Over Easy: Everything you need to know about 2022

  • Dan Mackie (Courtesy photograph)

For the Valley News
Published: 12/31/2021 7:45:49 PM
Modified: 12/31/2021 7:45:21 PM

Happy New Year! One of my traditions is to start the year by dusting off the old crystal ball and predicting — with uncanny accuracy — the news of the year ahead.

First, a disclaimer: These predictions are for entertainment purposes only. None should be used in connection with gambling, risky investments or armed insurrection.

With that out of the way, I present to readers of this column exclusively (insert drum roll here) the best of 2022:

■ An American tycoon establishes the Upper Valley Space Center at Lebanon Municipal Airport. Its competitive advantage: It will be the only provider of supersonic flights in the galaxy to offer free parking, short-term, long-term or in the Buzz Lightyear lot, “infinity and beyond.”

■ Clutter makes a comeback. After years of fascination with tidying up, Americans rediscover the fun and comfort of surrounding themselves with high school yearbooks, old road maps, orphaned buttons, taxidermied things, typewriters with a nonfunctional letter or two, Mitch Miller albums, 1973 L.L. Bean catalogs, 2008 People magazines and crumpled receipts from the old West Lebanon Videostop, just for starters. The slim volume The Crushing Joy of Clutter is added to the book pile in millions of homes.

■ Norwich gets its first drive-through Dunkin’, formerly Dunkin’ Donuts. To avoid opposition and extended advance griping on the listservs, the franchisee builds a cartoon-colored coffee shack offsite and drops it into place on Main Street in the dead of night. Outrage ensues.

■Continuing with gastronomic sensations, the new “Olive Garden restaurant at the Hanover Inn” is the talk of the town and beyond, even drawing a snippy notice in The New Yorker magazine. A private-equity billionaire backs the venture, which treats his old college town to “endless” salad and breadsticks. In a concession to local tastes, the restaurant offers Daniel Webster meatballs. They are small, but there are those who love the seasoning.

■ The Kardashian family shocks the fashion world when it endorses products from Johnson Woolen Mills in Vermont, marking a change in direction for the famed purveyor of plaid wool hunting jackets and green wool pants. Marketing gets off to a slow start when one of the scantily clad Kardashians declares the new lingerie line “scratchy,” though she finds the hunting plaids “not entirely a turn-off.”

■A New Hampshire town situated in the Upper Valley will break new legal ground when it takes action to become an over-55 community. One way or another, by law or demographics, it appears it may get there.

■ Local farmers markets switch to cryptocurrency, greatly confusing Upper Valley residents, but increasing the resale value of organic beets and broccoli, which become worth thousands of dollars per pound. Why? No one really knows.

■ Along those lines, I perhaps should have kept my 2001 Toyota Corolla that I sold for $300 a couple of years ago. It’s probably worth 10 grand now and might still play my Willie Nelson cassette tape. Why are used cars suddenly so expensive? Again, we have no idea.

■ In other incomprehensible news, the Upper Valley is declared “meta,” because it is so aware of itself as an iconic place, or something like that. Lebanon and Hartford leaders appoint special subcommittees to investigate what meta means — and if it is taxable. Meanwhile, the Meta Valley goes viral, and people want to come here, but virtually. What does it all amount to? Meta confusion.

■The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, which has gone against trends — and some would say all sense — by proposing to cut weatherization assistance to residents in older homes, instead launches a campaign urging homeowners to save by turning down thermostats. The “Set It at 55 and You Will Likely Survive’’ slogan is criticized as insensitive, especially to senior citizens.

■An Enfield man goes viral when he reveals he has changed his mind about masks after reading posters’ comments on Facebook. “There was something about the way they called me a sheep that really spoke to me,” he says, “and made me rethink everything. I’m not wearing a mask anymore.” Data scientists believe he is the first person to be influenced after some 25,000 local posts on the topic. Media, mainstream and otherwise, wonder if a trend could be starting.

■ A month later, an Enfield woman reveals she has changed her mind about masks after reading posters’ comments on Facebook. She has decided to start wearing masks because of “science” — and because the man who stopped wearing masks last month is her husband — “and he doesn’t get all that much right.”

And so the trend is broken, and we are back to where we began.

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at dan.mackie@yahoo.com.

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