What The Future Used To Look Like

spacePaleofuture.com is one of my all-time favorite blogs.  I’ll say more about that in a coming edition of Blog Love, but I spent some time today looking at pictures like this from EPCOT books and other places.

I was going to write an essay about toroidal space colonies and what makes a thing authentic and I’d probably get into terraforming as human duty.  I started doing that and what’s below came out instead.  So rather than edit and refine it and make it palatable to everyone or into something finally constructive, I thought I’d share it as a writing experiment/free association with the picture as a prompt.


I was a kid in the 80’s and got to go to EPCOT.  I used to read Popular Mechanics and try to make crap out of batteries and magnets and draw fighter jets and space stations and curvy future cars and build paper ammo wristbows from rubber bands and hangers.  I did The Jason Project.

I remember when the Challenger blew up because the lady teacher had a kid  my age and my family had an Aerostar the first summer they came out.  After it happened Ford pulled the commercials that showed how the nose of their new mini-van looked just like the Shuttle.  I broke the sliding door with my first GI Joe and burned my arm on an interior light and it scabbed and cracked and leaked all summer and I’d touch the the puss with the fat tips of my fingers to see if it would hurt.

My grandmother made me watch INF when I was 7 so I could say that I’d seen history.  She didn’t say it but in 1987 you had no way of being sure you’d see more big human moments.  Imagine living like that for 4o, 50 years, thinking about the button, building schools with fallout bunkers, doing drills. I remember the first time I saw a plane, it was Wednesday, 9/19.  I went to college near a  power plant with two cement torch chimneys so these things made me nervous.  I imagine living like this for 40, 50 years, collecting history for my son just in case it stops.  Waiting for the break, the thaw, the Islamofascist perestroika. The Western glasnost Gorbachev and the Dubai-Vegas-Beijing Red Dawn white trash show.  Waiting for the INF bombs to come in off the market.  There is no end of history, Francis Fukuyama. There is history or nothing.

Obama will close Gitmo but will hold enemy combatants indefinitely without trial on the mainland.  Semantics must be justice. There are pictures of Pelosi toasting Cheney and Shepard Fairey laughing, obey, obey, obey, obey the giants and their posses.  I was a kid in the 80’s.

I thought we’d have more now:  sustainable communities instead of social networks.  Colonies in space.  Personal computers and their market like I didn’t get when I was 10, personal accessories and spirit trips but  lazy outward pushing.  If Richard Branson brings the heavens we should fill them.#


5 thoughts on “What The Future Used To Look Like

  1. The most futuristic thing in America is the monorail in Seattle…from the 1962 World’s Fair. The Future has been just over the horizon for so long I’m certain the world is round.

  2. speaking of the future (I guess…) if you click the link to your visitor world map there is a large advertisement for dianetics.org…

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