Y2K Bug Zipper Hysteria

Anyone else remember the Y2K Zipper conspiracy theory? These little buggy Y2K zipper pulls are mischievously unzipping an endless glowing motherboard.

The colors for this pattern are inspired by the fruity iMac colors of 1999 and 2000 (tangerine, strawberry, lime, blueberry, grape and the classic Bondi Blue) as well as video games from the year like Chu Chu Rocket.

As the new century approached, the news was flooded with stories about the effort to keep all the world’s computers from suddenly ceasing to function due to the “Y2K Bug,” which would be unleashed by the necessary change from two-digit to four-digit dates. (Up to that point, the date “74” could only mean “1974” to a computer, since they were inventions of the 20th century themselves and were programmed according with the way people at that time talked about years “I got my first real six string, bought it at the five and dime, I played it ‘til my fingers bled, was the summer of ‘69”…) There was a fear that there could even be more sinister cyberattacks which would exploit the date-related weakness from…who knows where…?  

No one was quite sure how the zippers were going to be implicated in the plot to overthrow the existing order, but because something like half of the world’s zippers have a Y and two K letters on them (look at yours and see!), there was a rumor that they MIGHT be all mixed up in it.  The YKK zippers actually come from the excellent Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha (YKK Fastenings Corporation) in Japan, and are so omnipresent because they are of such high quality and reliability. Whew!  

Where were you at the turn of the century? I was in a crowd at Gasworks Park in Seattle, and remember vividly that after the countdown to midnight, some wag yelled. “we’re still ALIVE!!!!!” and everyone burst into laughter. 🙂

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