“One day after he was named to succeed Bill Parcells as the Jets’ head coach, Bill Belichick made a sudden reversal today and resigned instead… Parcells was not available for comment today, and the team’s president, Steve Gutman, declined to speculate on anything about the future.” — The New York Times, page A1, January 5, 2000


NYT: So, Steve, any thoughts about who you’re going to turn to next?

SG: Not any that I’m willing to share with you.

NYT: Aw, c’mon Steve. Just a little hint?

SG: No.

NYT: Okay. That’s fine, that’s fine. Fair enough. (Long pause.) So, let’s switch gears for a little bit. What about the future? Do you think there’ll ever be any cars that can fly? You know, in ten, twenty years?

SG: I’m really not at liberty to say.

NYT: Hm. (Pause.) Well, let’s continue with the future theme. What about meals in a pill? Seems to me like we’ve been waiting a long time for those, and they still haven’t arrived.

SG: I have no comment on that.

NYT: (Pause, dejected. Then eagerly:) You know what would be really cool? Transporter beams. Like on “Star Trek.” You think that’ll happen within our lifetime?

SG:. I can’t confirm or deny anything about that.

NYT: All right then, I understand. I’ll stop with the future stuff. (Pause. Pause.) But you’ve got to just let me ask this one thing: Back when I was a kid, everybody thought that, in the year 2000, we’d all wear shiny metallic unitards. That doesn’t seem to have happened. You think it ever will?

SG: Look, I really don’t think it’s appropriate for us to speculate about the future at this time.

NYT: Oh. (Looks crestfallen.)

SG: Listen. I’ll tell you what: Can we go off the record for a minute here?

NYT: (Perks up.) Sure!

SG: Now, you promise, you’re not going to run any of this?

NYT: Promise.

SG: Between you and me, the unitard thing is going to happen.

NYT: No kidding?

SG: Yup. My sources in the garment industry tell me they’re no more than three years away. Four years, tops.

NYT: (Impressed.) Damn.

SG: Also — and this is still off the record — the flying cars ain’t gonna happen.

NYT: Why’s that?

SG: Well, it’s not so much a matter of engineering — they could build them today if they wanted to — as it is a matter of simple economics. The amount of fuel one of those things consumes is totally out of proportion to any sort of economic benefit it would generate. Also, let’s face it, even if they were economically feasible, legislating the traffic byways of flying cars would be a nightmare — would they simply fly above the roads? Could a stalker hover above your backyard if he wanted to? And you’ve got to figure that the amount of crashes, at least in the early years, would expose manufacturers to litigation that would make thalidomide look like a walk in the park.

NYT: Hm. I guess I never thought of it that way.

SG: Of course you didn’t. No one ever does. But listen, staying off the record?

NYT: (Nods eagerly.)

SG: The hovercar may not happen, but personal jetpacks are nearly here.

NYT: Really?

SG: As a novelty device, I mean. To rent at beaches and boardwalks, in highly controlled environments. Not that anyone would want to use them for commuting, anyway, what with them being so uncomfortable and cumbersome.

NYT: Heh. Who knew?

SG: Also, we’re just a few innovations away from having robot pets. And the U.S. government is secretly experimenting with underwater cities, using giant bubbles made out of the latest space-age polymers. The people who live there, they would subsist on kelp. (Pauses, then:) Of course, this is all off the record.

NYT: Of course.