May 1, 2010

Failed Predictions

I have a poor track record when it comes to prognostication. Here's a summary of a few of my predictions that have not come to pass (that is, at least not yet).

Armored Cars
As SUV's got larger and larger until we eventually arrived at the Hummer, I predicted that suburban Soccer Mom's and middle-aged businessman would start snapping up armored cars, which Waldoch would then "convert" by adding DVD players, juice box holders, bucket seats, etc. These would then be driven around for errands. After all, what's bigger, more intimidating and less efficient than a Hummer? Easy - an armored car. And how can you make this more decadent? Custom paint and expensive electronics. Brilliant - Americans should have been all over this! But somehow that never happened...

Mall of America
When the MOA was being built, I could not fathom how it could possibly work out. Why in heaven's name would people go to a mall that has not one, but yes - TWO Radio Shacks? I was certain it would be a failure within 5 years. Most likely, Northwest would sublet the empty shell of the MOA and convert it to a huge hanger so they could fix aging 747's in it.  I-494 would have to be rerouted below grade and paved over and a tarmac built over it, but that's pretty easy, really. Of course, I was wrong on that as well. It turns out that f you create anything as big as the MOA, it's going to be a destination.

Saggy Pants
Clown-like "sagging" should have ended years ago. My prediction was that young people would shun sagging (and exposed undies) within a few years, and instead, they would be begin wearing their pants hemmed an inch too short. It makes perfect sense - what would look weirder and be more annoying you parents than sagging? Flood pants - that's what. Either flood pants or simply wearing underwear on the outside of your pants. Alas, that never caught on.

Mountain Bikes
This must be one my earliest failed prediction. Back in the early 1980's I was a wanna-be road racer, idolized Greg LeMond and Andy Hampsten, and scoffed at the early mountain bike movement. The mountain bike was a solution in search of a problem, damnit! Nobody really wants to ride off-road for God's sake. This is a novelty and a fad; it's the latest thing from those wacky Californians, who also brought us the hula hoop and skateboard, for crying out loud. Since then, everyone bought at least one, I've owned two, and about half the bikes on Craig's List are MTB's.

So, with that confession, here's a few of my more recent predictions which I offer for free as atonement; perhaps you can bet against them and make big money in the stock market:
  • Utility/Cargo bikes will become more cool than fixed gear bikes, and thousands of old ten speed conversion will be retrofitted with Xtracycle kits. DIY types will begin cutting up old frames and making long bikes out of short bikes as well. There will be Alleycat races devoted to cargo bikes only.
  • Suburbs will fall into decline as people move closer to the city. The suburbs will fall into disrepair as the loss of population and businesses erode the tax base, and vacant buildings and crime will become commonplace. 
  • Education programs in outdoor recreation will have to be developed because children won't know how to play outside. Oh wait - that one has already come true.

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