As Time Goes By

January 14, 2000

The new millenium is now less than a year away, but I find it hard to get excited. This is partly because the new millenium will begin on a Monday. It’s also because, regardless of the advances in health care and the prolongation of life, it’s extremely unlikely that any of us will be around for the most significant events of the next millenium. This is depressing because some very exciting things are going to happen in the next 1000 years. Here’s a glimpse ahead:

2066: Celebrations of 1000 years since the Battle of Hastings are held all over the newly formed Euroasian Collective. However, events are marred by calls to make English the official language of the EAC, and fighting breaks out. The bulk of the fighting force drowns while crossing the English Channel which, due to global flooding, is now 150 miles wide.

2076: Tricentennial celebrations for the United States are held in the new coastal city of Las Vegas.

2145: Computer geeks all over the world celebrate roughly 700 years since Guttenberg invented the printing press…and then laugh.

2146: A huge magnetic meteorite passes close to the Earth erasing all electronic storage devices. Directors at the only two libraries that still have old-fashioned books look distinctly smug. One of them says, "This proves that not only does God exist, but that He also has a sense of humor."

2147: Throwing the existence of God into doubt but proving once again that nothing is more hated by the general public than smugness, mobs burn down the only two remaining libraries that still have old-fashioned books.

2148-2362: Attempts to hold "1000 Years Since the Dark Ages" celebrations collapse due to widespread illiteracy and poor communication. However, people still celebrate the Dark Ages by allowing no historically significant events to happen.

2363: Well-preserved copies of "Star Trek" are unearthed at an underwater archeological dig in the California Sea. People laugh at how ridiculous 20th Century predictions for the future were.

2364: Vulcans arrive on Earth.

2666: People living on the European peninsula celebrate 1000 years since the end of the Black Death. Scientists promise that eventually they’ll also find a cure for the common cold.

2667-2999: Celebrations of the Dark Ages resume.

3000: People uninhibitedly celebrate the new year with the slogan, "7000 Years Until The Y10K Problem!"

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Can you imagine working at the following Company? It has a little over 500 employees with the following statistics:

  • 29 have been accused of spousal abuse

  • 7 have been arrested for fraud

  • 19 have been accused of writing bad checks

  • 117 have bankrupted at least two businesses

  • 3 have been arrested for assault

  • 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

  • 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges

  • 8 have been arrested for shoplifting

  • 21 are current defendants in lawsuits

  • In 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving

Can you guess which organization this is?

Give up?

It’s the 535 members of your United States Congress. The same group that perpetually cranks out hundreds upon hundreds of new laws designed to keep the rest of us in line.

In case you needed further proof that the human race is doomed through stupidity, here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods.

On a Sears hairdryer: "Do not use while sleeping." (Gee, that’s the only time I have to work on my hair.)

On a bag of Fritos: "You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside." (The shoplifter special.)

On a bar of Dial soap :"Directions: Use like regular soap." (And that would be how…?)

On some Swann frozen dinners: "Serving suggestion: Defrost." (But it’s just a suggestion.)

On Tesco’s Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom of box): "Do not turn upside down." (Too Late!)

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding: "Product will be hot after heating." (As night follows the day…)

On packaging for a Rowenta iron: "Do not iron clothes on body." (But wouldn’t this save even more time?)

On Boot’s Children’s Cough Medicine: "Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication." (We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we could just get those 5-year-olds with head colds off those forklifts.)

On Nytol Sleep Aid: "Warning: May cause drowsiness." (One would hope.)

On most brands of Christmas lights: "For indoor or outdoor use only." (As opposed to what?)

On a Japanese food processor: "Not to be used for the other use." (I gotta admit, I’m curious.)

On Sainsbury’s peanuts: "Warning: contains nuts." (Talk about a news flash.)

(On an American Airlines packet of nuts: "Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts." (Step 3: Fly Delta.)

On a child’s Superman costume: "Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly." (I don’t blame the company. I blame parents for this one.)

On a Swedish chain saw: "Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals." (Was there a spate of this happening somewhere? My God!)

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