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The fact that Y2K was a media-fueled nothing-burger never sunk in. Each new conspiracy has caught his imagination anew since then.
His neighbor joined us for Thanksgiving one year after her husband had passed away. According to her story, the husband—also an aeronautical engineer who was long retired, like my Dad—died one day after she turned off Bill O’Reilly. She was tired of listening to the angry rhetoric, she said, so she just went in to the TV room and turned it off. An hour later, he was dead. The constant diet of anger and resentment had kept him alive; without it, life lost all meaning.