Whether you get them right or not, it’s always fun to throw wild — sometimes silly — guesses at the wall and see if they stick. So what if most of them won’t delve anywhere near truthfulness, right? Right?
There are two immediate questions on your mind as you contemplate the new year ahead: (1) Which of the 37 unwanted free calendars that you got in the mail from the Nature Conservancy will you choose to grace your kitchen wall? and (2) Is this guy (meaning me) any good at predictions?
Given that I so uncannily read your mind just now, the answer to (2) should be obvious. But to address the question directly: Define “good.”
In 2020, I admit I didn’t see COVID-19 coming. But I did accurately predict that March would follow February. In ’21, all that Jan. 6 insurrectionary stuff blindsided me, sure. But I was dead on when I proclaimed that Donald Trump would not spend his post-White House years tending bar at Sir Froggy’s Pub in Soquel. I think my exact words were, “no way, no how.”
That means, if my math is correct, that’s a batting average of .500, which would make me the greatest ballplayer who ever lived. So, yeah, maybe I’m worth listening to.
By that reasoning, half of the predictions that follow for 2022 are going to be right on the money. Which ones? Well, therein lies all the fun. The betting windows are now open:
➤ Basketball star Klay Thompson will opt out of rejoining the Golden State Warriors and elect instead to choose to play for the Santa Cruz G League Warriors, partly to dominate cocky tourists in pickup beach volleyball matches at Main Beach and partly because of his unnatural obsession with the breakfast burritos at Pacific Point Market, right down the street from K-P Arena. Addressing a foil-wrapped “Barrel” burrito from Pacific Point, he’ll mumble at an impromptu news conference, “I can’t quit you.”
➤ Speaking of Santa Cruz’s basketball team, a groundswell of criticism of the team’s belligerent and “colonizing” team name will lead to a formal name change next fall. Mostly to save money on signage, the Warriors will become the Worriers, as a tribute to the team’s fans and their primary preoccupation whenever they have to park near the K-P Arena.
➤ Speaking of name changes, Cabrillo College will not, in fact, change its name. It will instead announce that the college will sever all ties with original namesake Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and henceforth be formally named after Carmen Cabrillo, a 1960s-era, Nicaragua-born, non-binary artist and peace activist who marched with Dolores Huerta. When reached at her home in New Mexico, the 92-year-old Huerta tells an enterprising reporter, “Never heard of her.” The ensuing scandal will tarnish both the college, for inventing a namesake heroine, and Huerta, for misusing a pronoun.
➤ The race for supervisor in the county’s Third District will be won by a political newcomer, a UC Santa Cruz sophomore and sociology major who has lived in his 2004 Subaru Outback for the past year and a half. The new supe will reveal in an introductory news conference that he ran for office literally for the office, announcing that he plans to move into the county building with his girlfriend and his pet cat, Rollo, as soon as he can find a decent futon.
➤ By the end of 2022, Santa Cruz County will rank among the leaders in California in vaccination rates of the new “Tre Shot” booster, a third vaccine booster to combat the new Sigma Lambda Nu variant of COVID-19 (following a second booster which will have come and gone by the summer). The Tre Shot will not in fact be a shot, but will be sold as gummies in convenient packs of 24 at Costco and be among the hottest gift items for the holiday season.
➤ UC Santa Cruz will announce that it is finally surrendering to the pandemic and giving up in-person instruction altogether, becoming the first purely online university in the UC system. The newly rechristened UC YouTube will be hailed as an innovator in “extra-spatial” education, and Google will announce that it has bought the real estate of the UCSC campus, “just so Apple doesn’t get it.”
➤ Echoing a rebound in the population of monarch butterflies in wintering spots in Santa Cruz County in 2021, a similar rejuvenation will be noticed among a certain species of raccoon-eyed, mullet-headed punk rockers when “The Lost Boys” sequel returns to shoot in Santa Cruz.
➤ Amazon’s Jeff Bezos will announce that he has finally closed a deal to purchase the Pacific Ocean. Included in the deal is every seat on the California Coastal Commission, and by September all surfing, boating, and swimming will be open only to Amazon Prime members.
➤ After a years-long selection process, Santa Cruz will make history as the site of the nation’s first-ever Baby Boomer National Preserve, establishing government protection of the natural habitat and no-longer-breeding grounds of thousands of graying boomers.
By late summer, busloads of under-50 tourists will be cruising the Westside neighborhoods, to hear “All Along the Watchtower” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” playing out of open windows, crowd into farmers markets to catch live conversations about Henry Kissinger and humble-brags about working oneself through college, and shop at downtown boutiques named for 1960s song lyrics (including Love Me Two Times and Go Ask Alice, which actually already exist).
“It’s a win-win,” Gen-X congressman Jimmy Panetta will say at the preserve’s opening ceremony, a screening of “Easy Rider” at the Del Mar. “The government won’t have to do much protection for these boomer populations in Santa Cruz. The free market already does that quite well.”
➤ And, finally, March will follow February. And no spray-tanned ex-presidents will be sighted at Sir Froggy’s. No way, no how.