Bridge Views

"If people at the next turn of a century are anything like people today, they will do what editors and reporters throughout the country are doing this week and scurry through old papers from the last turn of the century, looking for evidence that their ancestors were quaint buffoons with no sense of the marvelous changes that the future might bring.I’d hate to disappoint them.So here it is, folks of the future. With two days left in the 20th Century, these are parts of our world that you might find interesting:Cyberspace. This is our quaint name for the cool stuff we can do on the cool new thing called the Internet. It lets us buy stuff like Camcorders and personal computers that will be outmoded and useless in a few years, and it lets us do it without burning our still-cheap gasoline to get to a place called a “store.’’ We are also investing in bogus Internet stocks, because everyone believes that they can’t miss. This allows us to buy more soon-to-be-useless junk. We like to consume. Sorry about all those natural resources.Buses. We used to have them, but some guy down in Mukilteo convinced us that we paid a bit too much in taxes for them. So, sorry about the 36-lane freeways through Seattle. We had to do SOMETHING to make room for all the giant UPS trucks we needed to deliver the junk that we ordered through the Internet. Navy. There is a big military base on North Whidbey. It is a legacy of World War II that got bigger during the wars in Korean and Vietnam and Iraq. It seems to be shrinking a bit now, although the peacetime military is still very large and covers the entire world with a two-ocean Navy. We don’t want our base to go away, but we hope that it doesn’t take another string of wars to keep it here.Salmon. We still have a few.Social Security. We still have it, too. In fact, we’re spending it as fast as we can. And yes, we know it might not be there for you. And no, that doesn’t seem to bother us much. Like I said: We like to consume.That’s about it. By the time you read this, it seems possible that we and our progeny will have pretty much eaten the world out of house and home. Our ancestors set us on the full-bore consumption course, and we have become disturbingly good at it. Some of us actually ARE concerned about that. We just don’t know what to do about it. And most of the folks around us seem to be having a relatively great time, not caring about it at all.So if you’re reading this after (gasp!) experiencing some shortages of resources, we’re sorry. Just chalk it up to the quaint ignorance of the late 20th Century.Gotta go now ... Time to check the market for some of those hot new Internet stocks ... David Fisher is the quaint editor of the Whidbey News-Times. He lays no particular claim to ignorance, although some readers might beg to disagree."

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