The Lizard of Fun, in a rare moment of downtime between episodes of unbridled hilarity, is flipping through one of those Cosmo-type quizzes.
"Here," it says, "you’re supposed to figure out your millennial personality type. Are you informed, stocked up and thoroughly prepared for the Year 2000, or are you a sniveling, head-in-the-sand Luddite who’s in pathetic denial of the global mass chaos that’s soon to be at hand?"
"Gee," I say. "That’s a tough one. I’m still adjusting to the ’90s. I haven’t even got around to updating my wardrobe and lipsticks for this decade."
"Aha. You’re the perfect candidate for the quiz," says the Lizard of Fun, whipping out a PalmPilot to tabulate my responses. "Here we go. Choose only one answer to each question."
1. Y2K is:
a) a computer bug
b) a techno DJ
c) a new DKNY sportswear line
d) Bill Gates’ license plate
2. Y2K will cause:
a) massive malfunctions to anything electric, including your hair dryer and microwave
b) big sales on old computer parts
c) a gigantic asteroid to collide with the Earth
d) really annoying television news coverage
3. At midnight on December 31, 1999, the following could happen:
a) the Times Square ball will not drop
b) aircraft systems will malfunction
c) all computers everywhere will crash, thereby deleting everyone’s identity and losing our bank balances
d) absolutely nothing
4. As a result, we might face:
a) sudden power outages
b) an extended period of inconvenience
c) complete anarchy and looting in the streets
d) falling airplanes
5. Those most concerned about Y2K are:
a) computer programmers
b) elected officials
c) religious cult members
d) paranoid freaks
6. Preparations for Y2K should begin or have begun:
a) in 1969
c) December 1999
d) in Y1K
7. The best way to prepare for Y2K is to:
a) buy a new computer
b) duck and cover
c) stockpile enough food, soap, dehydrated food and chocolate bars to last a year
d) invite all your friends over for a party
8. Y2K, The Movie will star:
a) Bruce Willis
b) Sandra Bullock
c) Bill Gates
d) The Lizard of Fun
("Hey, you wrote that in yourself!" I complain. The Lizard shrugs. "I don’t know what you’re talking about.")
9. We’ll get a preview of the Y2K problems:
a) on September 9, 1999 (9-9-99), when "9999" signals "end" to computers programmed in FORTRAN or COBOL
b) if we reset the date on our computers to December 31, 1999
c) by turning off all our lights, water, gas and computers for a week or two
d) on CNN, beginning right after the Senate impeachment hearings are over
10. The only place not somehow affected by the Y2K bug is:
b) The Pentagon
c) The White House
11. The real party or parties responsible for the Y2K bug are:
a) nearsighted computer programmers
b) corporate conglomerates
c) the media
12. The most important item to have on hand to survive Y2K is:
a) lots of cold, hard cash
b) two weeks’ supply of water (approximately 14 gallons) per person
c) a gun and plenty of ammunition
d) the television remote control
"Right, it’s time to tabulate your answers," says the Lizard, beeping away at its PalmPilot. "Score yourself one for every ‘a’ answer, two for every ‘b’ answer, three for ‘c’ and four for ‘d.’"
"But I don’t know all the answers," I protest. "That’s the problem — nobody seems to really know what’s going to happen."
The Lizard of Fun looks at me like I’ve just suggested we spend the afternoon listening to old records by the artist-who-was-at-the-time-still-known-as-Prince.
"Tally your score," it commands.
What your score says about your millennial personality type:
12-20: You’re an informed, aware and disaster-savvy individual of the dawning Aquarian age. You aren’t betting your Microsoft stock that the Y2K bug is certain to wipe out the world as we know it, but you’re thinking you might do a little planning, just in case. Besides, wouldn’t it be cool if the lights went out for a while and we all got to use funky candles?
21-28: You’re concerned about the millennium, but have faith that the government, computer programmers, Bill Gates and The Force won’t let anything bad happen to you. On the other hand, you know there are no guarantees one way or another, so you’ve started to take quizzes like this one more seriously. And well you should.
29-34: The end is near, and if nobody else survives, at least you know that you’ll live to believe the hype. You have an apocalyptic personality, which means you may notice similarities between yourself and some televangelists, prophets of doom and talk show guests. Rest assured: It’ll probably be at least as bad as you fear — and hope.
35 or more: You’re happily oblivious to the whole issue, which means you should sign up now to get on the guest list for the Lizard of Fun’s New Year’s 2000 party.
Less than 12: You cheated on the quiz. Go back and start again.
"Awww, no fair," I protest, but the Lizard brandishes its tail.
"You want an invite to that party or not, freak girl? Then put down that case of Hershey bars. ... "