Back To The Future Missed on Cubs

Cubs Fan at MMP in 2009 ~ Make that 107 years (and counting)!

Cubs Fan at MMP in 2009
~ Make that 107 years (and counting)!

In what may have been “Back to The Future III,” (I no longer exactly recall the number in this three-movie theme sequence) the classic Michael J. Fox time travel movie predicted by their own exploration that they would time-land on October 21, 2015 – on the very day that the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series, ending their cursed attachment to 1908, the last time they emerged as baseball’s World Champions.

As it turns out, Marty McFly and Doc Brown must have slipped through a wormhole and landed them in an alternative universe. What we now know today from getting to October 21, 2015 by the old-fashioned one-tick-of-the-clock-at-a-time route and no detours is that this date simply turns out to be the day that the New York Mets swept the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, sending the woe begone North Siders and their loyal fans out into the bars of Wrigleyville to bend a few elbows before going home to sleep it off and wait another year under the weight of their long and rightfully owned umbrage as baseball’s “lovable losers.”

For the record, make that 107 years – and still counting.

Looking back to 1985, the year the original “Back To The Future” was released, it still amazes me how much we missed in our guesses on the look and feel of the everyday life that awaited us, thirty years hence, in 2015. As a past member of a research group back then known as “The World Future Society,” I have to say this – nobody but nobody I can remember really saw the whole landscape of immediacy that would take over our whole lives in what we now call the digital age. Like a lot of people, I had an Apple IIe computer and a dot-matrix printer that allowed me to write without using error correctable “white-out” liquid – and that seemed pretty amazing to me at the time. Of course, my Apple IIe had no hard drive. You had to save any material you wanted to keep on hundreds of floppy disks. – Man! How great was that over typewriters. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

In 1985, we were still waltzing along under the spell of Alvin Toffler’s 1970 best-seller book on the danger of changes that were occurring  in the culture at an accelerating rate that could soon possibly exceed or abilities for adaptation. Now that we are still surviving in 2015, we may even be able to reach for the assumption that Toffler may have been using a manual crank-handled adding machine to figure out his taxes at the 1970 time he dove into the future forecasting waters with such an ominously dire prediction.

Toffler did not see the digital technological exponential growth that would unfold as our vehicle for change in a faster changing world, nor could he have seen in 1970 how much it would change all of us and the immediate ways we get our news, communicate with others, or, in many instances, distract people into only “talking” with people who are not physically present with them at the time the “conversation” takes place.

Back in 1970, people who walked down the street talking to someone who wasn’t there were assumed to be psychotic. In 2015, maybe half the people you see on the street are talking to someone who isn’t there. But that observation sort of feeds the counter theory to everything I have been not too heavily expressing here today.

Maybe Alvin Toffler was correct in “Future Shock.” Maybe our change through digital technology is not so much a healthy adaptation to accelerating change in the culture. Maybe it is our mutation into a species of intelligent life that has no attention span tolerance for anything that cannot be expressed in five seconds or less by someone who is not present in the real time exchange – and by a message that is best said in code – or preferably by emoticon.

Some of us are guilty of using far too many words to be heard in 2015, but I make no apologies. I haven’t figured out how to enjoy the use of symbols as replacements for the writing dance that is only available with beautiful words and an earnest attempt to order them together in some kind of whole thought pattern.

This much is clear. – The more things change, the more they remain the same. – The Chicago Cubs are still waiting for their first World Series title since 1908. The New York Mets just swept the Cubbies, 4 games to none, by a Game Four final score at Wrigley of 8-3.





2 Responses to “Back To The Future Missed on Cubs”

  1. Rick B. Says:

    God bless the Cubs (though He obviously hasn’t): They’ve been providing a public service by building character for the team and its fans since 1909.

  2. Mark W Says:

    Very well put, Bill! I’m sending this to my millenial son, one of the generation born and reared entirely in the digital age.

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