Tell you what; lookin' deep into the crystal ball brings a strange feeling of déjà vu. As long as the stock market and the pension funds hold their value, seemingly unaffected by the chicken flu or the Asian debacle, we'll all be left with whether or not one should buy a Ford Expedition to drive the kids to school and back or whether total safety calls for a retrofitted Sherman tank (hold the air bags). Humming along in peace and prosperity, according to officialdom, a yawning citizenry sprawls its lethargy to infinite boredom. A season's come and gone without a whisper. Not even Newt can stir a hot debate these days. In such a climate of spewing indifference only psychics and pseudo-scientists should make predictions of love, money and doom. Everything else is free for the taking. So, here is our share:
- Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois will send another 23-page letter to Janet Reno requesting the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate the rumor circulating in foreign capitals that President Clinton's erectile organ was "equivalent to the square root of minus one, symbolizing a place of enjoyment that is restored by the coefficient of its statement to the function of the lack of signifier -1." This potentially immoral condition, amply proven by the late Jacques Lacan of France who, in a telepathic transmission with the Congressman, had agreed to testify before the Judiciary Committee if NASA could be ever so kind as to dispatch Halley's Comet to fetch him, could lead to blackmail by the roguish French people, thus endangering the national security of the nation. The President's only comment will reassert that he never inhaled. The Attorney General's written answer will state in short: "Having exhausted myself by exhausting the possible, and inversely, I am aware of no substantial evidence whatsoever indicating that the postmodern projectile had any remote connection with the President's anatomy. However, should further investigation of Chelsea's DNA lead to specific and credible evidence of a mathematical quid pro quo based on deconstructed scientific theories I will not hesitate to reconsider my position and invoke the appropriate provisions of the Independent Counsel Act." Vice President Al Gore will emphasize that he was out of the loop on this one since he had spent the night with his pal Erich Segal at a Buddhist temple to discuss the merits of structuralism in campaign finances.
- To divert the media's attention from Paula Jones and the alleged anatomical details of our Commander-in-Chief, the US Air Force will pay a little visit to Saddam with B1 bombers filled to the rim with pork sausages and cooked hams to feed the hungry Iraqi children. President Bill Clinton will take credit for this peace-loving and humane policy. Only a deep mind like his could have thought of giving pork to an Islamic country.
- Orrin Hatch, the sternly poetic Senator from Utah, will embark on a national tour to promote his latest CD album, "God and I: My True Love Story". Al Gore will intimate that the Senator had taken his own love for God as the recurring theme of the verses.
- The New York Times will break the story of the secret affair between former Vice President Dan Quayle and Governor Christine Todd Whitman that bloomed during a bus tour of New Jersey in October 1997. "It was love at first sight," Danny Boy is reported to have said to Maureen Dowd. Al Gore will hint to the strong similarities between this story and his own. "Oops, wrong line... It must have been a misunderstanding" will say a senior aide on condition that he remain anonymous.
- Armageddon, followed by the true Millennium will be one year younger (or older depending on one's age). "If we don't do something we're all going to die," will be posted on a billboard in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Impressed by the deep meaning of the message, brokers will cash in on their profits and run for their lives. To avoid a crash, South Korean banks will come to the rescue. "No need to panic," Alan Greenspan will testify, adding, "there is no sign of inflation." Former President Ronald Reagan will simply ask what time it is.
- Gary Bauer, the angelic-faced cherub of the Family Research Council, will announce the creation of a preliminary committee to investigate a possible run for the presidency in 2000 with Elisabeth Dole on the ticket as Vice President. Good ol' Bobby, smelling a rat, will run a new commercial for travel agencies affiliated with Heaven's Gate.
- At this point in time the Pope has become totally unpredictable. Perhaps will he sanctify Lady Di, or mother Teresa, or his favorite altar boy, or himself. Perhaps will he make the poor and down-trodden rich and the rich richer or will he nominate Madeleine Albright to succeed him. Whatever his move, it will be infallible.
- Following Benjamin Netanyahu's conversion to Islam Yassir Arafat will convert to Judaism so that these two ever-so-genuine leaders can ever-so-genuinely pursue their ever-so-genuine peace negotiations. The Times columnist A. M. Rosenthal, having himself converted to Christianity to protest Christian persecutions in China, will be the moderator. The Rev. J. Jackson will be quoted saying: "This will keep hope alive, keep hope alive."
- Soon-Yi and Woody Allen, unable to conceive a child, will ask the ever-fertile Mia Farrow to serve as surrogate mother. In exchange, Woody will offer Mia visitation rights to Soon-Yi.
- Al Gore, citing Yellowstone National Park as the United States' biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, will ask the World Summit to exempt the U.S. from the Global Emissions Standards.
- Claiming that his 46,000 square-foot home is a local tourist attraction, Bill Gates will fund a special election to require that his $600,000 a year property taxes be paid by the State.
- In a last-ditch effort to improve paltry ratings, producers of CBS Saturday Morning will replace host Susan Molinari with Sarah Ferguson. Ms. Molinari will move on to become a Washington Tobacco Lobbyist.
- Michael Jackson will pay an undisclosed sum to become the first cloned human being. "I want a son who is exactly like me", he'll explain. Plastic surgeons have already begun planning their work, expected to span the first four to five years of Michael Jr.'s life. A Beverly Hills Neonatologist is reportedly developing an in-utero skin bleaching agent so that the baby will enter the world as a white boy.
- The World Committee on Dates and Measures will pass an ordinance to skip the year 2000, thereby avoiding the end of the world and/or potential computer disasters. Millennium parties will be rescheduled for the year 1999.
- In response to an outpouring of Buddhist prayers, the souls of 1.3 million dead chickens will depart Hong Kong and invade McDonald's restaurants throughout the world. Sales of Chicken McNuggets will mysteriously plummet. This, combined with the global fear of hamburger meat and hot coffee, will force the fast-food chain to declare bankruptcy.
- The threat of an El Niño disaster will be declared a false alarm, but only after Americans spend an estimated $5,000,000,000 on roofs. Banking on the popularity of El Niño, NBC will replace "Seinfeld" with "El Niño 2014: Are You Prepared?"
- Finally, Swans will have a new design. (Eh, we're really good at this psychic game of predictions. This one has already occurred!)
And, of course, we will preserve Jesse Helms in mothballs until next year.
Published January 3, 1998