As the steel-tip/soft tip debate rages into the next century there is one absolute fact, one indisputable nexus of thought, to which enthusiasts of both veins of our sport can find no argument. That, of course, is that Hillary Clinton should not pose for Playboy.
No, seriously, what darters of all types agree on is that steel tippers do not have to be concerned about whether their boards are Y2K compatible. Yes, the Millennium Bug is a matter of grave concern in the soft-tip darting community. So is the rumor that the Mint is about to recall all 60 trillion quarters currently in circulation and replace them with fifty cent coins.
For those of you who have spent the better part of the past year standing at an oche, drinking beer and listening to "Margaritaville" in a bar somewhere and missed all the news about the Y2K issue, let me boil the thing down to its essentials.
Sometime back in the 1960's when hippies on drugs taught computers how to think, somebody screwed up. Since computer memory was at a premium someone took a shortcut and represented certain types of information in shorthand. The year 1969 became just "69". Alabama was shortened, curiously, to the name of my favorite bartender. And a Kewpee's cheeseburger deluxe with olives, fries and a cherry coke became "The #3 Combo" and the leading cause of weight gain among the freshman class cheerleaders at Flint Central High School, second only to pregnancy.
Not that any of this was reason for concern. The fact that computers in the new millennium might not be able to distinguish the difference between the year Elvis died (supposedly 1977) and Hillary's measurements (36-36-36) didn't much matter. In the 1960's nothing much mattered. Or maybe something did. I don't remember.
But now, with the year 2000 just around the corner, people are beginning to realize that a major catastrophe is in the offing. Studies, very serious studies by leading computer experts, have shown that at exactly midnight, on December 31, 1999, three events are likely to occur:
Millions of party-goers across the world will puke on their shoes.
In a dark, out-of-the-way, location -- just off the Oval Office -- Bill Clinton will consider the steel-tip/soft-tip conundrum and take pleasure by entering it.
It will be exposed that Elvis really is alive and living inside Paul Lim's body.
Pretty serious stuff, eh? You betcha. It's gonna be a first class disaster. And there could also be some computer problems.
Imagine for a moment that you're standing at the line in front of an electronic board with your last dart in your hand and forty remaining. It's 11:59 p.m. on December 31. You've got no alternative but to take out the double top. You focus. Set. Stroke. Release ... and BAM! ... you nail the double twenty! The scoreboard blinks and whistles and spits out quarters. Plays some song about an old acquaintance being forgot and, then, DEDUCTS ONLY TWO POINTS from your score, leaving you with thirty-eight, because it's NOT Y2K COMPATIBLE!
Talk about a disaster!
But then, imagine a similar scenario. You're standing at the line in front of a bristle board looking at the same double top game shot. One dart. In Times Square the big apple ball is just feet from completing it's final descent of the century. You focus. Set. Stroke. Release ... and BAM! ... you stick the double twenty just to the left of the double one wire! Your team mates cheer. The juke box sings. You pull your dart. And the chalker says: "Hold it -- you've got thirty-eight remaining" because he can't see, can't subtract, and is only moments away from puking on his shoes.
And there you have it. As the new millennium dawns, at least momentarily, darters of all types, steel and soft, and Bill Clinton, will be one -- unified in sport, spirit and the task at hand: closing the deal on a set of thirty-eights.
From the Field,