I’ve never been much of a whimsical guy, prone to flights of fantasy or grandeur or anything overtly complicated like that. Most of my shirts are a singular, drab color and rarely adorned with things like stripes or flashy designs (unless we’re talking plaid, which is a new dimension of boring Caucasianivity which I happily embellish [seriously, I’m your dad]).
But nothing too high-falutin’, for me, thanks. I have plenty of friends in the corporate arena who, despite their numerous successes and triumphs, would want nothing more than to liquidate all of their assets into fishing worms and enough lumber to build their own cabin and retreat there until the apocalypse. I am sympathetic to their plight, but attract far too many mosquitoes for such an excursion.
Despite my lack of imagination, the mind – however vacant – does wander from time to time.
Technology is what it always has been: the manifestations of someone’s imaginative, innovative, and dedicated mental faculties, faculties that waved bye-bye to me many moons ago.
That being said, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to attempt, however feebly, to envision what the future of humanity and civilization will look like in the years ahead. Some of us, and by “us” I mean myself, almost exclusively, boast a mental lethargy hitherto unrecorded in modern history. Crossword puzzles make my head spin to the point of nausea, and that Sudoku business makes me collapse into a vomit-induced coma. While this proud amount of sheer laziness has become a cherished trademark for me (I’m lovingly known only as “Sweatpants” by the regulars at the local bars, cafes, hospitals, churches, mini-malls, and government buildings), it yields an unexpected result: fantasy begats expectations.
There’s no better example of this than in the Academy Award winning film, Back to the Future II. For anyone in the contemporary adult age bracket (13-55 or so years old, depending on coolness of the 13 year old’s parents or the coolness of the 55 year old) this is the best film ever created in the history of film making.
It is a cinematic juggernaut. If you don’t care for the series, Christopher Lloyd, or vehicles made entirely out of aluminum, I suggest you stop reading immediately and find the nearest functional garbage disposal to jump into.
The most developed, exciting, and ultimately only acceptable future for me was the one depicted in BTF2. The film, for those of you suffering from Alzheimer’s, alcoholism or some other form of doctor-prescribed/acceptable memory loss, depicts Marty McFly, Dr. Emmitt “Doc” Brown and McFly’s smoking hot yet rather forgettable girlfriend traveling to the year 2015 to help McFly and what’s-her-bleached-jean’s future children from untold misfortunes. It showed hovercrafts, self-drying jackets, way out and wacky clothing, a bar where TVs talked right at you and flying cars: all of the amenities that a sane person would want in their lives were they living 30 years away from the mid-eighties.
At that point, for me, the bar was pretty much set, lofty as it may have been. Hoverboards? Floating back braces? Self-velcroing shoes?: Year 2015, here I come!
Sadly, the only thing to make it here from that golden age was debit cards. Remember when the bassist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers got old Marty in trouble and his boss came on and kinda-racistly-bellowed “MCFRY!!!” I laughed, too. It’s okay.
But holograms ain’t happenin’. Michael Jackson isn’t splitting a screen with Ronald Reagan and taking your order. Psh. I still see kids riding around on boards grounded with wheels, of all things. Wheels! We’re five years away and already it seems one of the pilars upon which my life has been based is quickly toppling.
- But Zack! you say like a girl. Your Blackberry is a personal computer in your pocket! Computers used to be huge! Yeah, but for the most part, that just keeps me tethered to responsibilities, when I’d rather be tethered to daytime television.
- Zack, you skeptic! you barf loudly. An iPod can carry as many songs as you’d ever want to listen to in a lifetime. That’s something, eh?! Let me tell you something about what I usually listen to: I don’t care. Back when mixing CD’s was the real deal, I used to follow Ludacris with James Taylor. Bela Fleck with Tupac. John Mayer’s early stuff Guns n’ Roses with Metallica. What I need is an iPod that repels songs I hate. I’d set it to Nickelback and never have my ears unphoned. Maybe by 2015…
- Zack, you dweeb! you admonish harshly. What about Avatar? What about Transformers, one and two? What about all this technology that has enhanced the quality of life? Avatar wasn’t THAT good. And with the exception of a cell phone, this web site, and power steering, I’m pretty much in the stone age.
- PS – iPod headphones hurt my tiny little ears.
I guess I have only myself to blame. BTF3 depicted such a startilingly accurate version of the Old West, I guess my hopes were just too high.
Here’s to optimism in the next five years: If I don’t get a pink hoverboard I’m going to lose my freaking mind. I’ll settle for self-velcroing shoes.