Friday, December 30, 2005

Get Your Kicks in 2006

Another year has blown by like a garbage truck full of road kill, and all we can do is pick ourselves up and try to figure out what happened so it doesn’t happen again. Oh wait – that would be un-American. No, if there’s anything at all we’ve learned from this year, it’s that even if your strategy is horribly misguided to start with, swear up and down that it’s a) going fine and b) just a few tweaks away from purring like a kitten.

Take – oh, Iraq for instance. Didn’t we liberate the whole nation once a couple of years ago? So why is the Green Zone the only part of the country you can walk around in without a reasonable expectation of getting kidnapped or assassinated? Don’t ask such questions – everything’s great there. In fact just last week Dick Cheney flew his Winnebago into Iraq, watched some Iraqi national guardsmen train with imaginary guns, never left the security of a military base, and declared that victory was around the corner. Now that’s the spirit that made America what is today – an angry, frightened giant running rampant over the countryside and terrifying the peasants.

But that’s just one example of how the faith-based approach to reality has worked for us in 2005. Let us not forget to include the Katrina response, the Terri Schiavo horror, the tax cuts for the rich, the Intelligent Design nonsense, and Ashlee Simpson – all these show what happens when, using only the sheer power of belief, someone tries to create a reality that just isn’t there. And so what if it didn’t work the first few times? Remember the proverb: if at first you don’t succeed – fake success.

So in the spirit of banging your head against a brick wall – because turning around would look like failure – here are some super-duper accurate predictions for the coming year:

The Middle East
2006 will be a year of liberation for Iraqis. First the freely elected government will liberate the Iraqi populace from ever having to vote again. Next, the women of Iraq will be liberated from the onerous burden of pants, makeup, and speaking in public. After that the Kurds will liberate themselves – again – and liberate any Arabs who happen to be living on their land. Finally, all hell will be liberated.

But that won’t be the only happenin’ place in the region. All about, the shimmering glow of Iraq’s success will serve as a beacon to its neighbors. The bounties of freedom and democracy will inspire repressed Muslims everywhere to ask, “Why doesn’t my country have car bombs and fundamentalist militias?”

The Third World
Large swathes of the world will continue to be plagued by lack of clean food and water, inadequate shelter, and lack of opportunity. But Mayor Nagin will ask them to come back anyway.

Government Secrecy
The scandal-plagued Bush administration will suffer from leaks again when the New York Times reveals that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have been secretly building a Death Star on the far side of the moon. After first issuing a slew of denials, the pair finally call a press conference and admit to their project. “But,” they explain, “Having a planet-destroying space station is in the interest of national security.” They then activate their jet packs, crash through a skylight and enter a hatch in a flying saucer hovering above. It flies off at high speed and is last seen rendevouzing with some sort of mother ship 200 miles over the mid-Atlantic.

Church and State
Spurred on by their successes saving Christmas and teaching Intelligent Design, a number of religious groups begin a campaign to have God included as part of state math requirements. As usual the Kansas state school board leads the way, mandating that differential calculus be taught in a revival tent with at least a four-piece band. Describing the program as “Higher Math with a Higher Power,” Kansas educator Rev. Carpal Sternbottom said, “Consider the number pi. It’s a number that goes on endlessly without stopping or repeating. You can’t tell me this is due to pure chance.” A stunned press corps duly takes notes.

Popular Culture
Katie Holmes gives birth to her and Tom Cruise’s love child. Despite rampant internet gambling about the sex, size and weight of the baby, there is only one winner among the thousands of entrants. Peter Schwimmer of Lakeland, FL walks away with millions for his guess that the child would be a six-pound, nine ounce, thirteen-inch long fly larva. Said a tearful Holmes after the birth, “We’ll love it whatever it turns out to be. But Tom and I were so hoping for a locust.”