SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
Well, it’s that time of year again. Specifically, it’s time to take stock, lick our wounds, complain, and make resolutions we know we’ll never keep.
In other words, Happy New Year, everybody.
I don’t see much point in making resolutions, which are all too similar to UFO’s, the Bermuda Triangle, and political promises. That is, there’s no evidence they’ll ever be proven to be real. I’ll lose weight, I’ll keep the house cleaner, I’ll find Michael Jackson’s original face – it’s all too unlikely.
Then there are New Year’s wishes, which also tend to be overreaching. World Peace? That’s probably the most common wish, and it’s a good one in theory. But, while the naive really believe all the nations of the world could simply destroy their weapons and disband their armies, it’s the dictator who actually hopes for it. The naïve believe, if everyone would simply refuse to fight, peace would be assured. The dictator hopes everyone will listen to the naïve – because he knows he can find enough bad guys to fight for him. Then, as long as everyone does exactly as he says, there will be no more fighting.
I suppose that falls into the category of “be careful what you wish for”.
Not that there isn’t a place for New Year’s wishes. Heck, I wish for things all the time: peace, understanding, publication, money, women, zero calorie chocolate. But wishing for something without being willing to work for it is like taking a trip to Hawaii by closing your eyes, and assuming you’ll be there when you open them. Not that I haven’t tried that.
Then there are New Year’s predictions. Those can be much more realistic, as long as you’re willing to be appropriately vague. Let’s take a look at the predictions I made at this time last year, and see how I did:
“An earthquake will cause destruction somewhere in the world.” Check.
“A celebrity will be arrested.” Got it.
“I’ll spend money on something that I’ll later regret buying.” Three in a row.
“A hurricane will hit a coast and cause widespread destruction.” On that one, I think I should get extra credit for being right and then some.
“A famous couple will get divorced.” Check and check.
“Something in my house will break.” Okay, that’s a gimmie.
“There’ll be a scandal involving a politician.” Shocking, ain’t it?
“Everything bad will be blamed on global warming.” This one is iffy, because to my knowledge no one has yet found a connection between global warming and reality television. However, the experts have managed to blame frigid winter storms on global warming, so I think this one should count in the “correct” category.
Speaking of television: “The entertainment industry will get even more stupid and disgusting in their quest to ‘give the people what they want’.” Every year people say it can’t get any worse, and every year there’s something new: Jerry Springer, “professional” wrestling, reality television … The next trend is likely to be forgotten celebrities sharing a home with Jerry Springer while training to become professional wrestlers.
Don’t let that get out; one of the networks will scoop it right up.
“Someone will win huge amounts of money in a lawsuit, when they should have gotten slapped for filing it in the first place.” Sigh. Check.
“Liberals will call conservatives unfeeling jerks. Conservatives will call liberals naive idiots. Both will call moderates indecisive weenies. Moderates will run from both major political parties as fast as they can, and no one will be able to figure out why.” Yep.
“Political candidates will make promises anyone with half a brain (which leaves out political candidates) knows they can’t keep.” There’s always an election somewhere, so the rightness of this one changes only in degrees. Next year there are likely to be a lot of degrees.
“My daughters will talk me into spending money I don’t have.” I don’t even ask why anymore, I just load stuff into my car and head for the pawn shop.
“Someone will write a book connecting all the bad things that happen in the world into one vast conspiracy, and people will actually buy it.” I meant they’ll buy both the book and the theory.
“Taxes will rise, and nobody will be able to figure out where the money went.” I suppose that one’s such a given that I only deserve half credit.
“The news media will either ignore every good thing that happens in the world, or manage to find a black cloud behind the silver lining.” In other news, officials worried that free and peaceful elections in Iraq would make the people feel too free.
“People will completely screw up their priorities.” Okay, so that’s a catch-all.
“Just as some people will get what they don’t deserve, others will be treated much better than they deserve.” I realize it would be insane that anyone at all would worry about how Saddam Hussein is being treated, but … oh, wait. (I wrote that long before Saddam alleged that Americans had tortured him. Why shouldn’t we believe him? He’s got such a track record of openness and honesty.)
So, those are the predictions I made in December, 2004. I sealed them in a mayonnaise dish under Funk & Wagnall’s front porch, where they were guarded by two rabid hound dogs and a manic depressive midget, so I think it’s safe to say there was no cheating involved.
In fact, after scoring 100% this year, I think I’ll just throw those predictions back in the jar and say the same thing will happen in 2006. Don’t call me amazing – just send money, because I predict I’ll need it.