similar on a "Hogans Heroes" re-run recently, when Col Klink had a toothache. I guess it was the way they did things back them (before flouridation and all).

-- Joe (shar@pei.com), September 22, 1998.

TTF, that last post has to be the most disgusting yet utterly hilarious single piece of writing I have ever seen in my entire life. Have you ever considered submitting an entry into the national "bad writing" contest? I've forgotten the name but all the stories begin with "It was a dark and stormy night". It's an annual contest so with the end of the world coming up you'd better get moving! The gum part was the clincher. Entice you to America, indeed! :-)

-- anon (anon@anon.com), September 23, 1998.

I guess, no one wants a preview of the possible 2yk scenario.

-- trying to forget (seenitbefore@ww2.com), September 23, 1998.


Sure we do, any info on what is in store for us is always welcome.

We do question why so much in depth description of suppurous leaking pustules of smelly oozing greenish yellow puss, slowly coming to a raw crusty head. I would think that these painful, fetid carbunkles might build pressure and then burst, thereby spraying the unfortunate bystanders open mouth with rotten, stinky, disease ridden sticky crud. I have a strong stomach, so I dont mind these stories, please do not forget any other unpleasant orifices, and the accompanying diseases, leaks, and odors.

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), September 23, 1998.

Uncle Deedah, I am just reporting how it was and how it may become for too many people. Hopefully it will shock everyone into action to do something to protect themselves. Unfortunately our national leadership is very silent about y2k . Is this an indication that this could get really bad? And gross?

-- Trying to forget (seenitbefore@ww2.com), September 23, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ