This being the last day of the century's ninth decade, I imagine the supermarket tabloids will be full of the usual psychics' predictions for the new year and the final decade.
I usually point out at this time of year that none of the psychics' predictions for the year just ending has come true; but that game tends to become monotonous.
No one else ever seems to remember the predictions. Why do the psychics go on making them? Because there is always the chance of an accidental hit, or a near miss, in which case the psychic will remind us of his or her prediction. That will not only bring him or her fame and glory, but convince the public once again that there must be something in it, thus perpetuating the fraud.
I have decided to make some predictions myself. What can I lose? If none of them comes true, nobody will remember that I made them. If one does, I'll remind you.
First, though, I'm going to make a prediction that you will remember, because it's New Year's Day. I predict that Washington will defeat Iowa in the Rose Bowl, 24-10.
If I'm wrong on that one, you may disregard my others.
I will also make another prediction that will be proved right or wrong in January. The Los Angeles Raiders will win the Super Bowl. (San Francisco shocks football fans by losing in the playoffs.)
While we're on sports, I predict that the Dodgers will win the pennant and the World Series in 1991. If I can't be right, at least I can root for the home team.
In tennis, I predict that Pete Sampras will become the world's No. 1 tennis player. Even if he doesn't make it he will be No. 1 in our hearts for his donation of $250,000 (from his winnings of $2 million in the Grand Slam Cup) to a cerebral palsy foundation.
Mike Tyson will not regain his world championship.
In the arts, I predict that a Van Gogh will sell for $50 million, only to be proved a fake. I predict that Zeffirelli's "Hamlet" will win an Oscar as best picture, which of course will bring on "Hamlet II." (I haven't seen the movie, but I've read the play. It's sort of a psychological thriller. Anyway, psychic predictions are not based on critical judgment, but on psychic vibrations.)
In local politics, I predict that Gloria Molina will be elected supervisor in the first district. Molina lives two doors from me, and that ought to count for something. (She hasn't borrowed any sugar yet, but she gave me some good advice. I told her that we were thinking of remodeling. She had been remodeling for a year. I drove by her house one day and saw her sitting disconsolately in the front yard on a stack of cement sacks. She shouted at me, "Don't do it!" So I know she has good judgment.)
I predict that California's new Gov. Pete Wilson will be so encumbered by leftover problems that he will wish Dianne Feinstein had won the election. (If Pete founders, don't blame me. I was so disenchanted by the gubernatorial television campaigns that I voted for Munoz, the Peace and Freedom candidate.) On the world scene, I don't like to throw my weight one way or the other in a predicament that seems so exquisitely balanced, but I predict that President Bush will find some way out of his awful dilemma, and that we will not go into a land war in the Middle East.
If we do go to war, I predict that we'll wish we hadn't.
In the affairs of celebrities, a field that offers easy pickings for the professional psychics, I predict that Prince Rainer will marry Madonna. That would put some pizazz in the old principality. I realize that this prediction is outrageous, but think of the prestige it will bring me if it comes true.
I predict that Elizabeth Taylor will have an affair with Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. It will turn out to be nothing but a promotional gimmick for her perfume, Passion. Queen Elizabeth's only public comment will be, "We are not amused."
I predict that Steve Martin, encouraged by Mel Gibson's success as Hamlet, will play Marc Antony in a comedy version of "Julius Caesar," and that Dolly Parton will play Desdemona (opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger) in "Othello." I predict further (this is for 1992) that Martin, Parton and Schwarzenegger will all win Oscars, which, of course, will bring on "Julius Caesar II" and "Othello II."
I predict that our house remodeling, which began in June, will be finished by the Fourth of July. My wife is more optimistic. She says it will be finished by Super Bowl Sunday, in which case I hope to have some friends over to watch the Raiders win.
Finally, one sure thing: I predict that Elvis will be seen no more.