Hello 1994, It’s 2018. We Need to Talk.
Hello 1994, it’s 2018. We need to talk.
By Rob Hoffman on January 11, 2018 at 5:29 AM
We are creatures of instant gratification. If it feels good, we tend to do it. Unfortunately, the things that feel good in the here and now, often turn out to be problematic for us in the future. The problem is, we don’t often consider these consequences when we are in the process of making things more difficult for ourselves in the future. For example, just the other day I was talking to my oldest son. I forget exactly the content of the conversation, but it revolved around the idea that he was going to do something that could pose a problem for him down the line. When I pointed this out to him, as any good father would, he responded by saying, “Yeah, but that’s a problem for future me.” I thought this was both brilliant and confounding. In a way, he was acknowledging that he was going to have to deal with the ramifications of his actions, which was both admirable and responsible, but on the other hand, he was treating the future, HIS future, as if it were going to be impacting another being, as opposed to himself. His future self, but still himself.
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In the Michael J. Fox classic, “Back to the Future,” Marty McFly and Doc Brown have to decide if the knowledge of the future should be passed along to people from the past, particularly, themselves. In other words, should future “you” go back and warn “you” from the past, what your future will look like? I think the answer is a resounding yes. The problem however is that the future can sometimes seem so improbable, future you would have a dickens of a time convincing you from the past that what you are telling yourself is even plausible. Everybody follow that? (New York Times)
I think it would be an intriguing idea if we could somehow travel back in time, and explain to the people of the past what they have to look forward to in the future. (Of course, those who don’t live to see the future don’t have to worry about it, and I wouldn’t waste their time, after all, their time is precious, if you know what I mean.) So it is in the spirit of this idea that I thought I would “pen” an advisory letter, and send it through the time-space portal all the way back to the magical year of 1994, and attempt to explain to “me” from the past, and all of the other unsuspecting people of that time, that they are in for a few interesting surprises.
Why 1994? Well for myself and my family, is was a watershed year. I had just turned 30, I started working at Rensselaer High School, the New York Rangers finally broke their 54 year drought and won the Stanley Cup by employing every player in the NHL who had ever laced up his skates for the Edmonton Oilers, the Knicks should have won the NBA Championship, my mother-in-law passed away, and OJ ran afoul of the law.
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This is literally what I look like when I’m writing a letter to people of the past. I literally mean literally, and by literally, I mean figuratively. (Getty Images)
Dear 1994, (Let’s call it late in the year, maybe Thanksgiving.)
How are you? I’ve missed you. I’ve missed your optimism. I long for your innocence, and the fact that I was only 30 at the time. As an aside to myself, I want to give me from the past a heads up. Listen “Rob from the past,” enjoy every strand of that hair that lays upon thy head that you so nonchalantly comb with your cheap drug-store comb “big-fella,” it’s not always going to be there. In fact, that 79 cent bottle of “Suave” shampoo that you’re so proud of, may not be the “grand bargain” you thought you had stumbled upon. Also, your theory about how you always said that all shampoo is the same, well, you might want to re-think that statement. On the bright side, a lot of people seem to think bald men are sexy here in 2018, so you have that going for you, which is nice.
Obviously, thanks to technology, a lot has changed over the past 23 year. In fact now, we can all talk to each other all of the time, anytime, and anywhere that we want. As if that’s not enough, it’s not just your friends and relatives that you can speak to, you can reach out “virtually” to celebrities as well as politicians. You can even send a message directly to the president if you feel so compelled. Who’s the president in 2018? Um, I’ll get back to that in a little while. Trust me, you’re not ready for that just yet.
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Hey 1994, this is what we use for a phone in 2018. However, it’s so much more than a phone. It’s our stereo, computer, and camera, as well as a device that we use for instantly sending messages to anybody we want. Now here’s the real kicker. We almost never use it as a phone. (Getty Images)
I guess I should begin by clearing up a few things about some of the biggest events of 1994. You may recall that the New York Rangers broke their 54 year drought of not winning a Stanley Cup Championship. All I can tell you is, try to savor that moment, they haven’t won since. As for the other occupants of Madison Square Garden, the New York Knickerbockers, the team that came oh so close to winning the NBA Championship that year, they haven’t won anything since, and I would also point out that unfortunately, Michael Jordan came back from baseball, and the Bulls won three more titles.
You may also have found 1994 to be the year that all of a sudden, women’s figure skating enthralled you due to the drama between everybody’s favorite “Trailer-Park Princess,” Tanya Harding, and that little goody-two shoes, Nancy Kerrigan. Well, Kerrigan has pretty much disappeared from the public eye, while Hollywood decided to make a movie about Tonya Harding. They honored her at the most recent Golden Globe Awards, (The theme of the night was “empowering women.”) and they had a really hot young actress play her in the movie. I guess crime does pay.
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Whhhhyyyyy did they make a movie about Tonya Harding and not meeeee?(You Tube)
Speaking of crime paying, remember how O.J. was arrested after obviously attempting to escape, after it appeared without any shadow of a doubt that he had murdered his ex-wife Nicole, and a young man named Ron Goldman, well, a jury of his “peers,” found “the Juice” not guilty. It split the nation along racial lines, with African-Americans seeing it as retribution for the Rodney King incident, and the long history of racism amongst the police of Los Angeles, while white people saw it as a miscarriage of justice. Fear not, O.J. immediately promised after he was found not guilty that he would look for the real killers. So far he has checked every golf course in Florida, but no luck.
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It’s all good 1994, the “Juice is loose.” (Daily Mail)
Violent crime, an issue that plagued the early 1990s isn’t quite as epidemic as it had been, but in some ways, we are far worse off. For example, violent crime is down in almost every city today in 2018 compared to 1994, and we don’t see nearly as many serial killers as we used to, but unfortunately we seem inundated with an endless parade of “spree” shooters. Apparently there’s a lot of angry white men with easy access to very powerful weapons. What happened to the “Brady Bill” you ask? Well, as you may recall, the Democrats who helped pass the law were voted out of office by the NRA, and the law eventually expired. Why are white men angry? Well it might be due to the fact that we elected an African-American president in 2008, or maybe it’s because robots and foreigners have taken all of the good-paying factory jobs. Honestly, I’m really not sure.
We also lost the World Trade Center due to a terrorist attack. Remember the time Al-Qaeda tried to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993? Well, this time they succeeded. It’s probably the worst day in American history, and you’re really going to hate Sept. 11th of 2001. We went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq afterwards to prevent more terrorist attacks, but it hasn’t worked out that well. Fighting terrorism however has become our primary foreign policy obsession. It’s a thankless fight with no end in sight. Flying has become a drag as a result, and any event that you go to that has more than 100 people in attendance means you are going to be patted down and possibly strip-searched as a precaution against a terrorist attack. Sadly, the attacks go on anyway.
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Beware 1994, there’s a lot of angry guys like this gun-toting loon buzzing about in 2018, and apparently they’re well-armed. The congress doesn’t seem willing or able to pass any laws restricting the access that these angry individuals have to really powerful weapons. Apparently it would make them less “free.” (You Tube)
I do want you guys to know that it’s not all doom and gloom. Remember how you used to say, “Wouldn’t it be great to be able to press a button, and find out any information that you wished to know?” Well, we can, it’s called the internet, and it was invented by your vice-president, Al Gore. You can type in anything you want, and within a second, the answers pop up. It’s taken over our lives. You can find out sports statistics, news instantaneously, recipes, travel information, book a reservation, publish your thoughts on something called a “blog,” and good lord, the porn! It’s voluminous! (So I hear.)
Now there is a downside to all of this. Since anybody can put anything they want on the internet, it has made the newspaper essentially obsolete. Not only that, because so many people can put unfiltered information out to the general public, many are no longer confident over what sources of information they can trust. Sadly, many of the traditionally trusted sources of information are now viewed with so much cynicism, that people can no longer agree on what used to be basic facts. People no longer trust the government, or teachers, or even the official paper of record, the “New York Times.” This is a bad thing, and it makes everybody believe that everything is a conspiracy. Lack of information is no longer our fastest route to ignorance. Now we suffer from too much information, and its impact on our society is dreadful.
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He ran for president in 2000, but he lost, (Sort of) However, his gift of the internet, has kept on giving. (Getty Images)
I feel like I should warn you about a few items that you may find disconcerting regarding life in 2018. Your record collection might as well be boxed up, along with your CDs. Most of the music that we listen to comes through the internet. The good news is that you can listen to any song you want any time. The sad news in my opinion is that you tend to listen to these tunes on your headphones by yourself. Those little tiny phones I told you about earlier can carry a ton of music, but most people tend to listen to them by themselves. You can also use these phones to type messages to your friends and families. Most of these messages are brief, and say very little, but this method of communicating has become very popular. I suppose you could say that life in 2018 is more convenient, but more isolating. Again, I think that’s a little sad. (Or should I say #sad. Hee hee, inside joke.)
As for music, I hope you are enjoying your “grunge” 1994, it doesn’t last long, and there still hasn’t been a credible form of rock ‘n’ roll that has come along to supplant it. In fact, people are still lining up to see bands from the 1960s, even though for a lot of these venerable bands, the idea of drugs, as in “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll,” consists primarily of Viagra. Where do most of our pop stars come from you ask? Television game shows where contestants compete in front of celebrity judges. Viewers watching on television vote for whichever contestant they like. and these individuals become our pop stars. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, the music that this system produces is pretty awful. Hey, if it helps, “Pearl Jam” is still around.
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If you want to be a pop star in the 21st century, you have to impress this guy. Why? Well, he’s British and snarky, and for some reason, Americans enjoy being demeaned by snarky Englishmen. (You Tube)
So as you can see 1994, much in America has changed, and you have a lot to look forward to. Fortunately, our nation perseveres, no matter the issues and challenges that are put in front of us. There’s a lot of excitement and heartbreak ahead, and you’ll simply have to be patient in order to experience it all. I did promise you earlier that I would tell you who the president is in 2018. Well, as I mentioned above, a lot of our celebrities are now discovered on what are called reality television programs. We find, comedians, singers, chefs, and even “love” on these programs. Therefore, why not look for a president in the same tried and true fashion. Ladies and gentlemen of 1994, allow me to introduce the president of the United States in 2018….
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He starred in his own hit reality television series “The Apprentice.” For many Americans, this was more than enough proof that this individual was more than qualified to run the country. So, without any further adieu, ladies and gentlemen of 1994, allow me to introduce Donald Trump, our president in 2018. No, I’m not drunk, smartasses. (Getty Images)
I imagine you are in disbelief over this occurrence, and believe me, it’s every bit as awful as you would imagine. Fear not though, help is on the way. Another celebrity superstar who I believe you are quite familiar with, who also made their bones on television, is going to challenge Trump in 2020. 1994, say hello to your future president…
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Hail to the Oprah! (You Tube)