Sometimes I like to sit alone in a completely darkened room and smoke a big, stinking cigar. If somehow you were able to hide in a corner of this room and observe me, all you'd be able to see would be the glowing red part of the cigar getting really red and then getting dimmer. All you would be able to hear would be: Ssssssck. Sssck. Sssssckk. Ssska-hackough! Ga-haoughk! Hhhgacough! Houacckk!?! Kack! Kaargh! Gaargk! Kck!!! Kack! K!!! Agchk!! [silence] Sssck. Sssssckk, etc.

But I see and hear something completely different when I'm alone, in my darkened chamber, sucking on my filthy cigar. Which was supposed to be from Cuba. Because that is where all the finest cigars come from. But how can you tell since they all smell like ignited dog crap when you ignite them and if you inhale on them you die? Ha-rummph! Humph!

As I phoof on my nasty cigar and my mind struggles for vital oxygen, I see things. Not just any things. I don't like to brag on it, but when I am in my Chamber of Smokitude, I can see Things to Come, aka The Future. But look, it's not Your Future, OK? Disclaimer: It's My Future. The Future of Stuff That Is Important to Me. Me, Me, Me, in Capital Letters, Me. Ho-oouuagh! Hagck!

It shall come to pass that all the cars running on gas right now will run on hydrogen, an underrated element. Hydrogen got a bad rap after that Hindenburg mess with the humanities and everything, but H is gonna come back big time. Cough. Harghk!

This will only be after some of the countries that have all the oil are burning so brightly they can be seen from the moon, where that kid from the musical group — I can't remember if he's from the Backstreet Boys or the 'N Sync — anyway, they're gonna shoot that kid to the moon in his own personal rocket. Lance. That's his name, Lance. Everybody's gonna get so sick of this Lance wanting to go into space that they're finally gonna ship his ass to the moon free of charge. But he can't come back. He's going to phone home and tell everybody he can see fires burning, but nobody will care because the cars all run on hydrogen now since they figured out that hydrogen is a little easier to be addicted to than oil. Ack! Kaff!

The sports collectives of the future will all compete in pick-up games. No more of this teams-being-the-same-for-a-whole-year bullshit. The millionaire athletes will be randomly selected for a venue and they will choose sides before any sporting event. This will be great because it will finally be about the game and not about who has the best logo or whatever. Plus, the huge planetary gambling industry will be strengthened thanks to the spread of personally communicating electronic devices (powered by hydrogen) enabling degenerate gamblers everywhere to get their bets down during the brief moments following the choosing up of sides prior to any game. This time period for wagering will be factored into all sporting events either through TV commercial time (until Television as We Know It is destroyed) or during the national anthem. Hargh! Harggk! Hak!

That guy who used to be fat but lost all the weight on the Subway commercial because all he ate was subs, subs, every fucking day, subs from Subway, over and over, will get fat again. And he'll still eat at Subway. Harrcgk! Carfpgh!

Pants with most of the underpants sewn on the outside above the waist is gonna be a sudden craze. No more pulling up your pants all the time to get your drawers to show at just the right angle any more. This will be a boon to the underpants factories, because people who wear these pants are gonna start wearing underpants under them, and having them stick out a little for the fashion effect. Arrrhumph. Armph!

The great Scientific Minds of The Future will figure out that the problem with food is that when you cook it, food becomes poison, basically. Carcinogenic. The cooking of food will be made against the law, and only really rich people will be able to get the forbidden delicacy of Cooked Food from the illicit Cooked Food Network run by South American and Icelandic Food Cartels. After a while, only those rich motherfuckers who got the cooked food will get cancer and gout and stuff like that. It will be a status symbol to have cancer, and many celebrities, such as Marlee Matlin and Jim Belushi, will allude to their "health problems," on the late-night talk shows, but then it will all be a big joke because cancer will be cured by over-the-counter medications made from some junk out of all those cell stems or whatever, plus some hydrogen. Urf! Kurph! Hurph!

Cigarettes will always be legal because the cigarette companies paid out all that money in those lawsuits, so they will be able to do whatever the fuck they want and, after the cure for cancer is found, the cigarette companies will sue all the relatives of anybody who sued them for getting cancer in the first place, so the cigarette companies will be rich and they will own all the hydrogen farms, and, as everyone already knows, you can't drive very far in your car without any hydrogen, can you? Uhcgk! Cuaghk!

Somebody somewhere is gonna clone Hitler, and Hitler.2 is gonna make a lot of money starring in an advertising campaign for the new Hydrogen-Volkswagen. Kaff! Hak! Urrgh!

Advertising will become illegal after the whole Hydrogen-Volkswagen-Hitlermobile incident. Oougckh!

Getting back to the cooked-food thing: Using hydrogen, government scientists at 7-Eleven (7-Eleven having been recognized by the United Nations as a discontiguous Sovereign Nation) will develop a hot dog that does not need to be cooked but will still be sold off the stainless-steel hot dog-roller thing because that's how everybody likes them. Umpf! Cumpf! Urmf!

Joe MacLeod writes for City Paper, where the original version of this feature apperead. E-mail comments to [email protected]

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