The end of the year, the end of the decade, the end of hope for all humanity.
No, sorry, that last part was just a rare slip of existential angst on my part. Please disregard.
I’m actually quite optimistic about 2020 on account of the fact I’ve found that it doesn’t help one iota to be bummed out about a new year.
And, hey, it’s only a day or two into a new year and I already got to slip the word “iota” into a sentence. So I’m feeling pretty good about things.
Things like the future, which, unlike the past, is often unpredictable.
But seeing that the future is largely unknown, and therefore a source of trepidation for many people, it’s always a good sign when you can drop a word like “trepidation” into a discussion.
It’s also often helpful to consider likely possibilities and predictions future-wise.
And therefore, I’ve reached out to our go-to expert who is outstanding in his field in Saskatchewan (har, har) — Dr. Reginald Smoot, untenured part-time professor of sociology, Carrot River University of Correspondence, Carrot River, Sask.
Hay’s Daze: “Welcome, once again, sir. And happy new year…”
Dr. Smoot: “Yes, well, and a happy rat to you too!”
Hay’s Daze: “Did you say ‘happy rat’”?
Dr. Smoot: “I did, indeed. This is the year of the rat in China. Also, we have rats in Saskatchewan. Would you like some in your province? We could call it a new year’s gift.”
Hay’s Daze: “No thanks, we are the only rat-free province in Canada, and in fact, according to the interweb, Alberta is the largest inhabited area on the planet that is rat free.”
Dr. Smoot: “You’re not counting politicians, then, are you.”
Hay’s Daze: “Could we get to the fact that it’s a new year and we were hoping to hear some well-considered, helpful and encouraging predictions for 2020, going forward.”
Dr. Smoot: “I left my crystal ball at the new year’s party down at the Legion.”
Hay’s Daze: “Aren’t you a sociologist, and isn’t sociology the study of human society?”
Dr. Smoot: “That sounds familiar. I also coach the indoor lawn bowling team. It pays better.”
Hay’s Daze: “What, in your opinion, is 2020 going to be like, future-wise?”
Dr. Smoot: “My studies show that quite a lot of weather is going to occur in the new year. And I can say with some certainty that it as each evening approaches, it will become dark, with continued darkness overnight, then widely scattered light by morning.”
Hay’s Daze: “You stole that line from a classic George Carlin hippy, dippy weather man comedy routine, didn’t you.”
Dr. Smoot: “I did, indeed. Humour is an essential ingredient in dealing with an uncertain future. And so is chocolate.”
Hay’s Daze: “True, but where do you see society going in the new year?”
Dr. Smoot: “How would I know? I don’t have 2020 vision, LOL.”
Hay’s Daze: “You’re going to use that 2020 pun every chance you get, aren’t you?”
Dr. Smoot: “Well, I could predict an unstable economy, social unrest, political uncertainty and another Stanley Cup playoff without a Canadian team, but I would rather snicker instead.”
Hay’s Daze: “But it’s vitally important to seriously consider the immediate future of this troubled world and…”
Dr. Smoot: “Ask me what my new year’s resolution is.”
Hay’s Daze: “Pardon?”
Dr. Smoot: “My new year’s resolution is to read more…”
Hay’s Daze: “OK, well, that’s a good, positive way to educate and effect change and…”
Dr. Smoot: “So I put the subtitles on my TV.”
Hay’s Daze: “You aren’t a real professor, are you…”
Dr. Smoot: “I can’t wait till New Year’s Day 2021! Then I can say hindsight is really 2020!”
Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.