Slightly Off Center

Unresolved: Predictions for the new Roaring Twenties

By Dennis Hinkamp

If I had made any, most of my New Year’s resolutions would be dust by now. Resolutions sound too certain when most of the world is mostly conflicted and unresolved. I’ll limit my new decade bloviating to predictions. They are easy because you can claim genius by reminding people how right you were while most won’t remember the ravings you got wrong.

These will be the major developments of the new Roaring Twenties:

The smoking/vaping controversy is just barely getting started. It’s going to push more people into smoking and vaping. There are only less-horrible ways to consume nicotine. If science came up with a way for you to drink all the whiskey you want without impairing your driving, but you could still become addicted to it, would that be a good thing?

The meat industry will fight back against plant-based meat by coming up with meat-based plants. “Wouldn’t your kids eat more broccoli if it tasted like bacon?” they’ll advertise. Like the characters who muse in The Matrix movie, “Who cares if it’s real if it tastes real?” With all this satanic food science going on, I don’t think we are far from the real life Star Trek food replicator. Now that would be the ultimate fast food.

The things we talk to will also talk back. It’s getting pretty common to talk to devices and have them answer specific questions. Soon they will start initiating conversations based on algorithms. They will monitor your household patterns and do a quick urinalysis. “You drink too much coffee and eat too much sausage,” Alexa’s progeny will say. “May I suggest a dietician or therapist?”

No matter how low the price of gas gets, people will keep buying electric cars because they are fun to drive, and you don’t have to develop a personal relationship with a mechanic. Pharmacologists will concoct a drug to treat range anxiety.

No matter how high the price of gas gets people will still sit in their cars with the engine idling. I blame smart phones and the breakdown of interpersonal relationships. Most of the people I see sitting in trucks with the engines idling are playing with their phones while their spouses or parents are in doing the shopping. Some auto manufacturer will come up with a seat electric shock system to get people out of their cars.

Smart watches will continue to be a thing even if they don’t tell time well. Watches were in the grips of antiquity for a while because everyone was just looking at their phones. Now they are coming back as personal drill sergeants. Mine counts my steps, the number of stairs I climb, laps I swim, my average daily pulse and the number of times I toss and turn at night.

Forget the rise of the machines, the online comments sections will achieve sentience and rise up to destroy all civilization. They have already destroyed all civility.

If vinyl records can make a comeback, why not VHS tapes? The players never die, and you can buy a pickup truck load of them at Deseret Industries for $20. Imagine the joy you will experience watching a vintage VHS bootleg copy of Animal House with your grandkids.


Dennis Hinkamp claims the pun that “2020 will be a year of perfect vision.”

This article was originally published on January 29, 2020.