I’m scared with the pandemic because I just thought the virus was about to be getting over and now I don’t know if it is. My mom said I can write to you.
Thank you for your time,
For me to effectively reply to your letter, we must first travel into the future. You and me. So let’s step into my time machine, shall we? Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you’re back in time for Mom’s meatloaf tonight.
Man, I love meatloaf.
Watch your step. Hands inside the vehicle. No flash photography. Seatbelts, please—click it or ticket, sister.
I am going to set my time-travel dial for, oh, let’s say 65 years into the future. An era when cars fly and everyone wears ridiculous hairstyles. Such as, for example, the mullet. Which is making a comeback. Yesterday, I saw a kid sporting a mullet-cut like I haven’t seen since Night Ranger was still on tour.
Ready? Here we go.
T minus ten, nine, eight…
ZIP! FLASH! ZOOM!
Okay. I apologize. Those were lame time-travel special effects, nothing like the movies. Sadly, this column doesn’t have the budget for special effects because this column still has a mortgage to pay.
Anyway, here we are in the future. Let’s take a look around. Pretty wild isn’t it? This future world? Look at all the odd fashions and bizarre packaged foods. Hey, is that Mick Jagger?
Never mind. Because listen up, I want to ask you an important question: what is the first thing you notice about the future?
Yep. That’s right. There is one.
Also, Fort Worth, Texas, is still here. Your hometown did not explode, the solar system still works, and the human race is still alive and battling high cholesterol.
Good. Now what else do you notice?
Correct again. Starbucks now charges $2,183.99 for a small coffee. Nothing new there.
Okay, now let’s go take a tour of your future house so we can get a feel for what’s going on in your future personal life. Right this way, please.
Hey, nice pad you’ve got. Tall ceilings, big windows, cushy furniture, and check out that monster flatscreen TV.
It’s hard to believe that when I was a kid our TV only received three channels. It’s even harder to believe that my old man watched the ‘86 World Series by wrapping our antenna in aluminum foil and standing on a stepladder.
Hey, look. It’s Future You!
There you are, taking a nap in your La-Z-Boy, 65 years in the future. You must be, what, 74 years old? Wow, you look pretty good. Is that a grandbaby sleeping on your chest?
Well, this is all great news because apparently not only is the world still here, but so are you. And bonus, you’re a grandmother.
Also, you look superb for your age. I guess you can chalk this up to all the nutritional and medical advances society has made within the last century.
Believe me, medically speaking, this is a very different world from the one I grew up in. When I got my tonsils taken out, for example, my doctor performed the whole tonsillectomy procedure without once dropping his cigarette. That’s how far we’ve come.
Furthermore, it’s hard to believe that once upon a time people in their mid-70s were considered ancient. Folks just aged faster in the olden days.
If you don’t believe me, just watch reruns of “Matlock.” Andy Griffith was only 59 when he premiered as the elderly Ben Matlock. Which seems even more astounding when you consider that Brad Pitt is 57.
Anyway, seeing your own future is pretty cool, isn’t it? You know why? Because knowing what the future holds removes all uncertainty, and one of the scariest things on planet Earth is uncertainty. The future freaks us out because it’s unknown.
I once had a college professor who talked about the fear of uncertainty. He used to ask his class to name the scariest noise in the world. Students would call out answers like: a tortured scream, the roar of an animal, the discharge of a weapon.
The professor would smile and say, nope. The most frightening sound is when you are in a house all alone at night, completely alone, and you hear a toilet flush down the hall. That’s uncertainty. And it’s terrifying.
So I don’t blame you for being worried about the pandemic’s ups and downs. Join the crowd. Obviously I don’t know what will happen in the future—I have no time machine.
But there is one thing I am absolutely certain about. And if I were a betting man I would stake everything I own on what I’m about to tell you.
I am certain—deeply certain—that no matter what happens in this world, no matter how unpredictable your life gets, no matter how bleak the distant future appears, you are going to be okay, kiddo. And so am I.
Now go eat your meatloaf.