[Kelly’s Newspaper Column]
Time flies! 2018! How can it be nearly twenty years since the whole Y2K drama? And how can it be just two years from something so sci-fi sounding as 2020? As they say, oh my how time flies.
That year, 2020, just sounds so utterly cool. It’s not my imagination that it seems like a science fiction number. Plenty of movie makers thought so too.
A film from the year 2000 from director Brian DePalma, Mission to Mars, was set in 2020. The recent movie, from 2015, The Martian, starring Matt Damon, was set in 2035. That too is just a blink away.
A quick Google search reveals several films set in 2020, with names that sound ominous. Annihilation Earth; Edge of Tomorrow; Droid; Code Name Phoenix; Future X-Cops; Reign of Fire; Stranded; Supervolcano; Yesterday; Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet; and my favorite, Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys.
What once seemed so futuristic is just about 700 days away. Days go fast. Time FLIES!
In 1920, could they possibly have imagined our current day to day life? Highly doubtful. So much changes and changes so quickly. I cannot venture what life will be life ten years from now, much less a hundred years.
The average cost of own a home in 1920 was $3000. You could buy a loaf of bread for a dime, and a car for $290. A refrigerator would cost about the same as a car. Luxury items both. Today it might cost you a grand to get a fridge, and about $30,000 for that new car. My, how times have changed.
Henry Ford making an automobile that the middle class could afford truly changed the nation. People could now take longer trips and that created a need for gas stations and hotels and tourist attractions. Can you imagine kids in the 1800s begging for a trip to Disney World? They could not have fathomed such a thing.
The average annual salary in the 1920s for a school teacher was $970. (Oh, to buy a car or a fridge?!) An industrial worker made more, at about $1,400. The 1920 population was about 105.7 million. In 2015, 318.9 million. World population in 1920 was 1,944,000,000.
1920 was an important year of change. That was the year that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution gave women the right to vote. We also had the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, which outlawed the production and consumption of alcohol and was more commonly known as Prohibition. Hello, Al Capone.
That time in history was a time of invention and progress. We welcomed washing machines and vacuum cleaners into our homes, and Drano became available to start unclogging household drains and toilets. The first commercial radio station in the US hit the airwaves in 1920, Pittsburgh’s KDKA. Just three years later, there were more than 500 radio stations in the country, and home radios became mass produced.
“Progressive times” means many things. For example, the word “robot” was first used in a 1920 play, R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), and was derived from the Slavic word for “slave labor.” Look how far we’ve come.
And on a sad note, look how far we have not come. A horse-drawn wagon filled with explosives was blown up on Wall Street in New York City, killing 38 people and injuring hundreds. The perpetrators were never caught.
One hundred years. In fifty years, I will be just over one hundred years old. I still plan to be around. I have zero idea what will exist then. Recent advances in technology boggle my mind now. Then? I can only imagine. And hope to still be able to write about it.