Got any predictions for 2020? I’d guess many of you reading this will venture a prophecy regarding the fate of one Donald J. Trump. Some will say he’ll be kicked out of office shortly. Others will say it doesn’t matter about that; whoever the Democrats put up against him will win in November and do the Senate’s job for it. And still another faction will swear he wins a second term in a landslide.

Prognostications and prophecies tend to proliferate at this time of year. Some turn out to be accurate, but most do not. A study in USA Today hit several highlights from past predictions. Perhaps you’ll recall the one about a total demise of books from a few years back. (Didn’t happen. The number of printed books is larger than ever.) Self-driving cars for all by now were predicted back in the late 1990s. We may have several companies creating those vehicles, but testing in select locations continues, not mass use by the multitudes of commuters as was thought.

Normal retirement age was supposed to be 70 by now. Life expectancy was to rise above 100. (I personally know of only one person who’s made it that long.) And 8 billion people were supposed to share planet Earth by now. (That one wasn’t far off. There is something like 7.7 billion of us breathing the same atmosphere.)

Microsoft guru Bill Gates apparently said we’d all have a personal assistant. Siri and Alexa probably come the closest to that, but he envisioned a bit more (such as telling your assistant what recipes you want to fix and having it generate a list of ingredients needed).

Here’s a favorite: Humans will set foot on Mars. That was predicted 20 years ago and 2018 was the target date. As far as I know, that hasn’t happened yet. (I’m sure it would have been in the papers. Or maybe CNN or Fox would have mentioned it.)

Anti-gravity belts, nuclear power instead of natural gas, and work weeks of 26 hours for Americans. All those were predicted. The first couple would be cool, but that last one would be my pick of the three.

It’s really kind of fun to play the “what-if” game as a new year dawns. As in, “What if I win the lottery this year?” or “What if the (INSERT FAVORITE TEAM) win the title?” or “What if just THINKING about losing 10 pounds could cause you to do so?”

Here’s a thought-provoker for you: “What if Trump survives the impeachment falderol and gets reelected — but only wins the Electoral College vote and not the popular one again?” Democrats were up in arms when the 2016 race turned out that way. I think it’s fair to say “apoplectic” would be an apt modifier of Ds, were it to happen again. (Republicans, by the way, would probably have the same reaction were the president to actually be convicted by the currently configured Senate. So, there’s enough apoplexy to go around for everyone.)

Looking for a laugh? My extensive research (well, I saw these on some place called BestLife) has shown that some of our recent forebears thought we’d all have chauffeurs by now — and that they would be apes. Personal helicopters too. (“A whirligig in every garage!”) Also, human feet would evolve into just one giant big toe. Here’s one of my favorites: C, X and Q would no longer be part of the alphabet (thereby depriving us of quixotic, perhaps the best word to describe all these other predictions). Telepathy and teleportation were also supposed to be quite commonplace in 2020. Nobody will work and everyone will be rich. (Wait a minute. Isn’t that a Bernie Sanders slogan?) What about this: Women will all be built like wrestlers. Now, I have nothing against wrestlers, but please, no.

When it comes to predictions, perhaps it’s best to stay on the safe side. You know, the Yankees will have baseball’s highest payroll, nothing will get done constructively in Congress, and Donald Trump will still be the chief Tweetmaster, in office or out. The NBA season will be too long. There won’t be any decent movies released from now until summer (and many of those will be questionable). Record snowfall somewhere in the U.S. will bring out climate change naysayers, and record heatwaves elsewhere in the country will raise a hue and cry from the other side of that issue.

Oh, and one more thing. As soon as you sit down with some free time to watch a TV show, despite having more than 200 channels at your fingertips, there won’t be one thing worth watching. (Some things never change.)

Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta.

See more of his work at www.wordsmith-at-large.com.

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