A QUANTUM CHRISTMAS CARD FROM A COLUMNIST’S FUTURE

Dear readers,

Greetings from December, 2030. The Christmas tree has been decorated, the dog has antlers on, and there’s a cup of mulled wine and a jellyfish sandwich waiting on my writing desk. And thanks to Beijing Telecom, I can communicate backwards in time with q-mail.

Monsanto’s unfortunate Ebola/E. coli mixup of 2028 is now yesterday’s news. As some of you will one day remember, a continental outbreak of hemorrhagic fever sent zombies lurching across the land in search of retail therapy at long-gone malls (memories of brick-and-mortar shopping die hard). Drone strikes are picking off the last of the Canadian Undead as I dictate this.

Artwork by Anthony Freda www.anthonyfreda.com
Artwork by Anthony Freda

My partner doesn’t care much for the sound of drones, but I find the buzz from above soothing: a background hum of security courtesy the military-industrial toy shop (yes, I’ve become a bit more conservative with age, news which will horrify my younger, touchy-feely self). Still, I occasionally feel nostalgic for a time when drone flights were fewer in number. The ongoing accidents on the Matternet are troubling.

In fact, my drone-flown book from Amazon.ca collided on Black Friday with someone’s cannabis package vectoring in from Washington State.  Ironically, I had ordered a copy of From Jail to Judiciary by Canadian Supreme Court justice Mark Emery (sometimes the universe will just arrange these weird little juxtapositions, for whatever reason).

Speaking of accidents, three weeks ago I slipped on some ice and broke my hip. Our home 3D printer was on the fritz, so I arrived at VGH without a replacement pelvic part in hand, which made for extra paperwork and a prolonged wait in the hospital’s McDonaldland. (This reminds me of an old joke. “THEN: getting out to a new, hip joint. NOW: getting a new hip joint.”)

I’m OK now, but I’m not big on aging for a number of reasons. For example, I can’t bear to part with obsolescent gadgets. I still wear my Google glasses on walks around the block, undeterred by shouts of “Ebenezer” from the neighbourhood kids and their volley of snowballs. That ballistic risk is year-round I might add, now that global cooling has gone from  pseudoscience to Ice Age reality. Who’d have thought back in 2013 that industries would get credits to pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to fend off glaciation and a return of The Ice Capades?

Where was I? Oh yes — my old school, search-engine spectacles. I could never get with the global brain implant craze. Yours Truly already had a sense of foreboding back in 2010, when Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt said brain implants would be an example of something crossing the company’s “creepy line,” adding, “at least for the moment until the technology gets better.” Look it up, I’m not kidding. You still have time to determine your future. That goes double for shutting down the Large Hadron Collider before Skrulls discover it as a galactic portal.

Though I grumble and curse like most seniors — especially about the chill factor and the outrageous drone/hipstercopter accident rate —  I still think Vancouver is a far better place to live than anywhere south of the border. After red state zombies devoured Secretary of State Gaga and her staff, they formed a Political Action Committee and went negative with attack ads. As a result, the Congressional Undead have been granted immunity from Terminator strikes by President Bezos — the most disturbing American development since the crucifixion of Russell Brand at Madison Square Gardens in 2025.

Here in B.C., we may have cold-adapted pine beetles the size of bricks, but at least we’re not using proton bazookas to fight off huge, ambulatory jellyfish and sentient barnacles, like Japan’s coast guard. Perhaps it’s the background radiation, but things seem to happen faster now than when I was younger, which is not always such a bad thing. As you know, it took years for the Canadian Royal Mint to take the penny back. What you don’t know yet is that it took under a year to take the nickel back, and then just two months for legislation to take out Nickelback.

So a toast of mulled wine to you, my loyal readers of the past. Happy holidays, and may you one day shop until “they” drop (the last remaining zombies of Upper Cascadia, that is).

The Vancouver Courier, Dec. 13

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