I don’t know how many times people have told me that 2023 went by as fast as a jackrabbit or as slow as the tortoise that beat it. Looking back on the previous year, one tries to grasp what events were meaningful or memorable. You would need 20-24 hindsight to put 2023 into perspective, so to speak.

Before I go on, I was thinking about the New Year’s thing, where that little newborn baby in a diaper unceremoniously kicks out the old gentleman with the cane and long white beard. That seems a bit discourteous to me, so I propose that we celebrate “Old Year’s Day” on December 31, 2024, and give that old guy a modicum of dignity.
Anyhow, it’s the first week of January, which means prognosticators and self-appointed pundits are making their predictions for the year ahead, from politics to sports to the weather. Some make a lot of sense, but others require a stretch of the imagination.

Consider these predictions from years past:
The president of Western Union turned down an offer to buy the patent for the telephone from Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, predicting that it was just a toy and “the idea is idiotic on the face of it.”

Back in 1900, an engineer predicted that in the future, the letters C, X, and Q would no longer be part of the alphabet. In 1906, band leader John Philip Sousa predicted that record players would stop the populace from learning to play musical instruments.
A respected surgeon in England said in 1911 that by the year 2024, the human foot would have evolved into one big toe. Also in 1911, Thomas Edison predicted in an interview that all our furniture and even our houses would be stainless steel.

A college professor at USC predicted in 1924 that tractors and automobiles would drive the horse into near-extinction and that by 2024 horses would only be seen in a zoo.
Another smart guy, Nicola Tesla, in 1937 believed that now everyone would have stopped drinking coffee. A British designer said in 1939 that by 2024, we would have banished buttons, pockets, collars, and ties and that men’s hats would be an antenna.

In 1950, AP writer Dorothy Roe said her “scientific evidence” proved that by 2000, ALL women would be six feet tall.

Popular Science magazine wrote in 1951 that by 2001, personal helicopters would replace the family automobile, and in 1956, the U.S. Postmaster General believed that mail would be delivered by guided missiles.

Arthur C. Clarke postulated in 1966 that we’d all be living in flying houses, and just ten years ago, in 2014, a technology expert said that nanotechnology would make telepathy and teleportation possible by the year 2024.

If that’s not all, before she died in 1996, Bulgarian soothsayer Baba Vanga forecasted a technological revolution this year with artificial intelligence leading the coup, causing upheavals in finance, healthcare and cybersecurity. On the other hand, she also prophesied that cures for Alzheimer’s and cancer will be announced.

As for doom and gloom, that sourpuss for end-of-the-world prophecies, Nostradamus wrote in his 1566 treatise that in 2024, “The dry earth will grow more parched, and there will be great floods when it is seen.” Dang. His modern-day devotees say his writings also imply there will be a new Pope before this year is out, and King Harry will take the throne in England.

Keep in mind that his predictions for last year were the coming of the antichrist as well as a full-blown World War III.

Meanwhile, back down here on Earth, we’re supposed to get down to business and make our New Year’s resolutions, declaring to the world our personal commitments, or at least how we hope to do better. But frankly, I find the word resolution a little too absolute, as in not enough wiggle room, and thought about replacing resolutions with the word intentions, although I’ve heard the road to you-know-where is paved with good intentions.

Regardless, in 2024 I intend to:
-Give Alexa a piece of my mind.
-Learn the salute to the flag of New Mexico by heart. I know, I know, it’s only 20 words: “I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.”
-Not act my age.
-Eat healthier except for the occasional turkey leg.
-Learn to use TikTok. For no apparent reason.
Otherwise, someone told me that for a good 2024 to write down sad or bad events of the past year and throw the list into a fire, not unlike Magdalena’s burning of the Piñata, and supposedly any negativity will just go up in smoke and won’t carry over.
Somebody hand me a legal pad, please.