Future Shock ... With Pulp

When I was a youngster growing up in the wonderful 1970's (with its Vietnam War and recession and inflation and high interest rates and energy crisis and hostage crisis and Watergate and long gas lines and general overall feeling of malaise) I looked with anticipation toward the "future."

There we were back there in 1972/1973/1974. We had been to the moon a bunch of times. We had the Skylab space station in orbit. We had spacecraft headed for Mars. We had the animated Star Trek series on Saturday morning TV. Heck, we figured by the 21st century we'd all be living in space! The future was going to be great!!

Well, here we are in the "future" -- 2007. More than a half dozen years into the new century. The 21st century. Hmmm ... you know what? The "future" is not at all what I thought it would be.

In fact, the "future" is downright boring.

Somehow, we seem further away from the "future" now than we did way back in the 1970's. (Don't think too hard about the logic of that statement -- it will just tie your brain up in knots for hours.) For instance, we still have to shovel snow. We still have to vacuum our houses. We still have to digest food in order to survive. What happened to the little nutrient pills that were supposed to take the place of food? What happened to the domestic robots that were supposed to clean our houses? What happened to the heated driveways ... not to mention the whole notion of controlling the weather? It's the 21st century and we're still at the whim of Mother Nature. This just isn't right!

Oh sure, sure, we've all got personal computers in our homes linking us to a universe of information, making it seem like we're all living in some futuristic state. With the touch of a button I can conjure up any manner of factoid -- from in-depth information on every health issue know to modern medicine, to every line of dialogue from every Three Stooges episode ever made (even the Curly Joe episodes). Other than that, boring!

Even our clothing is boring. What happened to the one-piece Titanium jumpsuits we thought we'd all be wearing by the year 2001? What happened to the gravity boots? What happened to the thruster backpack units that were supposed to transport us from here to there? Instead, all we've got are baggy sweatpants and T-shirts emblazoned with foul words that I can't mention here on this blog. That's no way to boldly go into the future!

Let's face it, there's nothing of any great note happening here in the year 2007. No big goals for the human race to achieve. No grand ideals for the human race to aspire to. No action plan to work toward. Nothing but business as usual - the daily grind - here in the painfully dull "future." (And if that's not dull enough, we still have to pay income tax! This is nuts!)

So, with that said, I went out looking for something exciting to entertain my brain here in the hopelessly average "future." What is it that sets 2007 apart from, say, 1975? I searched and searched. We're at war, but then again we've been at war in the past so that's no different. The majority of us believe in God, but belief in God predates the 21st century so that's no different. We reproduce in order to perpetuate the species, but that's been going on for hundreds of years so no difference there. We still breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide - that hasn't changed. It's still three strikes and you're out. It's still a pair of Jacks to open. It's still four quarts to a gallon. And it's still "i" before "e" except after "c." No change.

I searched and searched, and searched some more. Until finally I happened upon the one big difference ... orange juice.

That's right, orange juice. Have you examined orange juice lately? You can get it with "No Pulp" or "Pulp Free," which is how my kids like it. You can also get it with "Low Pulp" or "Some Pulp," which is how I like it (I like an orange juice I can sink my teeth into). You can get it with "Medium Pulp," whatever that might mean (perhaps chunks larger than a blueberry but smaller than a golf ball). You can also get your orange juice with "Much Pulp" (which I believe means with the rind still on it -- a bit too chewy for my taste).

Orange juice now comes in "Country Style," "Home Squeezed," with "Extra Vitamins," with "Low Acid," with Vitamins A, B1, C, D, E, and even Zinc (no Titanium, though). You can get a "Heart Wise" variety (for those with cholesterol issues) or "Orange Passion" flavor (with guava) or even mixed with tangerine. You can also have your orange juice with Calcium added (heck, who needs milk!). See all the different ways you can get your orange juice in the year 2007!!

Hmmmm ... I told you the future is boring.

Jack Sheedy

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