High Desert Sketches: Blind Bard of Big Bend predicts 2021

Art by Valerie “CrowCrumbs” Howard

Every culture from the dawn of history has attempted to predict the future. From the Greek and Roman period, soothsayers, oracles and sibyls made a decent living predicting future events. Most of these people were able to make a career out of their predictions by making them so ambiguous and misty that they could be interpreted in a dozen different ways. The best examples of the classical world were the oracles of Delphi. When warriors were on their way to battle, the oracles would always end their prophecy with “Sincerely, Yours,” or “Sincerely Yours,”. If the comma was after “sincerely,” they most likely were not going to come back. Repeat business for all of these predictors of the future was important for a long career. But one prophet, the Frenchman Michel de Nostredame (1503-1566) still has devoted followers today.

Among Nostradamus’ interesting predictions was air travel when he wrote, “People will travel safely through the sky.” He has also been credited with predicting the great London fire of 1666, “The blood of the just will be demanded of London burnt by fire in three times twenty plus six.” His work has also been interpreted to predict the death of the Kennedy brothers, 9/11, and even COVID-19.

The following passage is often interpreted as predicting World War I and the flu epidemic that killed over 50 million people directly afterwards: “The dreadful war which prepared in the West, the following year the pestilence will come, so very horrible that young, nor old, nor animal (will survive).”

Try not to feel too frustrated about our current predicament, though. Things could always be worse. After all, Nostradamus has also predicted an imminent zombie apocalypse, “The year of the great seventh number accomplished, it will appear at the time of the games of slaughter, not far from the age of the great millennium, when the dead will come out of their graves.” I was shocked to discover he did not predict that one of the brainless dead would become president of the United States.

Few people appreciate that one of the most accurate prophecy vehicles in our time is “The Simpsons.” Among other things, a preview of scripts from the popular animated show have predicted the following:

  1. That a three-eyed fish would be found in a reservoir fed by water from a nuclear power plant.
  2. That a white tiger would attack the popular Vegas acts of Siegfried and Roy.
  3. The idea of a watch you could use as a phone almost 20 years before the Apple Watch was released.
  4. Robotic librarians replacing librarians almost 20 years before reality.
  5. Predicted the 2014 outbreak of Ebola 17 years before it happened. In a scene from the episode “Lisa’s Sax,” Marge suggests a sick Bart read a book titled “Curious George and the Ebola Virus.”
  6. Long before Disney bought 21st Century Fox for an estimated $52.4 billion, one episode showed a sign in front of the studio’s headquarters revealing that it is “a division of Walt Disney Co.”
  7. MIT professor Bengt Holmström won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2016, six years after he was bet on to win the Nobel Prize in an episode.

Modern soothsayers and oracles are now called political pundits and TV talk show hosts. My predictions are free, and many of my readers feel the price is right. I would like to remind my readers that last year my prediction #12 was, “On the day of the Presidential election, President Tweet will announce that if he does not get every vote cast he will announce that the election was a fraud and he will barricade himself in the White House to save America.”

For the more mystical aspects of my prognostications, I visit the Marfa Lights overlook between Alpine and Marfa and pop a quarter in the magical coin operated viewer. My predictions for 2021 are as follows:

  1. When the brain-eating amoeba attacks former President Tweet, it will starve to death.
  2. When President Tweet next visits a hospital, he will mean to say, “I want a laboratory test,” but instead says, “I want my lobotomy test.”
  3. El Paso will ask to be annexed by New Mexico.
  4. Former President Tweet and his followers will hear a thunderous voice from the sky, “I said the Ten Commandments, not Ten Recommendations.”
  5. On January 19, the president will tweet our nuclear attack codes hoping to lower the attendance at Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration.

I find the predictions of the internationally renowned Presidio County Paranormal Society’s resident soothsayer, Catstradamus, to be fascinating; “In early 2021, a massive solar flare will hit earth, knocking out all electronic devices. After the social media-obsessed masses finish rioting over not being able to check their Facebook pages or access their money – realizing that money is fake in the process – there will be a moment of peace. Also, online influencers without marketable skills will die off without being able to post butt pictures on Instagram.”

I would like to remind my faithful readers that wearing masks, using hand sanitizers and recognizing social distancing can help lower the threat of COVID-19. Have a Happy New Year.