A black President of the United States in 2008 – I never would have predicted that. Not even in 2007.
Here’s how smart I am. I kept gravely and somewhat smugly insisting that the Democrats’ only hope in 2008 was John Edwards. Not because I didn’t personally like Hilary or Obama, but because I just didn’t think we had it in us. I didn’t think we could overcome the prejudices of huge swaths of the population.
Nope, sorry, I said. Nobody’s going to beat the Republicans but a white guy, we’re just all going to have to accept it. It’s not time yet. Good thing for the Democrats, they weren’t listening to me.
Cell phones replacing ash trays in bars – didn’t see that coming either. They pretty effectively replaced newspapers, too – I don’t see people in bars reading newspapers anymore. They’re reading the news on their phones.
I probably should have seen the spectacular decline in the quality of Wendy’s hamburgers, but I didn’t. Wendy’s hamburgers used to overlap the bun by an inch or two, even the singles. They used to cost more, but they were worth it.
Now almost all fast food is pretty gross, Wendy’s included. My current favorite fast food joint is White Castle – no way I saw that coming.
The whole wearing your pants around your thighs so your boxers are showing – didn’t see it coming when it first arrived, and certainly didn’t see its staying power. Just the other day I saw a guy on Oakland Park strutting down the street like that, a grown man. With a tough look on his face too – walking with your pants down is badass, apparently. Who’d have thunk it?
Socks with toes. Good idea. I didn’t see them coming, but that’s not a technological innovation or anything. What the hell took so long with those?
Robert Downey Jr’s spectacular comeback. The crash and burn of megastar Mel Gibson – the guy can barely find work anymore, outside of Crazy Town.
The sad state of reality television – I didn’t see it coming, but Ray Bradbury did. In Farenheit 451, that’s where television has gone. Normal people having meaningless conversations that go on and on, and pulling great ratings across the board. I don’t know what I thought would happen to television, but I never would have guessed the answer – everything.
Now television is like a library. Every shade of the intellectual spectrum is covered. You can sit down and watch ten hours of television now and wind up smarter than you were when you started, if you watch the right channels. You can end up knowing all kinds of stuff. In a million years I wouldn’t have guessed that.
When I was a kid, it was PBS and occasionally Wild Kingdom on CBS, and that was it. Soap operas, news, sitcoms, and cop shows, take your pick. I maybe believed that television would turn into the Holodeck, but I didn’t predict five hundred channels, with shows for every conceivable interest from truck driving to thrift store shopping to cupcaking (hell yes, that’s a word).
Me, stomping around turning off light switches and barking at three kids about chores and grades and locking the front door – for some reason, didn’t see that coming. I was thinking, cowboy astronaut monster hunter, most likely with some kind of space harem – I have no idea what happened.
The news. The news turning into whatever the hell that’s supposed to be, on my screen across the room. If I saw the modern news in a snarky, satirical film fifteen years ago, I would think that was a bit much. I wouldn’t believe that actual news could get so box-of-rocks stupid. But there it is, a bunch of hookers and clowns pointing and laughing at us like howler monkeys. Even they can’t believe we’re watching them.
Nobody growing freakish eye stalks from all that laser eye surgery in the nineties – I really didn’t see that coming. I almost couldn’t wait. You go in and have Dr. Nick Riviera from the Simpsons shoot lasers in your eyes – that’s just asking for freakish eye stalks. Or at least it seemed to be. Guess it turned out to be shockingly safe. Who knew?
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – not very funny, but pretty surprising. You really need to google that, I can’t stress it enough. Again, if I saw it in a movie, I would have rolled my eyes at the absurdity of it. I’d have thought, is there anything those tree hugging bunny kissers won’t try to pull?
But if you convinced me that it really would happen, you’d have a really hard time convincing me that it would only very rarely make the news. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess – when are we ever looking at the middle of the Pacific Ocean?
Phoning in the blog once in a while, when I’m low on time – that I think I predicted early on. It’s going to happen sometimes. At least you didn’t have to hear about my cat.