From the Archive: Prediction
In the future, we’ll plan the future better.
In the future, you can just become your TV.
In the future, your sexual partners will meet all the qualities on your checklist.
And this anxiety you’re feeling now? In the future you won’t feel it.
In the future, technology will always work, and there won’t even be weekend downtime for systems repair.
In the future, Friday night parties will never be boring.
In the future there will be less deadlines and they’ll be easier to meet.
In the future, all pollution will contain its own self-cleaning element.
In the future, if your house burns down, you’ll have another house by the time you get home.
In the future, your insurance policy will actually pay.
In the future, your friends won’t talk so constantly about everything they think they should already have.
In the future, no good deed will go unrewarded.
In the future people will like you just for who you are.
In the future, everyone will have their own sky marshal.
In the future, fires and floods made worse by ecologically damaging overpopulation will lead to photo-ops for everyone.
In the future, that eleventh-rate doctor you married who’s seeing a nurse in Oceanside behind your back will stay home more often and cut the grass.
In the future, people will fart less.
In the future, corporations will pay you for gas.
In the future, because we’ll already be in the future, children won’t have to be the hope for the future.
In the future, we won’t have to wait for things to get better.
In the future, we will already have learned from our mistakes.
In the future, you can take all the time you need.
In the future you’ll get more turns at the microphone.
In the future, if there’s a disaster, a holographic image of your favorite public leader will be sent to you and speak to you personally, giving you whatever message will be most helpful to you at that time.
In the future, babies will change their own diapers.
In the future you’ll only have to work when you feel like working.
In the future, you really will be able to buy your own Brooklyn Bridge.
In the future, on the Internet, not only will you be able to be whoever you want, but everybody else will be whoever you want.
In the future, those fears and realities which are holding you back will no longer be so frightening or real.
In the future, all the food that’s bad for you won’t be so bad.
In the future, even when you’re contradictory, incoherent, or just plain full of shit, people will listen to what you say.
In the future, if there’s someone you don’t like, you’ll be able to call up the media and have that person exposed.
In the future, attractive women won’t look away from you with that slight sneer that says “Not in your lifetime, pal.”
In the future, the sports bar frat boy war whoop will be practiced by everyone and heard by no one.
In the future, your dumbass incompetent liar of a boss will laugh more, buy you lunch, and ask you how you’d like to be treated.
In the future, there won’t be mercury in your fish unless you like mercury.
In the future, sporting events will be as exciting as the hype.
In the future, your laundry will do itself.
And also grocery shopping and taxes.
In fact I’m not even sure there will be taxes.
And lawns won’t need to be cut or watered.
Besides, everyone will be able to waste all the water they want.
In the future even the water in your toilet will be drinkable.
In the future, the thought of your currently pathetic future as an underpaid and overworked middle manager or data entry drone for some faceless organization that makes its money by diminishing the richness of human life won’t depress you nearly as much.
In the future, The Young and The Restless will be young but not restless.
In the future, you’ll have the only house on your block that ever throws loud parties late at night, and when you do, your neighbors won’t complain and will make beer runs for you.
In the future, no one will have miles to go before they sleep.
In the future, no one will tell you not to break the rules. Unless you want them to.
In the future, weekends will be longer than weeks.
In the future, no matter how spontaneous you are, everything that needs careful planning will be carefully planned.
In the future, you’ll be able to exercise and keep in shape without moving much.
In the future, heterosexual sex will never risk pregnancy, but you can still have babies whenever you like.
In the future, it will be all sex all the time.
In the future, institutional restrooms will be kept clean and always have extra toilet paper.
In the future, that 22-year old white suburban thug who dropped out of school, carries brass knuckles, has a KKK tattoo and is looking for someone to blame will have turned into a gift-giving grandmother.
In the future, if you get drunk at a party, your car will do your designated driving.
In the future, advertising jingles will never get stuck for hours in your head.
In the future, real estate agents will ask you to set the price they’re asking for the house you want to buy.
In the future, if you’re good at something, people will actually like you for it.
In the future, gambling won’t be a gamble.
In the future, you won’t have to worry that your wildcat investing, reckless spending sprees and string of expensive girlfriends will leave you at age 50 broke and alone in a rented Chula Vista condo.
In the future, all marriages will be analyzed beforehand to make sure they’re not mistakes.
In the future, extra-marital affairs won’t leave anyone feeling abandoned or betrayed. And if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want such affairs to exist, well then they won’t.
In the future, your government will never kill people for reasons that leave you with gnawing impotent guilt.
In the future, fanatics of all kinds will consider in advance, and carefully, the ramifications of everything they think and the harm they might do.
In the future, each of us can have our own individual Leader of the Country.
In the future, there will be no more war criminals.
In fact war itself will no longer be a revolting misuse of human life. All things considered, war will be kind of okay.
In the future, lines will wait for you.
In the future, when your true love turns out to have been an 18-year old boy who married you so he could have sex and who at 22 has left you with two kids while he bounces aimlessly around the country with a rapidly escalating drug problem and avoiding child care payments, your options won’t be so limited.
In the future, you won’t even have to try to win every argument.
In the future, you can just push a button.
In the future, you’ll never be hostile, cruel, cheap or ignorant, or if you are, no one will notice.
In the future, no one will just be counting the minutes.
In the future, math and science problems will solve themselves.
In the future, we’ll still have different backgrounds, but we’ll have the same values.
In the future, the confusion of experiencing the world will have been replaced by immediate access to awareness. There will never be anything you don’t understand.
In the future, you won’t have to make an effort. But if it will make you feel good about yourself, you can.
In the future, no one will be annoyed if you’re late.
In the future, you can put yourself first and no one will think you’re selfish.
In fact, in the future everybody’s feelings will be exactly as central as they want them to be.
In the future, if you want the spotlight you can have the spotlight, and if you want out of the spotlight you won’t ever have to take a turn.
In the future, all the bad stuff will be quite a bit less bad, so much less, in fact, that it might not be bad at all.
In the future, you won’t waste so much time waiting for the future. Since, you know, it’ll already be here.
Which means we’ll be done with worrying about the future.
And all this working for the future too. Damn right!
In fact, in the future, and this may be the most different thing of all, you and I will still be alive in the future. And not, that is, dead.
Mark Wallace is the author of a number of books and chapbooks of poetry, fiction, and criticism. Temporary Worker Rides A Subway won the 2002 Gertrude Stein Poetry Award and was published by Green Integer Books. He is the author of a multi-genre work, Haze, and a novel, Dead Carnival. His critical articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, and along with Steven Marks, he edited Telling It Slant: Avant Garde Poetics of the 1990s (University of Alabama Press), a collection of 26 essays by different writers. Most recently he has published a collection of tales, Walking Dreams (2007), and a book of poems, Felonies of Illusion (2008). He teaches at California State University San Marcos.