DECEMBER 31, 1999. In the spirit of Prince's hit song and in great anticipation of a very special New Year's Eve, we decided to bring it big with a special millenium-edition party. We invited neighbors and friends and planned to ring in the new year as it reached each country, marking the hour with food and drinks specific to the region of honor.
I deep-fried tempura. We busted out the blender. (What really good party doesn't have a blender whipping up icy-sweet drinks?) At some point, a propos of nothing, Curt and another guest set their sights on finishing a bottle of sambuca. It made perfect sense at the time! I played "Party Like It's 1999" over and over and over and giggled like a loon. We danced! We sang! We drank! We toasted! We bid farewell to the 20th century and welcomed the 21st century!
Yet as we prepared to welcome the year 2000, we guarded ourselves, and not just because of the fears that all the world's computers would suddenly stop working, sending the electricity off-grid, darkening traffic signals and causing airplanes to plummet earthward (remember your Y2K shelter?). No, the concern was mainly Curt's. He was employed as communications director at a small, community-based hospital in Washington, DC, and when he left work earlier in the day, he was informed that there was one patient who was in early labor. This was potentially significant because hospitals like to brag about having the year's first baby – and this wasn't just any year – it was THE MILLENIUM. And not just any millenium baby, but the nation's capital's!
Curt made note of this fact but, as each sip of Sambuca followed the one before it, quickly shrugged it off. Of all the huge hospitals in and around DC that churn out scores of babies each day, the odds were extremely low that his small hospital would be the one. What were the chances? He did the math — and another shot of Sambuca.
HOWEVER, at two minutes after midnight, the phone rang. The room fell silent. It was the hospital calling. It seemed that the lady who was in labor had indeed delivered her baby at 12:00:30 a.m. Worse, there was another hospital in the city that was also claiming the honor. After some back-and-forth and close examination of fetal monitor strips, it was official: Curt's hospital's mother had edged out the other one by a mere 15 seconds!
Well, that changed the tone of the festivities dramactically. My besotted husband, stumbled lurched sprung into action.
This was Big News, the media was all over it. The Washington Post called next, then the Associated Press. Press releases had to go out, gifts had to be presented and photographs taken. Curt was due immediately at work, 20 miles away.
Herocially, Curt shaved and showered and poured his drunk ass into a suit. The one sober couple at the party (there was one!) offered to drive Curt, and his car, to the hospital in DC, and leave him his car so that he could get home after the ordeal.
Curt's recollection is how exceedingly hard it was for him to type the press release error-free (thank God for smell spell check). Meanwhile, he joined his wild and crazy hospital IT comrades in the hospital's Y2K Command Center (remember Y2K?) for some roast-beef sandwiches and gallons plenty of coffee. On TV, they watched midnight ball drops every hour from the central time zone to Anchorage, AK.
Photographers arrived, gifts were presented, the baby was oohed-and-aahed over. Finally…at 5:00 a.m., my now-not-drunk-but-obviously-headed-towards-a-hangover husband trudged in. He took a brief rest, sobered up, then returned to the hospital later in the afternoon to greet the television media, eager to cover the feel-good story of the day.
The lesson? That's easy. Go easy on the Sambuca. Comedy = tragedy + time. It's hilarious now, but ten years ago? Not so much.
So here's hoping both of you most excellent Soup readers enjoy a wonderful, and significantly less dramatic, entry into the next decade.
After all, this time around, what could possibly go wrong?