Do you remember George Orwell's famous book, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)? I remember the world of "Big Brother" and surveillance, and I remember being uneasy about the future, as were most sane people, those being the only kind of people I was allowed to associate with in my youth. While I was intrigued by what might actually come true, 1984 was still a million years away to a kid in 1972. What twelve-year-old thought of the future in anything other than vague terms?
When 1984 finally arrived, my friends and I were too busy having fun to be terrified. We were too busy listening to U2 and Prince. We were wearing our hair in massive displays of our egos: big, dyed fountains for the women; spiked and blown cuts for the guys. 1984 came and it went. Now, when you think of 1984, do you think of Orwell's terrible vision of a society gone haywire? I don't. I think of incredible bands, the silly parachute pants we all wore, and those Members Only jackets the lucky among us owned. Most of all, I think, "I sure miss the '80s. Those were good times." 1984 turned out to be a little better than we were led to believe.
Now, here we are in 2011, where 27 years have elapsed since 1984. That's more than a quarter of a century of Father Time zipping by in his little red sports car, and here we find ourselves, supposedly at the end of a big journey. America is at a cross-roads, and it's as if new books are being written: 2021: The End of Retirement as We Know it. 2030: Calamity and Chaos in the Streets. These books - ones that fear is authoring in our minds and our nightmares - are every bit as scary as 1984 was when it first came out, back in 1949. But, 2021 will come and go, and 2030 will get here soon enough. And, there will be bands singing great songs, silly new hairstyles, and odd clothes that will precisely define the era. Most of all, there will be an America, and it will be a future generation's "good times." This isn't the funniest column I've written in a while, but sometimes, we have to put the chuckles aside and remember who we are, where we came from, and where we're going, before we can laugh again.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org