While browsing through some dust-covered
archival material in the recesses of the Roman Section of the British Museum, a researcher
recently came across a tattered bit of parchment. After some effort he translated it and
found that it was a letter from a man called Plutonius with the title of "magister
fastorium", or keeper of the calendar, to one Cassius. It was dated, strangely
enough, 2 BC, November 24 or 2000 years ago today. The text of the message follows:
September 30, 1BC
Are you still
working on the Y zero K problem? This change from BC to AD is giving us a lot of headaches
and we haven't much time left. I don't know how people will cope with working the wrong
way around. Having been working happily downwards forever, now we have to start thinking
upwards. You would think that someone would have thought of it earlier and not left it to
us to sort it all out at this last minute. I spoke to Caesar the other evening. He was
livid that Julius hadn't done something about it when he was sorting out the calendar. He
said he could see why Brutus turned nasty.
We called in the
consulting astrologers, but they simply said that continuing downwards using minus BC
won't work. As usual, the consultants charged a fortune for doing nothing useful. As for
myself, I just can't see the sand in an hour glass flowing upwards. We have heard that
there are three wise men in the East who have been working on the problem, but
unfortunately they won't arrive until it's all over.
Some say the world
will cease to exist at the moment of transition. Anyway we are still continuing to work on
this blasted Y zero K problem and will send you a parchment if anything further develops.