There’s no better way to start a new year than by making predictions.
The act of future-telling is fraught with peril but since fools rush in, here we go with my 2018 predictions:
1 — The term “Happy Holidays” will have committed verbicide by Christmas 2018. In the 1980s, everyone said “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” Starting in the ’90s, people said “Happy Holidays” because they were afraid of offending people. Now in the late ’10s, hardly anyone says “Happy Holidays” anymore. It’s “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” more often than not. We’re making holiday greetings great again.
2 — After a massive terrorist hack of the electrical grid in America in 2018, Americans rethink their reliance on the network. Newspapers run stories detailing self-sustaining systems that can run home systems when the grid is down. Systems start sprouting in backyards to run home refrigeration and furnaces that once were dependent on grid-fed electricity.
3 — The Dow Jones index retreats below 18,000, where it was when Trump was elected in November 2016. The Trump bump, great as it was, is over, followed by the inevitable Trump thump. Longtime financial gurus tell upset investors: “Easy come, easy go folks. You should have sold when it was 24,500.”
4 — Precious metals race higher as stock-weary investors search for safety. Gold hits $2,000 an ounce and silver goes above $50. Dr. Teeth of The Muppets is worth big bucks because of his huge golden tooth.
5 — The Maine Turnpike Authority raises tolls again, which in turn renews calls for its dismantling. Critics cite the turnpike authority’s founding charter, which mandated the elimination of tolls when the highway project was completed.
6 — Major media and entertainment businesses fire all male employees just to make sure no sexual harassment takes place.
7 — Following the Maine gubernatorial election, Paul and Ann LePage move to Jamaica for semi-retirement. Maine’s former first couple work at a five-star resort, with Ann employed as a waitress and Paul serving as a bar bouncer cussing out anyone who gets out of line.
8 — Before leaving office, LePage calls state Rep. Drew Gattine of Westbrook, just to threaten him once more for old times’ sake.
9 — Speaking of moody, Republican Shawn Moody is elected governor of Maine and becomes the kind of leader conservatives have dreamed of – fiscally prudent, decent, and common-sensical. As Trump did with his business interests, Moody distances himself from his successful auto collision repair business upon winning the election. However, the company’s name remains the same, which draws skepticism from the state’s media. Moody deftly defends himself by saying the business is no longer named after him but because his customers tend to come into the shop very “moody” after getting in accidents requiring bodywork.
10 — Casinos in Maine suffer significant financial losses because Mainers can afford to do nicer things than sit in a dimly lit room with annoying bells and blinking lights.
11 — Liberal Roxanne Quimby and conservative Linda Bean aim to close the political divide by starting a joint business venture selling lobster-flavored lipstick.
12 — Liberals who live near the Maine coast start selling their homes in droves due to their fears concerning sea-level rise. With the glut of coastal housing, prices drop. Seeing an opportunity, keen conservatives swoop in and snatch up the luxurious homes, knowing man-made global warming is just an over-hyped story and that Maine’s rocky coastline will be just fine.
13 — Maine gets its first self-driving vehicle owner. Two weeks later, the owner puts the car up for sale after realizing the vehicle can’t navigate Maine’s backroads because of a lack of properly painted lines on the road, a basic requirement for self-driving navigational systems.
14 — The tiny home movement ends its absurd run of popularity after couples, who started building them in the wake of the economic downturn, realize their marriage requires more than 200 square feet of living space.
15 — Vladimir Putin claims absolute power after Russians re-elect him president in the March 18 election. He assumes a new title: Czar Putin.
16 — Facebook and Twitter lose millions of users after people finally realize they can’t trust anything they read on their feeds. Legacy newspapers, purveyors of real news, see a surge in readership.
17 — The New England Patriots win Super Bowl LII. Tom Brady retires on top. Millions mourn as the Brady-Belichick era ends. A blasé Belichick responds to a reporter during the following pre-season training: “Tom? Tom who?”
18 — The author of “Here’s Something” writes unapologetically conservative columns week after week that many readers despise. Oh wait, that happened in 2017. Oh well, here’s to more of the same in 2018.
John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.