The Year Ahead

Posted on January 2, 2020


Life in the Boomer Lane has just completed her holiday festivities, mostly by pretending her home was a phone booth and her family was vintage college students and the trick was to see how many of them could fit into the obviously inadequate space. Mostly, things worked out, even if a couple small children had to cover their bodies at night with wall hangings and towels because there weren’t enough blankets, and showering in a house with antiquated plumbing was reminicient of being on Mykonos in 1970 when the island simply ran out of water.

Now it is January 2 and the real 2020 has officially begun. LBL is ready to roll up her sleeves and tackle any number of pressing issues, mostly involving how she was able to so easily and dramatically spend a lot of time consuming things like Snickers and sugar cookies made by toddlers, instead of anything that could be called an actual food product.

She thought it would be of benefit to Loyal Readers to predict the year ahead, based on nothing more than her uncanny ability to have survived the year just past. She planned to predict the following: Half the country would continue to be appalled by the other half, while the handful of people who had no opinion would find something else to be appalled about. Climate change would be appalled by all of us. Trump would either be re-elected or not, giving one half of the country a good reason to predict the end of human life as we know it. The climate would chuckle that humans actually believed they had that much power. Half the population would find new ways to meditate/exercise/fast/yoga their way through their days, diligently keeping track of their steps and water intake. The other half would achieve the same level of health and zen by shopping at the new mega mall in New Jersey, located where mafia guys used to be conveniently buried.

But all that is alarmingly predictable. So, instead, LBL took a look back, to see what humanoids in times past predicted about 2020. Bear in mind that Trump was, during those years, still a whiny little star in the sky, complaining that all the other stars were fake and hated him. Those human predictors would have had no idea that 2020 would be defined by an overly large Trump squatting on all of our collective faces.

In 1911, a doctor at the Royal College of Physicians in London predicted that by 2020, humans would only have one big toe. Thinking about it, though, she sees that pedicures would be a lot less expensive, and shoes a bit more comfortable.

In 1900,  John Elfreth Watkins Jr., the curator of mechanical technology at the Smithsonian Institution, predicted that “there will be no C, X, or Q in our everyday alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary.” LBL has no idea what, exactly, Watkins had against those specific letters. She, herself, has never quite trusted the letter ‘x” but she wouldn’t go as far as eliminating it. And, beside, calling “X Men” “Eggs Men” wouldn’t be quite as effective.

Others predicted that buttons and zippers would become a thing of the past. Apes would be servants. Our homes and everything in them would be made of steel. Women would have superhuman strength and be Amazon-like. People would live in flying houses. Everyone would be vegetarian. Communication would be through telepathy.

The 1900 World’s Fair wisely predicted the almost total automation of society, communication via video chat and education via technology. On the other hand, they also predicted flying firefighters with batwings, domesticated whales used as transportation, and robot lipstick applicators.

Yet not one person over time could predict the cult of celebrity worship, the rise of social media or the popularity of dating apps. Like the metamorphasis of the Republican party, evangelical Christianity, and the size of women’s posteriors, they have snuck up on all of us, while we had our attention focused elsewhere.

So here’s to 2020. The only guaranteed prediction is bigger, bolder, brasher, more bulbous. If it all gets too much for you, focus on being grateful that you aren’t sleeping on a steel mattress or trying to keep your clothes on without buttons or zippers.

Posted in: humor, satire