Seen The Future and It Is Tomorrow
by Mad Dog
Its a movie. You go to the theater,
buy an overpriced ticket, youre entertained for two hours, then you go home. This is
hardly an excuse for mass hysteria.
|| Some days I worry about the future of the world. Just look at it. Kids are
shooting up schools. People are planting bombs throughout London. There are hard pitched,
furious wars going on between groups of people who hate each other in Kosovo, Algeria, the
Middle East, and the Senate. And worst of all, theres Star Wars mania.
Thats right. People are going nuts over the
new Star Wars movie. Or maybe its just that the nuts are making the news. After all,
its much more interesting to see people on TV and in the newspaper trading their
lives for a place in a movie line than it is to hear them say, "I cant wait
until it comes to cable so I can watch it for free." For reasons
sociologistsand corporate marketing people the world overwill be discussing
for years, Star Wars is bringing out the weird in people.
Lets think about this for a second. Its a movie.
There have already been three installments in the series and there are supposed to be two
more coming later. You go to the theater, buy an overpriced ticket, wolf down a 55-gallon
drum of popcorn followed by a couple of quarts of bad fountain soda, youre
entertained for two hours, then you go home and have to floss for the rest of the night to
try to get those rock-hard popcorn nubs from between your teeth and that
kinda-sorta-butter-like-flavored-soybean-oil slick out of your mouth. This is hardly an
excuse for mass hysteria.
This is an era when the grief process has become denial, anger, rage, press conference,
civil suit, and book deal.
|| Yet thats
what were getting. People stood in line for hours waiting for the doors to open at
toy stores across the country so they could scarf up inanimate action figures and put them
on a shelf in the rec room as Juniors college education fund. Theyre swarming
fast food restaurants nationwide searching for a complete set of collectors cups so
they can be the first one on the e-Bay block to swap them for a velvet painting of Erik
Estrada with pecs that follow you around the room. Theyre even camping out in front
of movie theaters wearing Darth Vader costumes and spouting dialogue from the first three
installments in Ewokese. What do they think this is, The Rocky Horror Picture Show or
Recently, the San
Francisco Examiner quoted A.J. Napa, a 20-year-old who started camping out at the movie
theater 18 days before the movies opening, as saying, "Ive been waiting
for this moment for 15 years. This is a defining moment for our generation."
Now do you understand why Im worried?
Defining momentsevery generation has them. Years ago it
was the discovery of electricity. A couple of generations later it was the Great
Depression, or maybe World War II. The Boomers certainly had their share of defining
moments, what with the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and the first men to land on the moon. Yet
here we are, scant inches away from a New Millennium, and what do we have? A
generation whose defining moments are the end of Seinfeld, the invasion of Granada, and
the release of another Star Wars movie. All I can say is, "Like cool, Dude!"
True, the phrase defining moment has become so overused that
it should be retired along with bottom line, paradigm, and David Letterman. Yet
theres a strong possibility that A.J.s remark itself was a defining moment for
his generation. After all, this is a generation thats living in a time when a
constitutional crisis means the president got oral sex. Or at least got caught. A time
when abortions legal but euthanasia isnt. An era when the grief process has
become denial, anger, rage, press conference, civil suit, and book deal.
If the psychics didnt realize that Bryant Gumbel would be back on morning TV, then
who could? Okay, besides the 27 people who actually watched him on Public Eye With Bryant
|| But its
okay to worry about the future. After all, the past is gone and cant be changed,
while the present, well, it becomes the past so quickly that Im not sure
theres a present to be concerned with. So that leaves us with only one thing to
really worry about: How will Pamela Anderson Lee explain to her son about what happened to
her breasts without him growing up blaming himself for the loss of four or five cup sizes
and shooting up a Victorias Secret store with a Star Wars AK-47 Light Saber?
Actually, the question is, what does the future hold in store for
this generation? Thats hard to say. Prognostication is a tricky thing, as you can
tell each December when the tabloids trot out their predictions for the coming year. After
all, if their star psychics didnt know that World Championship Wrestling would be
releasing a line of perfumes this year, how could we? If they didnt foresee that
someone in Taiwan would pay $2,424 for the mobile telephone number 456789 because they
thought it was lucky, how can know for sure which Star Wars pajama set will increase most
in value? And if they didnt realize that Bryant Gumbel would be back on morning TV,
then who could? Okay, besides the 27 people who actually watched him on Public Eye With
Maybe the answer is not to worry about the future at all, but
to just take it one day at a time. Think of life as a line at the movie theaterevery
day you get a little closer to the main feature. The difference is, if youre lucky
in life there wont be some guy dressed in a Wookie outfit standing right in front of
©1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while standing in line at the movie theater.