Thursday, January 06, 2000

mildew prognostications

Some people, when they want to know the future, consult the stars. Others shuffle a deck of Tarot cards, and still others have their palms read.

Not me. When my curiosity about the new millennium got the better of me recently, I turned to the mildew that has started to grow on the walls of our shower at home, and studied it to divine the course the future will take.

Among my discoveries were the winning numbers to New Jersey's Powerball lottery, a remarkable likeness of Andy Kaufman, the results of the upcoming presidential election, and much more.

So, without further ado, here is what the next century holds for us all. Remember, you read it here first.

2000. Yosemite Sam wins the presidency on Nov. 7 as the result of a protest vote by Americans who want real candidates for a change. The U.S. Supreme Court orders all votes for "President Horny Toads" stricken, and gives the office to runner-up Tinky Winky.

2001. The Society for Anal Retentive Behavior celebrates the start of the new millennium, carefully explaining that 2000 wasn't really the start of the millennium because there was no Year 0. No one else cares.

2003. Religious activist-turned-politician Gary Bauer has a brain aneurysm when several gay- and women's-rights groups straightfacedly endorse his latest bid for presidency, calling him "a man of vision -- just what America needs for the 21st century."

2008. Former President Bill Clinton, in a statement to The NY Journal News, angrily declares, "I did not have an affair with that cleaning lady."

2012. The Titanic II, designed to replicate the original ocean liner in every aspect, disappoints everyone by not striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage. In order to keep his book deal, however, the captain of the boat arranges for a submarine from Finland to torpedo the liner just before it reaches New York.

2016. When some enterprising business owners begin shuttle runs to a new Hilton hotel on the moon for tourist vacations, national Republican and Democratic leaders alike rush to the nearest travel agency to buy each other one-way tickets. Voter turnout quadruples within three years.

2019. Former President Bill Clinton, in a statement delivered from his room at the Happy Acres Retirement Home, angrily declares, "I did not have an affair with the nurse who changes my bedpan."

2021. Somerset Valley Players, a theater based in Neshanic Station, N.J., becomes the third New Jersey theater to win the coveted Tony Award, for its innovative production of the little-known "Batman" musical.

2026. A group of animal-rights activists seize control of an entire barn for 53 tension-filled days. The confrontation finally resolves when government troops burst through one of the walls, knocking down a Coleman lantern and starting a fire that barbecues all the cows.

2032. Developers pave over the last available square inch in New Jersey and set their eyes on New England and rural Pennsylvania.

2037. The Packet Group of newspapers in Princeton, N.J., buys The New York Times, and makes the Hillsborough Beacon and The Manville News its new flagship papers.

2038. Disappointed survivalists abandon their bomb shelters and return to society after the Year 2038 arrives with only minor complications arising from the Y2038 computer bug. Ironically, the next day there is a nuclear attack and none of them reach their shelters in time.

2040. Developer U.S. Home scales back its controversial development The Greenbriar at Mill Lane to include only 2,000 living units. Elected officials promise a resolution to the 50-year-old controversy will be accomplished "soon."

2044. The smallest country in the world splits into two smaller countries when leaders in the reigning military junta disagree over whether the potatoes have enough salt.

2057. Hurricane Archibald hits the East Coast, and causes floods that decimate every municipality from Long Island, N.Y., down to Raleigh, N.C. Developers deny that flooding was exacerbated by excessive building, and instead blame the disaster on an unusually high tide.

2061. A particularly nasty flu virus wipes out all the chickens in the world. Yum Foods abandons its entire KFC chain, but not until after the chain jacks prices to $30 a piece because of the bird's new status as a delicacy.

2063. A cult forms in Hillsborough, N.J., worshipping the embalmed head of legendary freelance journalist Minx McCloud.

2065. Developer U.S. Home denies stonewalling the Hillsborough Planning Board as it submits a new application for 3,104 living units. Elected officials assure voters that a resolution is "in the works."

2070. An experiment with tachyons at Brookhaven National Laboratory accidentally causes time to run backward, with the unforeseen consequence that disco becomes popular again. An angry mob storms the lab and, unable to find the responsible scientists, eats all the yellow Zingers in the snack machines.

2075. Humanity's first colony on Mars comes to an unfortunate and untimely end when someone opens a window "to get a little fresh air."

2092. Experts in the computer industry, concerned about falling profits, start to make noise about the "Y2.1K bug."

2097. Hillsborough, N.J., planners finally approve the controversial Greenbriar development, allowing developer U.S. Home to build 2,876 units in ten 23-story buildings and calling it "a victory for open space in Hillsborough."

2098. James Cameron III wins 43 Academy Awards for his movie "Titanic II," which fortunately does not star either Kate Winslet or Leonardo DiCaprio, or anyone who looks remotely like them.

2099. A spry Dick Clark is one of dozens killed during a New Year's Eve party in Times Square when the dropping ball breaks off the pole and plows through the crowds.

2100. Every one of these predictions having come true, there is a renewed interest in the writings of David Learn and in the science of divination through reading mildew. The so-called Wall of Futures, however, is destroyed through an unfortunate accident involving a sponge and a bottle of bathroom cleaner.

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