a Planet Waves special edition...
By ERIC FRANCIS
As an astrologer, I felt it was my duty to make some predictions about what would, like, happen in the future. How will society change in this exciting time in history? What new bullshit will be subjected to?
In my never-ending Quest for Truth, I have consulted my crystal ball, several astrology charts, the New York Post horoscope, six different Tarot decks and five different psychic hotlines, and what follows is what I have determined will in fact happen. From the looks of things, it's also clear that I will be asked to make repeated talk show appearances to enlighten the population about the meaning of these exciting developments and events, which will support my book tour, my ego and my private, $2500-per-hour consulting practice (with special discounts for working moms).
If you thought the second millennium was a little over-the-top, get a load of this.
The Impeachment Channel. In order to keep up with the new, exciting trend toward impeachment started in 1998 with the attempted removal of Alex von Stubble as dog catcher in the town of Wilsonville, Arkansas after he yelled at an elderly poodle named Grace, by 2001 there will be a special cable channel dedicated 24-hours a day to broadcasting such proceedings. This channel would televise -- live, in Dolby stereo, of course -- not only the removal proceedings for judges, presidents, kings, queens and vassals, it would cover things like the trials of PTA presidents, bowling team captains and college newspaper editors who need to be removed from office for their own good.
Disposable Clothing. By the year 2005, people will wear their clothing once, and then throw it into a recycling bin. This will help the environment by cutting down on the use of dry cleaning fluid. Some people concerned with cleanliness could change several times a day. Armani Disposables, or affectionately, "Armani Dis," would have a product line starting at $1000 for a small throw-away garment. You could call them "instasuits," but that apparently will be for something else.
Instasuits. The trend toward litigation is showing no signs of abating here in the late 20th century, and the only solution to the log-jam in the courts will be to deal with everything on computer. I predict that by 2007, there will be Instasuit machines installed on every street corner and in every post office, in which you can swipe a credit card and take immediate action rather than just wishing or threatening. Let's say you get into a car accident or are involved in a wild shooting incident. Before anyone had even left the scene, you could go straight to the Instasuit and enter the basic facts of the case, and use a built-in Net connection to research case law. You would push a button and the complaint would be filed with the nearest court, while the machine spit out a certified copy to serve on the defendant, which you could do right on the spot.
Online Litigation. Along a similar vein, I predict that by 2009, major corporations will put up web pages through which you can sue them directly, such as www.Sue-GE.com. You will go to the web page, and click a bunch of links, enter the facts, make some arguments, and LITIGATE, baby. It would be like a modern-urban-cyber-white-shoe-street-brawl. Enter an amount for which you want to sue, and then "Click Here" to send your case to a virtual jury, which would be the simulated minds of twelve of your peers doing an artificial intelligence number that would dazzle Kenneth Starr. In a few moments, you would have a virtual verdict, and if you won an award, the amount would be credited directly to your cash card. Go to keyword: SUE.
Genetic Engineering Botch-Ups. A proverbial blind man could see this one coming, but, unlike other doomsayers, I predict that a genetically engineered plant will mate with a genetically engineered animal, which will produce an abominable cross between a sheep and a flax seed.
New Improvements in Vehicle and Traffic Law. Starting in 2002, everyone who gets a driver license will start off with five points. Akin to the notion of original sin, these points will be to make up for all the times people roll through stop signs, have bad wiper blades, or run out of gas, and don't get caught. In addition, the license will become a credit card. Notice that most of them already have one of those magnetic stripes on the back. When you get pulled over by the officer, you can plead guilty on the spot to the police officer, who will also carry a judge's badge. His Honor will swipe your license through a Card Service machine, and you can conveniently pay up then and there. You will also be able to make donations to the PBA and the local ambulance corps as part of the process. Additionally, by 2004, passengers, including small children, will be subject to receiving tickets if the officer determines that there is reason to believe that the traffic violation involved a conspiracy.
Aspartame Big-Big News. On a Tuesday some time in the first decade of the third millennium, a major study will reveal that aspartame (sold under the brand name implying that it is both Nutritious and Sweet) is very very very bad for you, terrifying everyone with reports that it turns into toxic alcohol and then formaldehyde in your body, till another study miraculously comes out right after saying it is very very very good for you, and that when you die, you won't even need embalming.
More Corporate Takeovers. In 2006, America Online will buy Sony. In 2024, AOL will merge with Disney and in 2029, AOL-Disney will purchase Microsoft, General Electric and a hamburger at McDonald's. Bill Gates will be forced to wear a Mousketeer hat to work every day as punishment for everything; his full-time job will be answering Instant Messages. (Gates's trusty Macintosh will be entered into the Smithsonian the same year).
Sex Ban. Due to the popularity of the Internet, actual sex will become increasingly rare, by 2628, people will have forgotten what it is, and by 2634, "intercourse" will mean having a conversation. Shortly after, saying or doing "it" will be considered a crime for anyone who remembers what "it" is; and "it" will also be considered unethical to be nude. In 2687, a presidential candidate will be knocked out of the race when it was determined that he was once naked as a child.
The Death Channel. Broadcasting 24-hours a day by 2005, this will be a channel dedicated to informing people about various kinds of killing, and death in general. It will include live executions, coverage of little-known funerals, visits to slaughter houses, live coverage of street battles, Mafia assassinations, interviews with grave diggers, special programs about the county medical examiner's career, documentaries about the coffin business, plus coverage of Jack Kevorkian and other truly exciting things.
Sex Co-ops. Not Sex Cops, Sex Co-ops. Modeled after ever-popular food co-ops, these would be a kind of groovy, not-for-profit brothel staffed by neighborhood volunteers. It would be a place for good, wholesome sex. Members could get 10% off, however, it would best be free.
Oxygen dispensers on street corners. Back in the 1960s, I predicted that by 1996 everyone would be running around sipping from little water bottles all the time, and everyone said I was crazy. Well, I was right. Now, I am predicting that by the next '60s, there will be oxygen dispensers on street corners, which will charge $100 for five minutes of clean air. However, most city people will dash around toting personal air tanks with purified, flavored inhalation matter imported from places like Vermont and New Jersey, and snort from those when it's necessary to actually breathe.
Pro-virus Software. While it's illegal to make a computer virus, the Free Speech Theory holds that it's legal to sell the software that makes the viruses. This will be the wild software rage of the early part of the later-middle-25th century. Meanwhile, it will be revealed that a company called Macrosoft Unlimited wrote and distributed the Y2K bug, which was discovered after the CD for "Y2K version 2.8" was discovered one afternoon in the dawn of the 22nd century.
Question Mark Banned. In 2001, Congress will pass legislation prohibiting use of the question mark. Unlike most laws, from which Congress is exempt, this one will actually cover them.
Marriage Overruled by Supreme Court. In 2088, a woman will sue for divorce from her fat-cat, psychologically abusive spouse in the federal court system, arguing that marriage is unconstitutional because of the 13th Amendment to the federal constitution, which prohibits slavery. She will shock the world and win her case by a 5-4 margin, and all marriages in the United States will be considered a legal nullity as a result, therefore making everyone single.
Over-the-Counter Surgery Kits. More and more medical treatments will become available without a doctor's prescription, including a self-administered, do-it-yourself heart bypass kit, which will be put on the market in 2003. By 2005, there will be a home brain surgery kit, and by 2009, the FDA will approve a liver transplant kit. Fresh livers will be available for $38,000 by mail order. In 2011, it will be discovered that yak livers were being passed off on the black market as human organs, and that the people who got them were doing fine.
Arrest Yourself. By 2727, police budgets will finally be cut, and you will have to arrest yourself after committing any kind of crime, infraction, misdemeanor, felony, or other wrongdoing. If you commit a crime and do not arrest yourself after committing it, you will then have to arrest yourself for both resisting arrest and failure to arrest, because technically you did both.
New Nutrients. In 2333, two leading pharmaceutical firms will market an extremely popular dietary supplement including lead, dioxin, plutonium, PCBs, pesticides, defoliants, mercury and Nutrasweet, after scientific studies confirm that they are all good for you. ++