Dear Future Fred, It has been a few weeks since I have written you to spoon-feed you content for the 100th anniversary retrospective of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic that you are putting together in the year 2120.
Yes, I realize Future Reporter Fred that for you it was just a matter of flipping a few more pages in the dusty bound volumes of The Star News, but work with me here for a little bit. There is no reason to get pushy about it.
As you probably have covered in your history books, 2020 has so far been something of a hot mess as far as all the things that have occurred in the country and world. It has become a pastime for many people to attempt to predict the next big thing that will happen.
Some people have gone so far as to create Bingo-style cards filled with potential scenarios for disaster. At last I checked, an alien invasion will assure a lot of people victories — discounting the almost certain doom and mass destruction such an invasion would cause. Of course, for the people who had murder hornets on their cards and didn’t expect any chance of winning, they are rooting for either solar flare or a near-earth asteroid as dual paths to victory after already getting the riots, mass unemployment and renewed nuclear tension spots out of the way. The people who had a tropical storm plowing into Wisconsin thought they were out of the game until a few weeks ago.
I suppose I am assuming that Bingo is a game still played there in 2120. For all I know you have devised new ways to pass the time. I imagine virtual reality Bingo halls that are designed to mimic what it’s like to sit in a smoky casino playing high-stakes Bingo.
Just in case you are unfamiliar with the game, in Bingo there are cards with randomly assigned patterns of numbers in a grid with the letters of Bingo at the head of each column. A person using a machine filled with numbered balls calls out randomly selected number and letter combinations. If they have that number, players either cover it with a token of some sort, or blot it out with a special marker. Winning is achieved by filling up a row either vertically or horizontally. Other variations allow either inside or outside four corners or some sort pre-determined pattern.
The most high stakes version of the game is blackout where the first person to get their card completely covered wins the game.
At this point, I really am hoping that 2020 is not a blackout game and that someone wins soon, because this stuff is kind of getting out of hand now.
This weekend marks the Fourth of July holiday where Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence by blowing up fireworks. Normally, I would be logging in several miles hawking popcorn in the Medford City Park or dishing out snow cones to people looking to cool off. With the ongoing pandemic, this year there will be fireworks in the park, but not much else and we are all being asked to keep our distance from one another.
The pandemic has divided people into three large groups: The deniers who claim it is all a conspiracy or at least has been wildly blown out of proportion and who gleefully flaunt any recommendations and spend countless hours refuting medical experts with things they saw on social media.
The doomsayers who make sure their bug-out bags are packed and necessities are secure and who don’t leave the house without a mask, gloves and who have not interacted in person with other non-family members on months.
The cautious middle which is made up of everyone else. These folks are working to find a balance between an abundance of caution and carelessness and simply want things to return to normal sometime soon.
I leave it to you Future Fred to know which one was most accurate.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.