Paul Turner: Predictions for the next 50 years

November 25, 2018 GMT

I have a tradition of attending a Detroit Lions home game once every 50 years.

Oh, I didn’t realize it was going to become a thing when my parents took me to Tiger Stadium in fall 1968, when I was 13 and seriously into the National Football League. But when my brother-in-law took me to a game Thursday, I saw that a pattern was in place.

(For those keeping score, the Lions gave up a lead in that 1968 game to wind up tied with the Green Bay Packers, 14-14. In last week’s annual Thanksgiving contest, the Lions gave up a lead to lose to the Chicago Bears. That game was played indoors at Ford Field. Those are the only two NFL games I’ve seen in person.)


So I guess, if I stick to this schedule, the next game I attend will be in 2068. Of course, that assumes I will still be around at 113.

But I couldn’t help noticing last week that the experience of attending an NFL game has changed a lot in 50 years. Not entirely for the better, I would argue.

Still, it makes me wonder. How will things change in the next 50 years – not just in pro football but in American life?

I’ve made a little list. Just guessing here.

The Detroit Lions, who have been around since 1934, still will not have been to a Super Bowl.

Many parents in Spokane will be naming their children Judy and Elroy.

Spangle will have the second largest population in Spokane County.

Commenters on Spokane neighborhood watch blogs will still be sounding the alarm about suspicious looking bicyclists.

Casualty lists from the third Water War (California and the Southwest vs. the Northwest) will be posted in Amazon Park (formerly known as Riverfront Park).

Because of a series of cascading events prompted by unfortunate election results in other parts of the country, the Inland Northwest will look much as it did in the post-apocalyptic 1997 movie “The Postman.”

The Seattle Mariners will be hoping 2069 is their year.

No one will smoke.

Old guys in Spokane will still get a bang out of restoring 20th-century cars, though driving vehicles with internal combustion engines will be illegal.

“Soylent Green” will be proposed as a way to deal with Seattle’s overpopulation.

In the walled-off enclave of Spokane Valley, schools will teach the certain approach of the end times.

Maynard G. Krebs, the last man in Spokane to use physical money, will be saluted with a commemorative coin affectionately known as “the Marmot,” a reference to an irascible animal that lived in Spokane before going extinct in 2041.


People at family gatherings will laugh about how wearing white socks was cool back in the 2020s.

Inland Northwesterners will finally have stopped joking about modern mass transit being powered by gas produced from lentils.

Seattle’s National Hockey League team will have moved to Spokane because it could no longer afford the rent over there.

With the wildfire season in our area now lasting 10 months, the wearing of full-fledged gas masks all day will no longer seem noteworthy.

On Jan. 12, 2029, South Hill turkeys will become self-aware and subsequently rise up.

Children will be alarmed to learn their great-grandmothers wore something called a miniskirt, occasionally around open food.

A charismatic rebel neurologist named Joshua X will emerge from Peaceful Valley and lead a movement known as The Extractors. They are dedicated to performing clandestine backroom brain surgeries in which small smartphones (implanted in all our skulls since 2039) are removed, a process known as Orwelling.

The Food Laws of 2024 will place heavy taxes on products using high fructose corn syrup.

Calling someone “a celebrity” will have long since become a slur.

Time travel will allow us to go back and determine what the Founding Fathers actually were thinking when they drafted the Second Amendment.

Advocates of creating new ultraconservative breakaway states will be encouraged to colonize Mars instead.

Rambling on even though you don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about will be regarded as a misdemeanor – subject to citizen’s arrest – except at Thanksgiving.

People will shake their heads about the idea that back in the day proposals for Spokane housing developments could get approved without having provisions for sidewalks.

Mispronouncing “Spokane” will be punishable by a $100 fine. (Surprisingly, this will survive several free speech challenges.)

In 2065, Boise is the fourth-largest city in the nation.

Drinking and driving (even in a self-driving car) will be punishable by banishment to the moon, as will employing helpline tech representatives who cannot be understood over the phone by your grandfather, who isn’t a racist by the way.

People will still be talking about how the WSU community reacted to the accident involving the UW band way back in 2018.