Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 and Randy

2012 and Randy

I'll open by admitting I'm older than dirt (everyone knows the only things older
than dirt are Water and Earl Staggs), but I never expected to be around this long. Earl wrote a recent blog post about writing, wherein he admitted he was one of the original Chiselers. And since I've "Wii bowled" with Earl, I can verify that he is still an excellent Chiseler. Must be like riding a bicycle—one never forgets how. But that's not the purpose of this writing. (Maybe another day, Earl.)

What I'm thinking about here are some of the scams I've lived through in my long and
lovely life. My favorite one is the millennium scam of 1999. Remember? The media and a few well-placed people ran the most successful scam of the century (and perhaps, several centuries). They convinced the people of the civilized world that life as we knew it would come crashing to a halt. Our money stored in banks would be lost. Electricity would be shut off. Water would quit flowing to our homes. Gas pumps would quit working. There wouldn't even be celebratory fireworks New Years Eve, because the timers were computer driven. There were so many dire predictions I can't begin to remember them all. Why? All because computers were not programmed to recognize a four-digit year, especially one beginning with 20.
It's laughable now, but not then. I worked as a computer tech for a federal agency that was in full panic mode. My shop was scrambling almost 24/7 running "fixes" on computers. The agency had purchased licenses for software that would "correct" the doomsday problem, although no one could be sure it would work. Took about two minutes to run. Now, I don't know how much it cost, but I'm betting it wasn't cheap.

And I was only one of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, in the government rushing around like that. I spent New Year's Eve, 1999 at my desk, waiting for the worst. At two minutes into 2000, my co-workers and I went to the roof to watch
the fireworks explode over the city and laugh at the foolishness of the past year.
Ever wonder who got rich on that one? What media mogul or upper level politician turned a lowlife rumor into riches? How many software companies doubled, tripled, or quintupled their income for CY 1999? How much government and business money was lost to a perfect scam? Will the truth ever be told?

While I've lived through many scams, the millennia scam was the Grand Pooh Bah of
them all. But there were other good ones. Anyone (except Earl) old enough to remember bomb shelters in the back yard? Anyone watch gas prices go up and down, up-up, but not down-down, up-up-up and only a single down? The price of sugar—and many other commodities?

Those who will sell you a tree to be planted in Upper or Lower Slobofdia, guaranteed to reverse global warming? Oh, so many.

So, I'm glad to still be here in 2012 looking forward to the next global scam, the one that will convince me to ______. Someone will fill in the blank.

And, of course, I'm glad to be here because my next book, HOT ROCKS, will be out from
Midnight Ink during Fall, 2012. In the meantime, for those inclined to look at a thriller, THORNS ON ROSES is available as a paper book and as an E-book, and there are others I wrote you might like. But enough of the BSP.



Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

I for one can verify that Earl Staggs is older'n dirt and is a Chiseler because -- # 1, he told my writers group he was.

# 2, I've played with him and Randy in the Wii Bowling tournament.

I can also verify Thorns on Roses is a fantastical read because I own it, I've read it, and told others about it.

Can also verify Y2K passed without a hitch! -- Cause I'm older'n dirt, too.

Morgan Mandel said...

That's funny! I remember all the dire predictions about the turn of the century. Good grief, it was a while ago!

Luckily, all turned out okay!

Morgan Mandel

Randy Rawls said...

Older than dirt? I thought only your hairdresser knew.
Yeah, I remember when you tried to bribe the Duke of Earl with cake so you could win. He ate the cake then "chiseled".

Randy Rawls said...

I suspect that successful scams inspire more scams. If so, 2012 should be interesting. I mean, look how many there have been since 1999/2000.
Maybe we should stat a contest predicting the next one. I predict it will have to do with either unemployment or the housing market.

Maddy said...

Scams make for great mysteries.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I remember them too and I'm afraid the next scam/hoax will be the December 21, 2012 prediction that the world will end because the planets will align and the Mayan calendar ends on that day. At least I hope it's a hoax. :)

Earl Staggs said...

Randy, I love every thing you write. Always have, ever since I was a little kid. I'll never forget the day I ran to you all excited because I'd invented dirt and water. You said, "Hey, let's mix them together and see what happens." We did and have been slinging it at each other ever since. (All in good fun, of course.)

Write on, everyone. It's going to be a great year!

Mark Troy said...

Randy, congratulations on the Midnight Ink deal. Good writing beats all the scams.

Randy Rawls said...

Yeah, I hadn't considered the Mayan calendar. Wonder who will chash in on that one.
And Earl is right, we have been slinging mud at one another for a long, long time. But, believe me, Earl has the biggest hands.
Thanks, Mark. I can hardly wait for the first Midnight Ink book to be available. Obviously, I have high hopes.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I don't think Y2K was a scam at all.

I have been getting some e-mail since Sandi came home last month about investing in some water aquifer that supposedly is buried under the surface of East Texas. If I invest now, I am guaranteed water no matter how bad the drought gets.

Now, that is a scam.

I put the sender in touch that needs help getting the money out of the country.

I have yet to be thanked by either party and nobody has paid my requested finder's fee of 10k for putting them together. Talk about ungrateful.


Earl Staggs said...

Y'all can stop worrying about the world ending on Dec. 21 this year. That's not why the Mayan calendar ended. The ancient Mayans discovered Randy Rawls' books and simply stopped working to read them.