As Niels Bohr, the esteemed physicist said (or was it Yogi Berra?): “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
In 2024, George Santos will run for president of Brazil, even though many point out his resumé reports that he currently holds that office.
This year, the concept of time will become even more baffling. Physicists, lost in the labyrinth of expanding sub-atomic landscapes, foraging deep into black holes, chasing neutrinos, up quarks and down quarks, will come to realize that monks and nuns who have taken vows of silence, poverty and obedience are their colleagues in the search for a true understanding of time.
The scientists will chuck the whole thing, enter monasteries and convents to live lives ruled by the church bell. (Abbots and abbesses will petition their dioceses to have the bewildered fanatics repatriated to civilian life immediately, if not sooner.)
Artificial Intelligence will construct a novel, using the work of William Faulkner as a jumping-off point, which will be easy to understand and blindingly dull. Physicists, returning home from rural monasteries and convents, will spend months trying to unravel the sage of Mississippi’s own investigation of time: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Many of the scientists will follow the author’s lead and take to drinking earlier and earlier in the day.
A.I. will also send to the unemployment line drive-time radio DJs, influencers, and business owners who insist on appearing in their own TV ads. We live in hope.
Working journalists, the first professionals to be replaced by robots, will throw in the towel and organize themselves into a union called ROSC (Ranters On Street Corners). Give generously when the hat is passed.
The Barbie movie sequel, “Barbie and Bobby,” will imagine a dreamy, unrequited love affair between Herself and Robert Oppenheimer, who will continue to wear his signature wide-brimmed, flat fedora, but it will, of course, be pink. Bobby will lose an arm wrestling contest to Ken for the Lady’s charms, and will later drop an atom bomb on him — anything for the girl.
Bobby will then speak to the angelic Ms. B about the delights of the kama sutra, hoping to get lucky, and she will politely tell him she’s not really that into ethnic restaurants.
The New York Mets will win their division 50 games ahead of the Phillies, crush the Dodgers for the pennant, and take a 3-0 lead against the Yankees in the World Series before the Bronx Bombers forfeit the final game, begging for mercy, too humiliated to take the field. The Mets will be magnanimous in victory.
The Shelter Island Hip Hop artist, HareLegga, bursts on the scene with the searing track, “Ferry Boat Floatin’ High, Dawn Breakin’ Nigh.”
George Santos, whose resumé includes the item that he played cricket while teaching philosophy at England’s Cambridge University, will form a new professional men’s and women’s league, backed by his family’s vast fortune. (“Honest,” he said.)
Commercial properties that have been dark for years on Route 114 in the Center will open year-round businesses, with Islanders employed, and goods and services provided. (We still live in hope.)
Elon Musk will board one of his spaceships for a 40-year journey bound for mountains on a moon of Jupiter. Millions breathe a sigh of relief. Many ask: Only 40 years?
Meta will develop a pod that can be embedded directly into the brain so one just has to think of a question about current events, or who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1989, or kittens, and answers and images will appear in the consciousness — along with political attack ads.
Congress will hold hearings on the new venture, and a majority of representatives will vote that this comes down to a question of freedom, and pass legislation that no regulation is required. A rider to the bill will call for criminal charges against any American who does not own a firearm.
Apple, trying to claw back market share from Meta, will develop a new alternate reality device that fits over the entire body. When worn, it will permanently situate the user in the Barbie movie sequel, with no escape. Sales will break all records for new products. Mattel will be part of the business model.
Congress, citing the amount of work members have to endure, will change its recess polices and adapt the Texas Legislature’s schedule, meeting in session for five months every other year.
Tucker Carlson will run for vice president with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. topping the ticket of the Everyone Is Lying To You Party.
George Santos will launch a new laundry service in Queens, called “Cleaning You Out!” capitalized through his Brazilian candidacy’s campaign funds, and file bankruptcy a week later.
All happy families will be alike, and each unhappy family will be unhappy in its own way.
To paraphrase that Pollyanna of literature — old laugh-a-minute Sam Beckett — the sun, having no alternative, will continue to shine down on the nothing new.
And in 2024, human beings will cling to hope against all odds, believing, along with Nick Carraway, that we will beat on, boats against the current, and be borne back ceaselessly into the past.