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Two Digits for a Date - - - Photo of 20 Mile Beach, Moloka`i, Hawai`i, one of Hawaii's most beautiful and secluded beaches, great for snorkeling or lounging under the shady palms. - - - Original photo copyright Lisa Devlin - - - Licensed through iStockphoto.com
Two Digits for a Date

A song about the Y2K problem
sung to the tune of 'Gilligan's Island'

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
Of the doom that is our fate.
That started when programmers used
Two digits for a date.
Two digits for a date.

Main memory was smaller then;
Hard disks were smaller, too.
'Four digits are extravagant,
So let's get by with two.
So let's get by with two.'

'This works through 1999,'
The programmers did say.
'Unless we rewrite before that
It all will go away.
It all will go away.'

But Management had not a clue:
'It works fine now, you bet!
A rewrite is a straight expense;
We won't do it just yet.
We won't do it just yet.'

Now when 2000 rolls around
It all goes straight to hell,
For zero's less than ninety-nine,
As anyone can tell.
As anyone can tell.

The mail won't bring your pension check
It won't be sent to you
When you're no longer sixty-eight,
But minus thirty-two.
But minus thirty-two.

The problems we're about to face
Are frightening, it's for sure.
And reading every line of code is
The only certain cure.
The only certain cure.

[key change, big finish]

There's not much time,
There's too much code.
(And Cobol-coders, few)
When the century is finished soon,
We may be finished, too.
We may be finished, too.

eight thousand years from now I hope
That things weren't left too late,
And no one the is lamenting
Four digits for a date.


For part of my life, I was intimately involved in the Y2K problem. I worked on several Y2K projects, did consulting about the Y2K problem and spoke around the country, and a bit overseas, about the Y2K problem. This particular item is from that era.

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This page created:
Wed, 16.Aug.2000

Last updated:
16:17, Sat, 10.May.2014

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