One of my greatest proficiencies in high school was the operation of a Bell & Howell 16mm film projector. I was highly sought by teachers who wished to show one of those movies that had been shipped out in a strapped box from the Department of Education.
Quite frankly, most of them were awful. They all had a lead-in that told you that the film was the property of the state of Georgia, accompanied on the soundtrack was a rousing version of "Dixie."
Most of them were black and white and were produced in the '50s. The films had been shown so many times that the sprockets were worn and the film would jump the gate. This resulted in an annoying movement on the screen and made it sound as if everyone had a stuttering problem.
I remember a particular film about computers. They showed this computer that was a giant monstrosity with tubes. It took up a whole room and spit out the information on little cards.
Well, sure enough they under-predicted the future of computers. We've got computers you can hold in your hand that can do as much stuff as that old tube-type device.
Computers were so impressive. You could see them for yourself on black and white TV.
Batman had a computer down in the Batcave and could enter a few clues, like "frozen," "dessert," and "downtown" and find that Mr. Freeze was at the Gotham City Ice Cream factory.
OK, maybe it wasn't so impressive.
But then they started showing us what computers could really do.
The Jetsons had a computerized robot housekeeper named Rosie, who kept everything just neat as a pin. I'm still waiting on Rosie to show up at my house.
Walt Disney had a few ideas about the future. When Epcot opened in 1982, it was billed as the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It was what life was going to be like in 2000. They had houses that cleaned themselves and then, just push a button and dinner was served.
I've looked all over the house and I can't find that button to save my life.
And what ever happened to the Robinson family on Lost in Space. They were supposed to leave for Alpha Centauri in 1997. You would have thought they would have found the promised land by now.
If they're still floating around out there, I wish they'd swing by in the Jupiter II and pick up a few extra passengers, like Mike, Paris and Lindsey. I'm told the people on their respective planets would like to have them back.
Some of those actors who appeared in those old school movies are probably retired by now. I wonder if they, like me, thought we'd see all that stuff promised by that futuristic year 2000.
I'm still holding out for some of the long predicted future to come true. I'd like to trade my current hunk of junk in for one of those flying cars, like they promised in the movies. If I have to, I'll wear one of those aluminum foil suits, if it'll keep me out of traffic.
I was also hoping that on some days, they'd have some kind of robot that could write my column when I either suffered a bout of writer's block or wanted to go fishing.
But if you nice folks like the robot better than me, well, never mind, I'll be back next week slaving over last year's model of computer.