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2000 `VIRUS' MAY REVIVE OLD GHOSTS

WIPE OUT: When the "millennium virus" hits us all full out, it apparently is going to be most interesting, not to mention highly frus-trat-ing.

You all know, of course, the millennium virus is not a virus at all but the built-in paralysis that will occur when computers get to the year 2000 and do not find the programming in place that allows them to operate past that date. Rebooting will occur.According to some of the stories we've read, Social Security checks will get bounced out, interest calculations will get messed up and computers everywhere will reign in terror.

Ghosts of the past century will come back to haunt us:

The Internal Revenue Service system could become seriously flawed. (Like, what's new there?)

Student loans could start showing up as unpaid. That wouldn't be new, either, would it?

Some of those magazine subscriptions you finally got canceled will come back to life.

The billing war you finally won with the department store may have to be fought all over again.

The address change you filed in 1967 with the Postal Service might finally take effect.

Your teenagers may cease to exist. Not a bad deal.

You may be married when you thought you were divorced or divorced when you thought you'd remarried.

Nixon could still be president.

The federal budget deficit could vanish into thin air.

And who knows, Joe Waldholtz might have money in the bank.

Computer games: Speaking of computers . . . We heard a Microsoft joke recently.

Question: How many Microsoft engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: None. They just change the standard to dark.

Friends in low places: Congressman Bill Orton's press secretary called us to object to our item about some high school kids from Independence High who felt brushed off when they visited Washington this spring.

"That's not how it happened," said Dave Lemon. "The congressman came out of committee meeting although he was right in the middle of budget sessions and had to made a special effort to come back up to where they were."

Lemon said the kids had been forewarned about the hectic schedule the congressman has to manage, but "he always has time for groups from Utah."

Orton himself was going to call us, but we didn't hear from him.

Meanwhile, Orton press people were trying to do damage control at the Independence High School. We got a call from the high school after it received a call from Lemon wondering if the kids got the politicians switched.

Gee . . . guess that's possible. They do all tend to look alike. And isn't it typical of politicians to muddle an issue?

Court costs: In Orem, the City Council was getting briefed on the need for more help in the city attorney's office.

Paul Johnson, the current city attorney, was explaining that law clerks can do much of the grunt work and research that takes up valuable time for the full-time lawyers.

"This will leave our attorneys free," Johnson was saying when City Councilman Timothy Christensen, who is a partner in a CPA firm, chimed in, "We all know attorneys are never free!"

Johnson was quick on the comeback. "Neither are accountants!"