You’d think with a title such as “Prediction”, this story would make more sense for this post about Groundhog Day.
You’d predict that and you’d be wrong.
Twenty-one years ago, on this month (in the year 1996 for those who don’t feel like doing the math), the satirical periodical SPY unveiled their SPY 100, their look at the 100 most “annoying, alarming, and appalling” items for 1995.
At the top of this motley collection that included the likes of the Hugh Grant Incident (#10), Waterworld (#14), Ebola (#49), the return of Mod fashion (#64), and Cindy Crawford’s acting debut (#95) was none other than…oh, let me just show you.
Yes, Donald Trump took top honors of that ignoble list of, according to the magazine’s cover, the “worst people, places & things of 1995”.
By the way, the rest of the red text of this magazine article reads, “…He’s Back!”
On the last page of the magazine, to honor the real estate mogul who no one in their right mind would believe would be occupying the Oval Office 21 years hence, SPY made this bold prediction…
Now, of course that did not happen. Instead, even stranger things unfolded concerning The Donald.
That’s the problem with predictions. They rarely come true.
This is my story about my own failed attempt at prediction.
The place is Los Angeles, California, and the time is summer of 1984. I have been invited by a friend of mine (who was involved in show business) to attend the pilot screening of a television program that may or may not be aired. We, along with a few dozen other people, were asked to be in the test audience for this show and give our impressions.
The show was miserable. It starred Soupy Sales and it was dreadful. There is little I remember about this program other than the fact I was glad it never saw the light of day after that screening.
However, what this post’s story is really about concerns a sheet of paper that was handed out after the stinker program with Mr. Sales. This paper was a questionnaire asking our opinion of how likely we would be in watching another type of show that was being pitched. The paper detailed the four main characters of the proposed sit-com and some of the situations they would be involved with.
I do recall giving this program quite low marks and commented that I probably would not be interested in watching a television show set in Miami that featured the adventures of four elderly women, two of which were a mother-daughter pair, who spent most of the time in their kitchen eating cheesecake.
While the name of the program was never listed on the questionnaire, it is now obvious that the proposed television program was The Golden Girls, a show that was wildly successful during its seven-season run (1985-1992). It also included me as one of its most ardent viewers as it was appointment television during my college years.
While there are many more stories of me making horrible predictions (usually revolving around presidential election and Super Bowl contests), this last story is about a prediction that I actually hit on the head – thus proving the adage that even a broken clock is right twice a day.
The place is Minneapolis, Minnesota and the time is January 1991. I have bought myself a brand new notebook so that I can write down all of the interesting, fascinating, and creative ideas that will pop into my head. As the year begins, I decided to jot down my predictions as to what will occur in the next dozen months. Reproduced in all of its glory is that page…
I will direct your attention to the last prediction, “By the end of the year, Gorbachev will be out of power” This is a reference to Mikhail Gorbachev, who at the time, was the leader of the Soviet Union.
Other than some grumblings about his fast pace of reform with his policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring), I can’t recall any hints that Gorbachev would lose power in the near future so I don’t know why I made this prediction.
As it turned out, Mikhail Gorbachev would indeed be out of power on December 25, 1991, when he resigned his position as President and indeed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics itself ceased to exist.
Pay no attention to the other predictions as I got all of those wrong also.
That’s my story.
P.S. If you’re wondering why I happen to have old copies of SPY and my creative journals from the 1990s lying around the house…well, that’s another story.