'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
FAMOUS OBITS AND FLAKY PREDICTIONS
At this time of year there are always two types of feature stories in the newspapers: those listing the famous people who died in the year just concluded, and those listing predictions of what major events are likely to occur in the year about to begin.
The year 2009 saw some cultural heavyweights complete their journeys on this earth: Michael Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Walter Cronkite, Farrah Fawcett, Frank McCourt, Patrick Swayze, Ed McMahon, and William Safire, to name a few.
At first I thought I would combine the two types of stories and list those who died in the past 12 months along with my predictions of who will die in the next 12 months. Immediately after having that thought, I realized it was one of the more ghoulish ideas I’ve had in a long time.
Then I discovered there are multiple Web sites devoted to just that macabre “game,” predicting which famous people are about to appear in the obits. On one site, pretty much all famous people age 90 or older are on the list, such as: Kirk Douglas, Betty Ford, Phyllis Diller, Abigail Van Buren (“Dear Abby”), Mitch Miller, and Billy Graham. (Come on, admit it, you too were surprised to learn some of these folks are still alive.)
Other famous people listed on this Web site are those who have been diagnosed with cancer or recently had some serious health issues. It became obvious right away that trying to predict which famous people might die would make this so-called humor column about as funny as hiding Tiny Tim’s crutch. So, I’ve got a new idea: I will predict which famous people will be born in 2010.
Admittedly, this is a little tricky, since one of the usual definitions of “famous” is that the person has actually DONE something notable—Prince Charles and Paris Hilton notwithstanding. But I will endeavor to identify those soon-to-be-born people destined for greatness, using my keen powers of prognostication, which have served me so well in the past, especially my 700-can supply of Spam in anticipation of Y2K (after ten years, only 100 cans left!) and all the money I almost won betting on the New York Giants last weekend.
This year, the first human being to set foot on the planet Mars will be born. His amazing feat will occur somewhere around the year 2051. (The Magic 8-Ball is a little fuzzy on the exact date.) I don’t know this person’s name, but his nickname surely will be “Buzz.”
This year, the person who will win the presidential election in 2064 will be born. The way things are going, in order to win the election 54 years from now, this person will have to start campaigning and raising money about three weeks after he or she is born. So in the coming months, if you see an infant promising to lower health care costs and raise taxes on the wealthy, keep an eye on that kid.
This year, the person who will win both an Academy Award and a Nobel Peace Prize will be born. His awards will be for making a documentary about the dangers of global cooling.
This year, a future Hollywood starlet will be born. In the year 2030 this blonde bombshell will make her first movie, record her first solo album, and then promptly go into rehab. Twenty years later she’ll reappear in an awful made-for-TV movie and then never be heard from again.
If these predictions don’t come true, feel free to send me a critical note. Of course, by then I’ll already have appeared on an end-of-year obit list.
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