Sunday, October 19, 2014

Time Capsule

So, this was something I submitted for publication in a Boston newspaper, but it was not run. This was because of one reason or the other.

One Reason - It was submitted a little late to be scheduled during a timeframe when it would still be current.

The Other - The editor didn't like it.

Well, hell, it couldn't be that. Anyway, it's fairly Boston-centric, but I'm sure all of you - from Boston or not - will get the gist of it. And my tears from it not being published will be dried via your wonderfully kind-hearted and complimentary comments.

Either that or I've submitted it to you just a little late.


The other day, while repairs were being done on the lion and unicorn from atop the Old State House, a time capsule from 1901 was found inside of the lion's head. The stuff in that time capsule will be sorted out; as of my writing, we don't know everything in there. The most interesting thing to me, however, is the plan to encase a new time capsule for future historians to find. The Bostonian Society is actively soliciting suggestions as to what should go in it.

First, I think we should concentrate on things that are now extant but which may not be when this new time capsule is opened. The Constitution, for instance. We should probably enclose some sort of proofs that it wasn't just a work of fiction dreamed up by utopian crackpots, but was actually the guiding force behind an oddly successful country known as The United States of America. I'm not sure what those proofs would be, though. Maybe news reports showing the Supreme Court dopeslapping elected officials who tried to ignore it? Do we have any of those handy?

Some money would probably be interesting to those who crack open our time capsule. What with debit cards, internet transactions, and other cashless ways to purchase, they may not know what money is aside from lovely portraits of some guys with bizarre taste in hairstyles. We won't explain the truncated pyramid with a floating eye; let them try to figure it out same as us.

That painting by Norman Rockwell showing a family gathered around a dining table for Thanksgiving might be an interesting curiosity. I rather doubt Thanksgiving will still be a holiday by then (at least, not if Macy's has anything to say about it.)

We might consider including a cell phone, along with some photos of what happened when our citizens used such devices to text while driving. There should also be some photos showing people camping out for days in front of stores in order to buy the things, then throw in a few photos of Soviet citizens lining up to purchase toilet paper in the 1960s. Let our descendants decide which was the more interesting human behavior.

I think a copy of this year's ballot, with four referendum questions, would be a good thing to include, with the following explanation: “We used to let our people vote to include or not include certain things in the law. Then our legislators ignored that vote unless they agreed with it anyway.” Attach the results of the 2000 vote to lower the state income tax rate to 5%, just in case nobody believes that statement.

Finally, we should think about including some bacon cheeseburgers, booze and cigarettes since they may all be outlawed by then in the quest to lower government health care costs. But, knowing human nature, I'd lay even money the guy who opens the time capsule will take a belt, chow down and light up before looking at the rest of the things.

Soon, with more better stuff.