By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Much like the nuclear arms race of the 1950s, the widespread uncertainty surrounding Y2K is causing reasonable people to disagree about the dangers of a programming bug. It has also led a growing minority to adopt a bomb-shelter mentality--unplug the PC, settle in, and stock up. Of this contingent, some no doubt haunt the social fringes--paranoid survivalists, religious zealots, armed patriots. But there are also plenty of everyday citizens who see the speculation as a catalyst for civic unity. It is these people, Proudfit believes, who will be most attracted to Future Foods Inc.
Karen Anderson, author of 10 Things Every Woman Must Do Now to Keep Her Family Safe, seconds the notion. She is encouraging her readers to check out Proudfit's casserole, not only because of its nutritional value, but because she figures the company isn't in it just to turn a quick buck. "I'm very excited about an organization I've found that I think is, literally, doing a world of good," Anderson tells those who visit her Web site, www.y2kwomen.com. "A portion of the proceeds of each sale goes to support FMSC to feed starving children. So in my opinion there is a double bonus of meeting needs right now and meeting needs in the not too distant future!"
When Proudfit hears about the fellow in Oregon who sold those two houses, his brow furrows. Hysteria, he says, will be the end of us. "Look, if I told you there was a big bump in the road a few miles from here, you'd be on the lookout. You'd be prepared. That's what I think Y2K will be--a bump," he says, the preacher in him stirring. "People should not go overboard. We should call that person and tell him, 'Look, just prepare for a hiccup. Don't panic.'"
In the end, though, it's a good guess Proudfit won't dial up the Pacific coast. Not only because doing so isn't likely to change the guy's mind, but because it would be bad for business.
After finishing breakfast at the Country Kitchen, Dick picks up the tab and the Proudfit family heads for the exit. The next flock of hungry customers waits in the lobby after the 11:00 a.m. service at Crystal Evangelical Church. The women are hugging. The men are trading handshakes. Randall Cunningham's sainthood seems safe for another week. Meanwhile, Proudfit is engaged in conversation about a story that ran on Minnesota Public Radio this morning as he drove to church. It seems China is starting to hunker down for Y2K. The government is recommending that its citizenry begin stockpiling essentials--just in case. China! "Can you believe it?" he asks, already crunching the numbers in his mind. "This thing is just beyond all reality."
Then Proudfit shakes his head, and smiles. Another day closer, another coincidence.
Editor's Note: For an account of Proudfit's visit to the Y2K expo in Spokane, Wash., see The Inlander's "A Millennial Christmas Carol" by Larry Shook (12/16/98).