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Monday, December 24, 2018

The future sucks

In many ways, things have returned to the way they were in 1963.

T he Daily Express is a newspaper in the UK whose content is 98% stories about Brexit and 2% stories about flying saucers and crazy people from the future who came to 2018 to warn us about Brexit.

One intrepid time-traveler insists that Yolanda Renee King, the ten-year-old granddaughter of Martin Luther King, will be president of the United States in 2030. Never mind that this would require a constitutional amendment. Another one claims that India will invent a brain chip in 2029 that connects people to the Internet, which he says will make them six times smarter, giving Internet users, by my calculations, an IQ of 6.

Crackers from the future
A box of crackers from the future

That's obviously a far different Internet than we have now. Connecting up to today's Internet turns a rational, thoughtful person into a cursing, politics-crazed sex maniac who is unable to express him- or herself, because he or she must self-censor to avoid being publicly harassed, doxxed, fired, and beaten up by fanatical Twitter mobs.

If someone from 2018 went back to 1963, they'd sound as crazy as if I told you about that box of crackers I found from 2718. In the future, we'd say, people walk around carrying telephones with them. Robots call them up and try to sell them things they don't need, and the phones occasionally explode in a giant fireball. People will have to remove everything from their pockets, take their belt and shoes off, and hold their arms above their head, hoping their pants don't fall down, before getting on a plane.

In those days, radios used vacuum tubes. If one broke, people would take their vacuum tube to the local grocery store or drug store, where they had a free testing machine, and buy a new one. Most radios had a metal chassis that was connected directly to the electric mains voltage. If you touched the inside of a radio, you could die. My parents gave me several of them, and encouraged me to work on them. And they gave me mercury and acid to play with. Now that I think back, yes, that does seem a bit suspicious.

But in other ways, things have returned to the way they were. True, we no longer have Polish jokes or midget jokes. We no longer have Willys Jeeps, which were all deathtraps. Back then there were Corvairs, whose steering would occasionally go wonky, causing you to swerve into oncoming traffic. When it got above ninety degrees, there were always cars stranded by the side of the road from overheating. Nowadays, cars don't overheat, but electric cars spontaneously explode into an unquenchable fireball for no reason whatsoever, and some are controlled by computers that occasionally go wonky, causing you to swerve into oncoming traffic.

My parents encouraged me to drive one of those Corvairs. Now that I think about it, there were some strange problems with the brakes, too. Then there were a couple of close calls with those lawn darts. And that clock with the glowing radium dial. Hmmm.

In 1963, road workers would place black spherical orbs on the road, about the size of cannonballs, with flame coming out of the top, to warn drivers. Russians were pointing nuclear missiles at us. Now, people hack into digital road signs and we're supposed to hate the Russians because their hackers send tweets that make us vote for orange people, and we have lumbersexuals who wear flannel shirts and blue jeans and never shave, as a way of experiencing their masculinity.

In rural areas, we still call those guys “people.” I have two chainsaws, hundreds of feet of rope, some of those orange polypropylene tree wedges, and hordes of women chasing after me. Unfortunately, they too are all wearing flannel shirts and carrying rope, and they either want to string me up or borrow my chainsaw, or maybe both. For them, not shaving is a way of experiencing their femininity.

And you call what we have now terrorism? Feh. Those Antifas are just pretenders. In my day, we had two Kennedy assassinations, a MLK assassination, Olympic athletes being massacred, and airliners being hijacked and blown up. We had college kids rioting and blowing up buildings on campus, and communist radicals assassinating bankers using homemade armor-piercing artillery.

In the 1970s, clothes were all made of polyester. It never shrunk, never wrinkled, and almost never got dirty. Nowadays you have to buy three sizes too big because everything is cotton and it shrinks so much that if you get caught in the rain while wearing a fitted shirt, you get asphyxiated.

You had to carry a pocket knife to school or you were considered a wuss, and it had to be razor-sharp. We had radioactive dials on our clocks. Shoe stores had X-ray machines to X-ray your feet; drugstores sold chemicals; toy stores sold calcium carbide, which emits explosive acetylene gas, to little kids; carpet was consid­ered a luxury; and kids would walk four miles to school because it was much faster than taking the bus. Now people think wood floors are luxurious, and everything else on that list is illegal.

But some things haven't changed. In those days, just like now, everyone was crazy. I remember one woman running down the street chasing a car and yelling like a crazy person because the car squealed its tires (while thinking: Oh my God, I'm related to that person). In 1963, TVs took twenty seconds to warm up and we only had three channels. Nowadays, TVs are digital, and they still take twenty seconds to warm up, unless your cable box goes off, in which case they take up to five minutes. People watch TV on their telephones, but there are no good channels.

Environmentalists were all telling us we had ten years until an environmental catastrophe. Now, fifty-five years later, environmentalists all tell us we have ten years until an environmental catastrophe. Ah, the comfort of sameness.

In those days there was huge pressure for social conformity, government censorship, and high taxes. Now we have . . . huge pressure for ideological conformity, corporate censorship, and high taxes. Carpet is out and gravel driveways are cool again. The future sucks because it's more like the past every day. We're going backwards when we ought to be moving forward.

dec 24 2018, 6:20 am. last edited dec 26, 2018, 4:59 am

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